But having the blessing of UDSA, CAFO’s continue to grow to the point that “About half of the organic milk sold in the U.S. is coming from very large factory farms that have no intention of living up to organic principles.” according to Mark Kastel, co-director of the nonprofit Cornucopia Institute.
Anyone who supports the continuation of NAFTA without questioning who actually benefits really has no concern for the best interests of farmers or workers in the US, Canada or Mexico.
No organic farmer will deny there are times when animals get sick, it is too wet to cultivate or it gets so dry you have to buy feed and you remember your past life as a conventional farmer, when there was a synthetic fix for the problem or feed that was an easy phone call away. But no one ever said farming would be easy; you just figure it out, learn from the problem and plan ahead.
For a farmer, getting the news that you no longer have a market for your product is devastating, I know, I got one of those letters a few months ago. It is especially problematic if you are a dairy farmer, since cows need to be milked every day.
In a society like ours, where there is no such thing as a living wage for a good share of the population, we depend on a cheap food supply. It is unconscionable that we have such income disparity, that we have allowed this cycle of poverty to exist.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) must be replaced with a transparent trade agreement that ensures farmers in all three nations—Canada, Mexico, and the United States—receive fair prices for their production, that consumers are guaranteed the right to know the content and origin of their food, and that strong environmental protections are put in place to protect the sustainability of rural communities.
TPP has very little to do with free trade, we already have trade agreements with 6 of the other 11 countries that are part of the TPP. Trade barriers are already very low, so if these countries wanted to import more US dairy products or anything else, there is little to stop them.
And don’t be surprised, as American consumers increasingly reject GE technology, corporate agribusiness and our government will force GE crops on the rest of the world. That, it seems, is one more aspect of American Exceptionalism.
The film got it, spot on. The big message, spelled out in interviews and footage of small farmers doing their thing contrasted with big farms and big feed lots doing their un-sustainable thing, –-we need to seriously reconsider what we eat, how it is grown, who grows it, if the food system should solely be an engine of profit for big agribusiness, if yield and profit should be the only measure of success, or if there are other things to consider.
Hal Borland summarized Christmas by saying “What we celebrate is the birth of a child into a time of dissension and oppression and a world of cruelty and suspicion, one who grew up to teach peace and justice and love of fellow man. It was as simple as that”.
If GMO’s are so good and so safe, why do we need laws to hide them from scrutiny? But as Bill Maher points out, “When consumers know things, they tend to make informed choices, and that could affect corporate profits. I’m sorry, but your right to know is always going to be outweighed by their right to hide it from you.”
While the phrase “let them eat cake” may never have been uttered in reference to the starving French peasants of the 18th century, the pressure to “let them to eat GM” in the 21st century is alive and well in the lobby shops, corporate suites, press offices and political power centers of the world.
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