15 December 2009

Whose food? Not Monsanto's

Lots of people believe genetically modified food is a necessary technological development if everyone is to be fed now and into the future. But even such believers should be wary of how Monsanto is sabotaging the business of seed development and production. Competition, economists tell us, is good in itself and spurs innovation. Monsanto believes competition is bad, all seed production profits are theirs by bully boy right.

Some might argue that Monsanto is only doing right by its major stakeholders-shareholders and employees. Huh. Of course, I am biased. Monsanto is the company that made Agent Orange, which then devastated Vietnam. My dad's a Vietnam Vet. He has the Agent Orange scars to prove it.

And I also prefer my food unmodified, particularly when the modification is to enable the farmer to drench the field in pesticide without killing the crop. The pesticide in question, Round-up, is a major earner for Monsanto.

What can we do about it? At a minimum, if you grow your own vegetables, consider joining a group like Seed Savers Exchange. Purchase seeds that when you grow them will in turn produce their own seeds, not sterile hybrids.

Maybe the most important thing is to stop and think what's important to you. Me, I don't think food should be copyright.

Edit. I forgot to say what prompted this rant. Boing Boing mentioned Monsanto and provided the link to the original AP story published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which is what I've linked Monsanto to in this post. A couple of weeks ago, The Economist also wrote up Monsanto (I'd link, but it's a subscriber only story).

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