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Madge Digest #147 September 2017

Renaee's picture
Submitted by Renaee on Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:22
  1. Local food and community successes in Baw Baw
  2. Three podcasts: MADGE on Low Tox Life, how to afford organic and a scientist talks GM, glyphosate and genes.
  3. Have your say on GM: secrecy, lack of choice, risky etc by 15th Sept
  4. New way of growing mustard triples yield, without GM, pesticides or fertilizers!
  5. Bananas high in Vitamin A already exist so is the GM banana just spin?
  6. How to stop companies poisoning people, intimidating critics and destroying the environment: Monsanto Tribunal
  7. Have you got some time to spare?

1) Local food and community successes in Baw Baw

Congratulations to Baw Baw Shire in Gippsland for reducing food insecurity through collaboration. Nearly everyone in the Shire knows about the community gardens, farmers’ markets, food hub, Primary School Food Forest, mushroom growing and compost workshops, farm days, film nights and more that this created.

People who suffer from food insecurity are on low incomes, older people, young people and people living in isolated areas. Imagine how fantastic it would be if our food system was designed to feed people well, create community and healthy economies. Here is some research on how beneficial this would be.

All it takes is political will, ask your politicians, especially local ones for their plans on how to get there.

2) Three podcasts: MADGE on Low Tox Life, shopping organic on a budget and a scientist talks GM, genes and Roundup.

MADGE was interviewed by the wonderful Alexx Stuart from Low Tox Life. Listen to the Interview here. Her site has great information and short courses you can do. She has great tips for shopping organic on a budget. You can also listen to UK scientist Dr Michael Antoniou talk GMOs, genes and Roundup. So much great information!

3) Have your say on GM: secrecy, lack of choice, risky etc. by 15th Sept

You can put in a quick submission on what you think are the broader issues around genetic modification by 15th September. It makes a great deal of difference to the discussion when even a few people put in their views. Here is the MADGE submission. We have noted the lack of research and assessment on the existing GM to see if it is affecting us and Australia, that better alternatives exist and that we need accountability and transparency.

4) New way of growing mustard triples yield, without GM, pesticides or fertilizers!

Indian farmers are tripling mustard yields by planting crops farther apart, using less water and seed and ensuring the soil is healthy and aerated. The plant roots are stronger, the soil is healthier and the plant is more productive and resilient. This is called the System of Mustard Intensification (SMI). Similar success has been had in doubling rice yields.

Currently the GM industry want India to commercialise GM mustard. They claim it will increase yields, yet a mustard bred by a Rajasthan farmer and plant breeder out-yields the GM plant. The GM mustard will also need to be sprayed with the weedkiller, glufosinate. This will poison people and remove the weeding work done mainly by rural women.

Indian farmers produce more than enough mustard and they suffer from low prices and cheap imports of palm oil, which is destroying forests in Indonesia and Malaysia. India was almost entirely self-sufficient in edible oil until import duties were removed, starting in the 1990s.

We are encouraged to think that agriculture is all about production but it is about policy. An economic and political framework that prioritises trade, chemicals and technology rather than farmer livelihoods, soil fertility and human health harms us all. If you want to comment on the food and farming you would like to see in Australia, please put in a brief submission to item 3.

5) Bananas high in Vitamin A already exist so is the GM banana just spin?

Australian scientists, together with the Gates Foundation, are developing a GM banana claimed to be high in the pre-cursor for Vitamin A. Yet non-GM high Vitamin A bananas have been grown for centuries. Who really benefits from these projects: people in the majority world or first world scientists, companies and philanthro-capitalists like the Gates Foundation? Get the full story on the madge website here.

6 ) How to stop companies poisoning people, intimidating critics and destroying the environment: Monsanto Tribunal

The Monsanto Tribunal found that Monsanto (a chemical company that is the main producer of GM seeds and Roundup) has acted in ways that have harmed human rights including: the right to food, health, a safe environment, free expression and the right to freedom indispensable for scientific research. Yet because Monsanto is a corporation, not a state, it doesn’t have to abide by human rights.

The vast neo-liberal expansion of corporate rights over the past few decades means they have become unaccountable. We need to demand international law put human rights first. Only civil society, meaning us, can do this.

MADGE’s report from the Tribunal here.

7) Do you have some time to spare

We’d love to have your help with compiling the next True Food Guide and with some simple translation so non-English speakers know what is happening to food. If you’d like to get involved contact us via email info@madge.org.au or ring Jessica 0407 307 231 or Fran 0401 407 944.

"True navigation begins in the human heart. It's the most important map of all."
Elizabeth Kapu'uwailani Lindsey

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