Posts Tagged ‘BigAg’

News Alert ~ Polish Farmers Arrested Defending Farmland

I received this newsletter today from Sir Julian Rose and his partner Jadwiga Lopata. Things are really heating up in Poland! The first country to successfully ban GMO’s, Poland has been on corporate ag’s dirt list for many years now, with aggressively punitive regulation and betrayal of local, organic farmers. The newsletter below details the latest events, including the draconian arrest of peacefully protesting farmers blocking the sale of Polish farmland to foreign speculators and corporations instead of young Polish farmers.

If the Polish government is so concerned about foreign interests, then they shouldn’t mind a bunch of outraged emails from the international scene. Why does this matter to you, even if you don’t live in Poland? With the TPP “free” trade agreement looming for an intended fast track through Congress, the TTIP “free” trade treaty connecting Europe and North America — both giant gifts to Big Ag and Big Pharma — organic, local food has never been more threatened in more places. This bullying of Polish farmers no doubt means to send a message across the globe: “Resistance is futile. The corporations will swallow you whole and spit you out in pieces.”

Well, not on my watch, and hopefully not on yours either. If you value your right to eat real food, to support real farmers and a local economy, ironically, supporting the small, local, organic farmers in Poland might be one of the more important things you do for your own city and your own plate. Thanks and blessings to anyone who takes action on this.

News Alert – Polish Farmers Arrested Defending Farmland

URGENT! The Polish farmers are calling for other farming and consumer groups in Europe and beyond to show solidarity with their actions. As one farmer said “To day we are arrested – tomorrow you could be.”
Please do send letters of support!

On 6th October 2015 the police arrested 11 farmers from Pyrzyce (Western Pomerania Province) where 60% of farmland has already been sold off to foreign buyers. The arrested farmers are accused of participating in an organized group whose aim is to prevent the actioning of tenders for the sale of Polish farmland by WRSP (land owned by the state). The farmers were arrested on their own farms and handcuffed with their families watching.

The prosecutor stated that “they will all have to answer for impeding the tenders for the sale of land… The farmers are blocking a dozen tenders connected with the foreign sale of farming estates worth at least 6 million zloty.”

The arrested farmers had actively participated in protests in Szczecin and the surrounding region as well as Warsaw, their aim is to introduce changes into the law applicable to farmland management and to put a stop to Polish land sale transactions to speculative foreigners and corporations.

“These changes would stop the out-of-control and reckless sale of Polish farmland which is causing economic and social degradation of the countryside and the building of colonial relations in these territories…” – said Edward Kosmal – the leader of the KPRWZ (Western Pomerania Farmers Protesting Committee).

Two days after the farmers were arrested (8th October) five of them were sentenced to two months of provisional detention. Others were released on bail with the financial guarantees of 30 to 60 thousand zloty. The farmers could be sentenced to five years imprisonment.

“Is this an attempt to intimidate other farmers participating in protests? A revenge for fighting with companies with foreign capital that want to buy-up Polish farmland? – asked Sir Julian Rose, the President of ICPPC.

“The farmers blocked tenders connected with the sale of Polish farmland in which foreign companies participated (for example, Danish companies and their agents). They also sowed the land which was supposed to be grabbed by foreign capital with their own grains and kept watch on the area, thus blocking other entities from entering. Their protest is against the sale of Polish land into foreign hands instead of to aspiring young Polish farmers.” – commented Jadwiga Lopata, vice president of ICPPC.

The farmers from the Western Pomerania Province are outraged and are demanding that the arrested farmers should immediately be released from custody. They have announced a large scale protest in front of the Prosecutor’s Office in Szczecin on Monday (12th October). 100 tractors will participate in this action.
International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside-ICPPC is fully supporting the farmers’ actions!

URGENT! The Polish farmers are calling for other farming and consumer groups in Europe and beyond to show solidarity with their actions. As one farmer said “To day we are arrested – tomorrow you could be.”
This includes TTIP attempts to prevent the sovereign protection of internal food chains.

Please do send letters of support to the farmers – through us – and we will forward them to the Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopasz and other ministers as well as to the prosecutor. [Here is Jadwiga’s email: jadwiga @ icppc.pl Please remove the spaces before sending your letter. Thank you!]

You can donate to ICPPC’s activities here
http://icppc.pl/index.php/en/support-us.html
Many thanks!

Jadwiga Lopata and Julian Rose
==========================
ICPPC – International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
34-146 Stryszow 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114 biuro@icppc.pl
www.icppc.pl www.gmo.icppc.pl www.eko-cel.pl
Julian’s website ABOUT BOOK: www.julianrose.info
==========================
Sources:
http://protestrolnikow.pl/aktualnosci/
http://www.radiostargard.fm/news.php?readmore=33
http://www.rmf24.pl/fakty/polska/news-grupa-ustawiala-przetargi-na-sprzedaz-ziemi-zatrzymano-12-os,nId,1899633

Vandana Shiva ~ Decolonize the Mind

From the YouTube channel description:

Published on Feb 21, 2014

Most of our cultures across the world have believed in Mother Earth as a Mother and it’s only in this period of the rising of industrialism and capitalism and colonialism that the idea as the Earth as a Mother was destroyed in order to turn the Earth into a reservoir of resources to be exploited.

Right now we can see Mother Earth is rising and say you are an immature spoiled kid and you are going to far and every time a disaster in my view is Mother Earth shaking us up to say get your a[ct] together.

75 % of the food comes from small farms, those who use 25 % of the land and 25 % food comes from those who use 75 % of the land. If those who only providing 25 % food using 75 % of the land controll 100 % of the land, they will bring the foodsupply to 33 %, which means all of the planet is destroyed.

It is the monoculture of the mind which prevents to see the diversity. It is only organic, biodivers and small which will feed the world.

The new science of false objectivity, the new science of false rationality of a tree or nature defining as death, that science was a very patriarchal science and it required women to be killed as witches. The witchhunts, the colonization and the destruction of Nature are the three colonizations, it is a colonization of the mind.

During the ‘Voedsel Anders Conferentie’ in Wageningen in the Netherlands, after planting of a so-called food forest, Migarda Raphaëla, Robin Bukenya and Roland van Reenen had this intriguing conversation with the Indian scientist and activist Vandana Shiva. It was an honor to share the richness of diversity both natural as human. If only we could decolonize our minds, diversity will feeds us in so many ways!

Julian Rose ~ Save Polish Farmland from Corporate “Buy-Outs”

I received this in an email from Julian Rose, but I’m sharing it here for anyone who wants to add prayers, intentions, or direct action towards their cause. For those who don’t know, Zany Mystic describes some of Julian’s groundbreaking work in Poland:

“Julian is President of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, successfully banning GMOs in ‘GMO Free Zones.’

“In 2000 Julian was invited to become a co-director of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, co-launching a highly successful ‘Campaign for a GMO Free Poland’ as well as leading a high profile defense of peasant farmers whom he holds-up as the true guardians of biodiversity throughout the world. Regular listeners to BBC radio 4?s Framing To-Day will have heard Julian’s 2007 series of once monthly ‘Letters from Poland’ passionately highlighting the crisis provoked by forcing ‘corporate globalization’ onto traditional family farming communities.”

Keep in mind that GMO’s and BigAg corruption have become worldwide issues; even if you don’t live in Poland, what happens there can set precedents for elsewhere. Best to nip these poisonous blooms in the bud.

Here’s Julian Rose’s update and call for support:

Friends!

Here in Poland the battle to save Polish farmland from corporate buy-outs’ continues. But that’s not all the Polish farmers are up against…See link to film below. Tractors have been blockading government institutions from 14 January…

Regulations that the Warsaw government has imposed over the years have made it virtually impossible to sell farm processed foods to local shops, schools or private individuals. The only way farmers can conform with the hygiene and sanitary regulations imposed from above, is by carrying out their simple processing tasks in specially designed and equipped buildings that none can afford to build or to adapt.. except the very large producers supplying the food industry and supermarkets. Yes, that’s right – it’s all about destroying the competition – which in this case is the small and medium sized independent family farms that produce the best foods!

There are still one and a half million such farms in Poland!

ICPPC is supporting the protesting farmers to highlight this grossly unfair treatment of all who wish to provide fine quality, flavourful and ‘real’ farmhouse-foods in their own localities.

You too can be part of this vital protest…

Join in – by sending a brief letter in support of the farmers to Prime Minister Tusk urging him to change the regulations so that family farmers can sell their products locally! And send a copy of your letter to us here at ICPPC – biuro@icppc.pl . Thanks!

Contact to Prime Minister:
Premier Rządu RP Donald Tusk,
Secretariat of the Prime Minister
Aleje Ujazdowskie 1/3, 00-583 Warszawa, Poland
fax: +48 (22) 694 70 53
e-mail: sprm@kprm.gov.pl

FILM: http://youtu.be/UlOC__K2LT0
You can donate to our activities here
http://icppc.pl/index.php/en/support-us.html

With greetings,
Jadwiga and Julian

Beverly Bell: The True Cost of Industrialized Food

Beverly Bell: The True Cost of Industrialized Food

Co-authored by Tory Field

“We are the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe. And reclaiming the democratic control over our food and water and our ecological survival is the necessary project for our freedom.” — Vandana Shiva, physicist and activist

The objective of much of our industrial food system is to provide a profit to shareholders and CEOs. Coca-Cola’s advertising budget was more than $2.9 billion in 2010, money well spent from a stockholder’s point of view: profits that year were $11.8 billion.

The current system, however, was not built only to amass wealth. Many policymakers and supporters, historically as today, have been driven by the conviction that industrial agriculture is the best way to produce massive amounts of affordable food. And in some ways it has accomplished this. People in the U.S. spend relatively little on food — about 7 percent of their total spending, as compared to 13 percent in France, 23 percent in Mexico, and 38 percent in Vietnam. Most individuals in the U.S. devote less time, energy, and money to feeding ourselves than they ever have historically.

On the buying end, it seems an irresistibly good deal, our 99¢ soda or $1.50 loaf of bread. But these prices represent just a fraction of the true costs of getting that soda and bread into our shopping bags. We pay for the hidden costs of the corporate food supply chain in multiple ways, not all of them financially.

We subsidize food corporations through our taxes, which pay for public works like transportation infrastructure for long-distance shipping (highways, airports, and railroads), communication infrastructure (satellites, television, radio and Internet), energy infrastructure (coal plants and nuclear power stations), and research and development (like government-funded crop research). Tax dollars also fund the government subsidies that keep certain crop prices low, allowing corporations to create their processed foods so cheaply.

Small- and medium-sized farmers pay extremely high hidden costs. Their farms have been steadily disappearing as land is further consolidated into the hands of fewer people. The U.S. has lost 800,000 farmers and ranchers in the last 40 years. Between 1900 and 2002, the number of farms in the U.S. shrank by 63 percent, while the average farm size increased by 67 percent. The dairy industry has undergone an even starker decline: in just over 35 years, between 1970 and 2006, the country lost 88 percent of its dairy farms, while the average herd size per farm increased from 19 to 120 cows.

Some populations, depending on class, race, nationality, and livelihood, pay more dearly than others. As mentioned in our previous post, black farmers and land owners suffer. Farmworkers and other laborers all along the food supply chain also pay by receiving inadequate wages; they are twice as likely to live below the poverty line.

As consumers, we all pay with our health and well-being. Our country’s most popular cuisine is affectionately called “junk,” after all. Eating the highly processed food made readily available to us has led to epidemic levels of diabetes and heart disease. Individuals get chastised for their own diet-related problems while junk food is much easier and cheaper to access than healthy food.

Recent outbreaks of Listeria and stomach acid-resistant E. coli are other manifestations of the costs to our health. Food-safety experts blame the industrialized production of grain-fed cattle and poultry for the emergence of these dangerous bacteria strains.

Our planet pays profound hidden costs: polluted water, air, and soil; deforestation; acid rain; species extinction; and climate change. The corporate food system wreaks countless ecological harms.

Spraying toxic pesticides on our food has become the norm, so much so that we have come to view it as part of “conventional” agriculture, though there’s nothing conventional about it. Introduced in large scale only after World War II, using surplus warfare chemicals, pesticides are now applied at a rate of 1.1 billion pounds per year in the U.S. That’s 22 percent of the world’s total use. These chemicals move throughout our ecosystem, making their way into groundwater and our drinking supply, traveling down streams and rivers, and eventually reaching the ocean. In just one example, fertilizer running off fields and down the Mississippi River has created such an imbalance that there is a “dead zone,” where nothing can survive, in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey. Pesticides also wind up on our plates and in our bloodstreams. In 2005, the Environmental Working Group tested the umbilical cords of 10 babies from different U.S. hospitals and found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in their blood, including a number of pesticides.

Monocropping, a farming system where the same crop is grown on a piece of land year after year, is foundational to industrial-scale agriculture. Yet it depletes the soil, upends the ecological balance, and creates conditions highly susceptible to pests and disease, requiring more pesticides and fertilizers.

If all of these costs showed up in the prices we pay at the store, things would be very different. If prices reflected the oil that powers the jet to bring a banana thousands of miles, together with the air pollution that results, the workers’ health care costs after handling pesticides, and the future loss of soil health due to monocropping, this fruit would certainly be a luxury item in the North rather than part of an average American breakfast.

Has agribusiness won such control that a turnaround is impossible? No. Small farmers, grassroots groups, and advocacy organizations are demanding food sovereignty, meaning the right of every people to produce adequate, healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food for all. They are everywhere creating and supporting community-controlled, scaled-down, local food networks. Dismantling the governmental policies and global trade rules that have taken agriculture out of the hands of small farmers the world over is the prerequisite for claiming a just and healthy food system.

Download the Harvesting Justice pdf here, and find action items, resources, and a popular education curriculum on the Harvesting Justice website.

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