Saturday, June 23, 2007

Future of Food DVD

Last week our family was able to view the DVD, "Future of Food," which we borrowed from Herrick Kimball (The Deliberate Agrarian). Some of our family had already seen part of this movie, but it was a first time for me.

What an eye opener. I had heard bits and pieces of the information that was presented before, but seeing it all for myself was important. This movie reveals how big agricultural corporations such as Monsanto have corrupted our food, through developing genetically modified corn, soybeans, etc., and then patenting the seed. I get angry all over again as I remember what I saw on the movie.

What brought it even closer to home for us was that a man named Rodney Nelson from Amenia, ND was featured on the film. His family was prosecuted by Monsanto. The Nelsons chose not to use genetically modified seed from Monsanto, but somehow some of that seed found its way into at least one of his fields. The seed was found growing in an area close to a roadway, and a neighbor told Nelsons some of his seed may have spilled from his truck as it was going by and could have contaminated the field. Apparently people from Monsanto went into the Nelson's field without their permission or knowledge and tested his crops. Unfortunately there is not "and they lived happily ever after" ending to that story. Please get a copy of the DVD and watch it for yourself.

The evening after we watched "The Future of Food" we heard an airplane overhead. Of course the boys had to run out and see what it was doing. Well, it was an aerial spray plane, and spraying the fields across the lake from us, to the southwest. Makes me wonder how much of that spray ended up in the lake, and how much drifted over to our fields. Today I again heard the plane, and watched it spraying a field to the northeast of our property.

We have seen billboards within the state sponsored by some aerial spray association, with the slogan, "AERIAL APPLICATORS: HELPING PROVIDE SAFE FOOD FOR AMERICA'S TABLES." To that I say: HOGWASH!!


Marci said...

I am with you sister... HOGWASH!!! I was so mad when I saw that movie. We need to stand up and say enough, but it is hard to get anyone around here to even change their own diet.

Dr Bartlett said...

Dear Lynn,

After some study, I think I understand why this sign says “helping to provide ‘safe’ food.” First, everyone knows that dangerous side effects accompany the chemicals being sprayed. The effects are worse on people near the spraying activity. Therefore, some calming of the public concern in the spraying areas is needed to make us think we are safe when we inhale the overspray and eat the food.

The profit focus of industrial agriculture may limit its view to statistical safety, where the chemicals are compared with each other to determine and promote the “safest.” Of course, natural methods would be safest, but those are not in the statistical safety comparison. So we are getting safe food because the chemicals chosen are the safest, among the dangerous chemicals, as determined by their obtaining EPA and FDA approval. The aerial sprayers are helping us get this safer chemical onto the food.

The stretch goes further. Aerial applicators are helping to provide us with “safe food,” because it is helping farmers produce “more food.” More food equals safe food, the anti-logic goes. It isn’t logical but perhaps it’s statistical. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are less likely to get cancer than people who don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables. So the aerial applicators spraying fruits and vegetables are helping supply more of the fruits and vegetables, presumably at a lower price, so that we can eat more of them and not get cancer as often. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that this also applies to the grain farming and won’t ask about the other health problems just now.

So, they want us to believe that having more food containing a small amount of chemical residue is safer than having less food containing no hazardous chemicals? I’ll also ignore the impact of the loss of genetic variety due to the chemical farming methods for the moment.

Read the comments below on these points from the National Agricultural Aviation Association ( and you will likely still wonder how they are “Providing Safe Food for America’s Tables!”


Is it safe to use crop protection products?

All crop protection products must meet tough safety standards. Only one in 20,000 chemicals actually survives the 8-10 year process of development, testing, and registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Once on the market, they are monitored by the EPA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This stringent regulatory system ensures the safety of our food.

The American Cancer Society states:

"Many kinds of pesticides are widely used in agriculture in the production of our food supply. People who eat more fruits and vegetables, which may contain trace amounts of pesticides, generally have lower cancer risks than people who eat fewer fruits and vegetables. Pesticides play a valuable role in sustaining our food supply. When properly controlled, the minimal risks pesticides pose are greatly overshadowed by the health benefits of a diverse diet rich in foods from plant sources."

Aerial application helps make it possible for us to have these fresh fruits and vegetables year round.

Today's industrial manufacturers use the latest technology, from websites and computers to robotic equipment to remain competitive and productive. Technology has also transformed American agriculture, increasing the grower's ability to produce abundant, safe, and affordable food and fiber for the world. The aerial application industry is among the leaders in this technology — providing an essential service to help preserve our natural resources and protect public health. Aerial application of crop protection products is an essential tool in the American farmer's ability to produce the safest, highest quality, most abundant and lowest cost food supply in the world.