GEO Watch: Effort Underway for Labeling Law in Washington State

A grassroots campaign has been launched in Washington State for the adoption of a labeling law for genetically engineered foods (a.k.a. GMO or transgenic foods). The grassroots initiative seeks support for I-522, which would mandate labeling of transgenic crops or foods containing GMOs. You can read the full text of the proposed initiative below this commentary. The I-522 movement is led by a diverse group of consumer advocates, organic farmers, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and has recruited a wide variety of endorsements from NGOs, municipalities, faith-based groups, farmers and farmer associations, seed savers and exchange groups, plant breeders, and well-known and respected elected officials.
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From Garbage to Garden

Sometimes when Samson Aberra is working in the garden, planting seedlings or replenishing his nursery, onlookers gather to watch him toil. What they don’t know is that Samson Aberra is not “toiling” — he’s barely working. In fact, he is doing what he loves: gardening. Samson’s garden lies next to the main highway running through the Ethiopian highland town of Dessie, located in the northeast of the country. The garden forms a triangle between the main road and a contaminated stream that meanders through the city in its journey to the low lying plains below.
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True Example of the End of Crop Diversity: The Great Irish Potato Famine

The Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s is a perfect example of how monocropping can lead to disaster. Lack of genetic variation in Irish potatoes was a major contributor to the severity of the famine, allowing potato blight to decimate Irish potato crops. The blight resulted in the starvation of almost one of every eight people in Ireland during a three-year period. But the greatest shortcoming of monocrops may lie in the compromised quality of those foods, and the long-term effect that has on your health.
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Plumbing the Agroecology Zeitgeist

The highlight of the Tilth Producers of Washington Conference was the keynote delivered by professor Miguel Altieri of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, at the University of California. His specialty – agroecology — combines agriculture, the science of cultivating the land and raising livestock; with the principles of ecology, the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environments. Altieri began with a series of startling statistics proving that when measured in total output small scale indigenous agriculture is actually more productive than industrialized agribusiness.
Read more: Plumbing the Agroecology Zeitgeist