‘Ag-Gag’ Bill Threatens To Squash Whistleblowers In Midwest

You may have heard bad things about big agriculture before. “Corporate domination”, “animal factory”, and “sewage city” are all buzz words thrown around about the industry. But now, there’s good news: soon, you may not have to hear about it anymore…because they won’t let you!

A new bill preventing people from documenting conditions in factory farms is threatening to silence whistleblowers who expose unsafe working environments and animal abuses in Indiana.

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Monsanto Update: Organic Farmers Are Not Giving Up

We’ve been covering a group of organic farmers’ battle against chemical and farming mega-corporation Monsanto for months now. After last month’s Brooklyn court decision ruling against the farmers’ coalition, it seems that the “Davids” of this story are down, but not out.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) filed a Notice of Appeal last week to reverse Judge Naomi Buchwald’s February 24th decision in favor of Monsanto, claiming their right to protect themselves against the agri-giant.  Read more…

GMO Goliath Monsanto Crushes Organic David In Brooklyn Court

It was a hard loss for the organic farming community last week. Monsanto, the agricultural giant being sued on behalf of 300,000 growers, came out victorious when Judge Naomi Buchwald dismissed a suit filed by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) that would have protected the rights of organic farmers against the mega-corporation.

“We were surely disappointed and let down by the ruling,” said Jim Gerritsen, organic farmer and president of OSGATA’s Board of Directors. “It’s a perversity of justice.”

Last month, we reported on this case, which involves OSGATA’s lawsuit against Monsanto’s right to enforce its seed patent laws. In her ruling, Judge Buchwald stated that the 144 patent-infringements brought against organic farmers by Monsanto since 1997 did not suggest “a reality of the threat of injury” to the organic industry.  Read more…

Superbugs And Seed Patents: A Primer In GMOs And What’s Up With Monsanto

After last week’s story about a group of organic farmers who are currently suing agricultural giant Monsanto in a Brooklyn court to protect themselves and their crops, we wanted to look a little deeper into the controversy surrounding genetically modified foods, or GMOs. According to the World Health Organization, GMOs can be defined as “organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.”

So they’re not natural. But does this necessarily mean they are bad?

Scientists can use genes from one plant species and insert it into another, making the plant resistant to insects and viruses and tolerant to herbicides. This can be used in many ways, not just for big cash crops like soy. Salmon have been made bigger (dubbed ‘frankenfish‘), corn now makes it own pesticides, and fish genes have been used to make strawberries bigger (dubbed–that’s right–’fishberries‘). The crops will grow with less hassle, and be bigger, so the food will be cheaper–a great thing for increasing food access, especially in poor countries.  Read more…

NYU Student Group Farm To Live Grows Organic Produce For Low Income Communities

Organic agriculture has recently become an immensely popular career choice for college graduates (even Brooklynites), and the NYU student initiative project “Farm to Live” is in the process of creating organic farms for the NYU community in the New York, New Jersey area.

On the Farm To Live tumblr page, the group describes it mission “to grow free organic produce for [itself] and the community and to teach community members and NYU students about agriculture and nutrition.” One of the group’s farm team leaders, Brianna Bohnett, gave us the low down on this entirely grassroots venture.

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