Global Perspectives on True Food

by thetanvi

At the local hot spot for social justice discussions, Busboys and Poets, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder and Director of India-based Navdanya and Andrew Kremwell, Director for the D.C.-based Center for Food Safety were the featured speakers at “Global Perspectives on Genetically Engineered Foods.” 


For the sake of profits, corporations are genetically engineering seeds, and seeking to replace self sustaining biodiverse small scale agriculture- which are growing the seeds of native landraces- with pesticide and herbicide ridden monoculture crops that deplete our limited soil and water resources. The solution? According to Dr. Shiva and Andrew Krimwell, envisioning ourselves as creators rather than consumers. 

By composting, gardening, and eating local foods we are preventing the extensive corporate control of our food supply and ensuring our food sovereignty. The current patents on seed and life and the lack of labeling on Genetically Engineered foods are infringing on our rights to know and to choose what we consume. 

Overall Message: With a growing consciousness lies the prospect for a paradigm shift away from exploitative systems currently dictating policies around the world.

Vandana Shiva and Andrew Kimbrell discuss “Global Perspectives on Genetically Engineered Foods”

 Andrew Kimbrell (left) and Vandana Shiva (right) discuss global perspectives on genetically engineered crops. Moderated by Debbie Barker (center). Photo courtesy of Jay Barker. All rights reserved, 2010.

On Saturday, April third, World-Renowned Environmentalists & Activists Andrew Kimbrell and Vandana Shiva Discussed Genetically Engineered Eggplant Moratorium in India and upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case on GE Alfalfa in Washington, DC at Busboys and Poets.Saturday’s conversation,“Global Perspectives on Genetically Engineered Foods,” was co-sponsored by the Center for Food Safety and Institute for Policy Studies. Shiva and Andrew Kimbrell, an American public-interest attorney and food activist, discussed genetically engineered foods and their status and proliferation throughout the world. 

 Kimbrell and Shiva spoke to a full house at Washington DC’s Busboys and Poets. Photo courtesy of Jay Barker. All rights reserved, 2010.  They discussed chemical and seed companies’ efforts to create climate resilient seeds that can thrive in droughts and salty soil through genetic engineering. However, Shiva said these seeds already exist and have been created by farmers through natural breeding techniques. These companies have used these seeds to screen for common traits and now have “530 patents on climate-resilient traits by stealing common resources from people,” according to Shiva.Kimbrell and Shiva spoke to a full house of about 100 people, comparing U.S. and Indian biotechnology policies. India takes a precautionary, regulated approach that is far ahead of the United States’ deregulated approach that does not even require labeling, Kimbrell said.  Andrew Kimbrell. Photo courtesy of Jay Barker. All rights reserved, 2010. 

“We don’t have labeling [in the United States] because no one wakes up in the morning wanting to buy GM [genetically modified] food,” Kimbrell said. Because there is no benefit to the consumer, only risk, when people have the information to make a conscious choice between non-GM foods and GM foods, people avoid the GM foods. In India, the environment minister recently listened to the overwhelming will of the Indian people by placing a moratorium on a form of GM eggplant. 

 “If democracy wins, GMOs are out,” Shiva said. “If GMOs are pushed on people, democracy is out.” 

 Kimbrell analyzed a somewhat similar debate going on in the United States over GM alfalfa. On April 27, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal of lower courts’ decisions to halt the sale and planting of GM alfalfa until the U.S. Department of Agriculture complied with environmental protection laws. The case will have wide-reaching implications for environmental protection. Seed company Monsanto is contending that the environmental harm must be certain or ongoing before a court grants an injunction against practices determined to be illegal. 

  Vandana Shiva. Photo courtesy of Jay Barker. All rights reserved, 2010. 

 Because of the overwhelming corporate influence on U.S. legislation and regulations, Kimbrell said he believes the United States is more of a corporate oligarchy than a democracy. 

 Visit our You Tube channel to see Andrew Kimbrell speaking about genetic engineering.  

Policy: Patents, Subsidies, Labeling, Trade, Industry sway

Seed Saving

Because the fish, flounder can survive in low temperatures, their genes have been injected into tomatoes in the hope they last longer and be shipped and sold father. Human genes have been injected into pigs in the hopes of breeding larger pigs. In order to genetically engineer, a cell is invaded. Into the eukaryote nucleus new DNA goes to the chromosomes. Its unclear during this process where the DNA will land up- there is no way on controlling or predicting what the results of the genetic engineering will be. Mosaic virus turns off response to injection; retrovirus. Afterwards, the cell is flooded with antibiotics. The virus is a vector. Out of several thousand attempts only one has a useful effect. Meanwhile the other experiments have countless unintended consequences. All genes are connected and one changes it will have unknown additional effects. Gene therapy is the term for when genetic engineering is done on humans- and it creates immunity problems.

Yield is output of food per acre. With the conversion from traditional farming to monocultures of communities the increase of input is the result of the diversion of crops. Rice and wheat commodity crops have replaced local native crops.

Main Points: 

  • Recognizing the coordination between military, economic governmental resource take over
  • Organize around life on earth- integrating concepts
  • Unless we change the system and the consciousness
  • Efficiency used public discourse and earth
  • Treat all with love and empathy
  • Replace competition with cooperation with nature