The backlash against GMO crops in America

Like so many David and Goliath fights, the battle over the safety of our staple crops was initially defined by the big chemical companies that began producing seeds. These Biotech/Chemical/Seed companies claimed that their new genetically engineered or modified (GM or GE) crops would be more productive, have higher yields, require less pesticide and enable farmers to “feed the world”…

The secret life of GM sweet corn

Monsanto’s new GM sweet corn is either a boon to farmers that will help them feed the planet or an ominous new edible in a line up of genetically modified foods that consumers are being force fed. Actually, it could be both, or parts of each. We don’t really know, because there’s not a lot of information on GM sweet corn, or maybe there’s enough information. Take a ride with us through the corn maze to try to find out.

How to Avoid GMO Foods

Genetically modified foods are everywhere, having crept into processed foods as key components, such as corn oil, corn flour, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, soy isolate, invert sugar and on down the food label. How can a consumer cope? Until GE foods are labeled, shoppers have to ferret out the non-GMO foods and ingredients.

Garbage to gasoline, Texas plant gears up to make fuel from waste

By Barbara Kessler

Biomass technology promises what few other alternative fuel schemes can: energy from waste. Given the controversial use of corn (and other food crops) for biofuel, which is turning out to be less of a greenhouse gas saver than once thought, waste is looking pretty attractive.

A new plant in Central Texas, dedicated last week, promises to take sewage waste, organic garbage, grass clippings and manure, and convert them into gasoline.

Initially the plant, designed as a large-scale demonstration project, will use forage sorghum as its base material. Forage sorghum, unlike other varieties grown to produce sorghum seed for food products, does not steal directly from the human food chain. It is used as feed for cattle, but even so, it’s more renewable than corn because about twice as much (5-7 tons) can be grown per acre.

Grape news: researchers develop another pesticide-resistant food

By Barbara Kessler

Apparently conventional farming techniques aren’t too grape for vineyard keepers in the Midwest. Their tender fruit withers when it comes into contact with a commonly used herbicide, called 2, 4-D that is spread on corn and other field crops to control broadleaf weeds.

So researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new grape that can stand up to 2, 4-D (or R2D2 if you’re playing Star Wars).

This new improved grape – imperially named “Improved Chancellor” — does not die when confronted with 2, 4-D (the D stands for Dicholorophenoxyacetic) because it has been genetically altered with an added bacterium that breaks down the herbicide, according to an Environmental News Service release.

Germany and France ban pesticides linked to bee deaths; Geneticist urges U.S. ban

By Shermakaye Bass

In light of recent European bans of a pesticide linked to Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), at least one key beCredit: Texas A&M Universitye expert is calling for a ban of the same pesticide in the United States.

“In the United States, drastic action is needed,” says Canadian geneticist Joe Cummins, explaining that U.S. farmers and beekeepers shouldn’t have to wait for more evidence or for an air-tight explanation for the complex syndrome, which threatens one in every third bite of food in the United States. Now most apiarists and scientists realize that pesticides are a factor in CCD, he says.

Cummins’ remarks, in an interview with GreenRightNow, come less than a month after Germany’s ban of clothianidin, a pesticide commonly used to keep insects off of corn crops. Germany banned the pesticide after heaps of dead bees were found near fields of corn coated in the pesticide, and in response to scientists who report that the insecticide severely impairs, and often kills, the honeybees that corn and other crops depend on for pollination.