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Protect Your Food Supply

June 19th, 2012

Increasing seed prices and fuel costs means many Americans are digging a little deeper into their wallets just to put food on the table.  In 2010, the New York Times reported a sharp 32% increase for the price of corn seeds, and a 24% increase for soybeans. Even more shocking, it’s estimated that seed costs have increased roughly 135% since 2001!

What’s the deal?

Competition And Genetically Modified Seeds

More than ten years ago, sales people from dozens of seed companies were able to compete for business, promising healthier crops and larger yields than their competitors. But all of that has changed as large seed companies are now using license agreements that block less expensive generic versions of seeds from entering the market.  This ultimately creates an unfair advantage over the competitors. Consequently, farmers have limited options, which in most cases result in choosing those larger company’s seeds that have been genetically modified.

Unfortunately for farmers and the consumer, it turns out that genetically modified food is not just bad for your health, they are also to blame for rising seed costs. Seed companies understand that weeds, insects and plant diseases have long been a challenge for even the most skilled farmers. To combat this issue, certain biotech qualities have been added to seeds, which result in better weed control and crop resistance to herbicides and pests. While reluctant at first, farmers are now more inclined to spend more money on these engineered seeds, as labor, pesticide and machine costs will ultimately go down.

Yet, even as the market forges ahead and heavily uses genetically modified foods as the new norm, the Organic Center reports that, “The GE corn, soybean and cotton seeds planted over the next five to 10 years will, if current trends hold, contain increasing numbers of stacked traits (usually 3 or more) cost considerably more per acre, and pose unique resistance management, crop health, food safety and environmental risks.”

How Fuel Prices Factor In

Economists are now saying that rising fuel prices are a leading cause behind sky rocketing food costs, specifically for produce and meat. When diesel fuel is needed to power not only tractors by also semis and other forms of transportation – grocery stores are forced to make adjustments to stay in business.  Mike Servert, owner of Servert And Sons Produce was interviewed at the Carolina Reporter And News, and was asked about the rising price of fuel. His response was simply, “the more the cost of transportation, the more it’s going to cost at the table.” Servert also estimated that the cost of a $4 crate of oranges could jump to $10 if fuel costs continue to increase.

What’s the next step?

Investing In Quality Seeds You Can Trust

Unfortunately, it seems we no longer have control over the quality of food currently stocked in our grocery stores. Consumers are ultimately left in the dark to whether their unlabeled produce was the product of genetically altered seeds, or bioengineered to resist harm from extensive sprayed herbicides and pests.  With a population already wary of their food supply – considering the frequency of E.coli and salmonella threats, many are turning towards investing in seeds they can trust and growing them for large organizations, community gardens, and in their backyards.

The Producer’s seed packs not only guarantees 26 varieties of non-GMO, non-hybrid, certified organic and heirloom seeds, it’s also an investment. The Producer will continue to save you money and will provide assurance that your fruits and vegetables are the healthiest food around. At $4-5 a pack, you’re guaranteed quality seeds that have the highest rates of germination when compared with traditional seeds. In these ever-changing times, it’s a relief to know that Humble Seed guarantees seeds that are consistently nutritious and unadulterated.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/business/12seed.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.organicagcentre.ca/DOCs/OrganicCenterUSA/13Years20091116.pdf

http://www.datelinecarolina.org/story/16982848/rising-gas-prices-mean-higher-food-prices

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Garbage in, Garbage out!

June 14th, 2011

 

You are what you eat, and in American, we are petroleum.  Some of you might be agreeing with me while others are scratching their heads. So I will elaborate for you. The following exert is taken from a 2004 article called, Eating Fossil Fuels by Dale Allen Pfeiffer. I provided the link below and recommend you read it in its entirety.

In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American (as of data provided in 1994). Agricultural energy consumption is broken down as follows:

  • 31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer
  • 19% for the operation of field machinery
  • 16% for transportation
  • 13% for irrigation
  • 08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)
  • 05% for crop drying
  • 05% for pesticide production
  • 08% miscellaneous

Energy costs for packaging, refrigeration, transportation to retail outlets, and household cooking are not considered in these figures.

Our food now travels from between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to table. With a highly efficient semi-truck getting 6 to 8 mpg your looking at an average of 286 gallons of gas to get that food to your table. The sad thing, is that it isn’t even good food. Modified, picked green, force ripened, altered, these are all common terms and practices. I challenge each of you to take a trip to your local grocery store with one goal, to leave with only REAL food. By that I mean no altered ingredients, no pesticides or hormones, no unnatural colorants or preservatives, just food grown from start to finish the way it did 100 years ago.  I am in no way a purest, but I did this on a recent trip as I strolled through, some isles were completely passed without even stepping down, and when I hit that final one with a meager amount of organic produce that I could only assume fit the criteria I came to the realization, there is NO FOOD HERE!!! Wow, Mother Nature gave us this beautiful planet, had everything figured out, and we didn’t think that was good enough. I am not a fan of scare tactics, my intent is to make everyone a little more aware; I am only briefly touching on this subject here and will elaborate more on different areas in future blogs. For now try to educate yourself a little more on the food you eat. My recommended reading this time is Tomatoland: how modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed our Most Alluring Fruit, by Barry Estabrook.

Just remember folks Garbage in, is Garbage out…  Thanks for your time, John Cavanagh

About John:

John Cavanagh has spent 20 years in the food service industry and is currently the general manager of Tuck Shop in the Coronado Historic District in Phoenix and Owner/ Operator of John’s Premium® Tonic Syrup. With his uncle being a third generation farmer in Montana, his passion and experience with food gives him a unique perspective on where agriculture is and should be going here in America.
www.tuckinphx.com
www.johnstonic.com


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Guest Blog: Jerry’s Garden- GM(n)O

March 17th, 2011
 

 

Hi Everybody!  Hope you’ve all been well since my last article!  In this article, I’ll be talking about GMO foods—especially fruits and vegetables.  There are many reasons why genetically modified foods are not good for you.  But before we even delve into all that, it’s important for all of us to understand what GMO food really is.

Genetically modified foods, or GMO foods, are any kind of food that has purposely had specific changes made to its DNA. These changes have been made by humans and are not brought about by natural means over time. It’s natural for all organisms to change over time, whether it’s an extremely gradual change, or a relatively quick change caused by mutations, radiation, and other environmental factors.  These changes help the organism adapt to its environment and typically make it stronger.

With genetically modified foods, human interaction forces the organisms to change–unnaturally.  Certain genes in the organism’s make-up are purposely removed or introduced to the organism’s DNA. Whether it be a gene to help the organism grow faster, brighter, juicer, etc., the bottom line is, it is certainly not natural.

The theory and reasoning behind GMO foods is such: If humans can manipulate nature, and produce foods that are “better” for us, then the end result will surpass the questionable means and we (humans) can benefit from these “better” foods.

However, many studies have shown that GMO foods are less nutritious and can actually be harmful to humans and other animals. Lab rats fed GM foods were shown to develop lesions in their stomachs and other intestinal problems. GMO foods have also been shown to cause liver, kidney, and heart damage in mammals.

In addition, many GMO fruits and vegetables are much lower in the nutrients found in non-GMO foods.  Some of these include calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamin C.  Studies have shown that over the last two decades, these nutrients have been on a steady decline in our fruits and vegetables! What is the point of eating fruits and vegetables if you’re not getting any of the nutrients normally derived from these plants?!

The draw to GMO foods is, of course, that they grow faster and produce more.  But we can’t just look at the short-term benefits of these foods; we need to consider the long-term effects as well.  And I truly think that anyone who does their research and discovers the long-term effects of these foods will be willing to wait a bit longer and eat a bit less!

About Jerry Greenfield:

Jerry Greenfield

 

My number one focus is growing my own food. I don’t think that really counts as a hobby.  For some people it is, but for me, growing my own fruits and vegetables and saving my own seed is the key to survival. The only person you can count on is yourself, if you ask me. The government is trying to help us all with GMOs and welfare, but it’s all a crock. I also like to build things and read Transcendentalist authors from the 1860s.

Connect with Jerry via his blog and Facebook page: Grow Like Crazy

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