Did you ever wonder how food goes from seed to your table? Maybe not, because we are so conditioned to walking into the grocery store and buying any fruits and vegetables we want. We know we can go to a certain aisle in the store and get rice, oatmeal, potato chips, bread, and thousands of other products. But how did the farmer get the seed that grew into a plant? How was the plant cared for before its bounty was harvested? Once harvested how was it processed before it got to you?
Most of us take this for granted. Going to the grocery store and coming home with a bag of food is routine. It's how most of us get food to our tables. Protecting the world's seed supply is vital to our survival on Earth.
Rebecca Specter, West Coast Director and Co-founder of the Global Seed Network, part of the Center for Food Safety writes: By now you’ve seen the ominous headlines: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) just approved the merger of two chemical corporate giants, Monsanto and Bayer. With Bayer buying out Monsanto for $62.5 billion, this is the largest all-cash buy-out in history.
This megamerger and others by transnational chemical companies signify an even greater effort to promote and push pesticide-dependent GMO crops around the world, and ever greater amounts of toxic pesticides on the market and in our food.
Why is this deal so dangerous?
But the problems don’t stop there.The new chemical giant, Monsanto/Bayer, will own about 1/3 of all the world’s commercial seeds. They will have a virtual lock on vegetable seeds, own 3/4 of corn seeds and almost the same percentage of cotton seeds. Now only 10 companies own 73% of the entire world’s commercial seed supply.
This monopoly on seeds means that Monsanto/Bayer and these other mega-corporations can raise the prices of seeds at will, wreaking havoc on farm communities in the US and internationally. Moreover, Monsanto/Bayer gets to decide which seeds to make available to farmers, gardeners and the public. And since these corporations sell pesticides in addition to seeds, they will try to provide and promote only genetically engineered (GE) seeds to farmers, seeds designed to use Monsanto/Bayer brand pesticides, and make it difficult to find and purchase non-GE and organic seeds.
The result? Monsanto/Bayer controls our food supply! And because it’s pushing GE crops, this monopoly creates a massive reduction in seed diversity and availability of seeds around the world. This is especially tragic because we desperately need that seed diversity to have food security, decrease hunger, and deal with the changing agricultural conditions created by climate change.
In an effort to take back seed diversity and cultivate non-GMO seeds, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) has started the Global Seed Network (GSN) where seed collectors, farmers, and gardeners can share their seeds globally. This is the first, free, person to person seed exchange that unites people globally to protect our seed diversity.
CFS’ Global Seed Network allows users to create a profile and share seeds with other independent farmers and gardeners around the world. It also includes resources like a school curriculum, listings of local seed swaps, seed saving tips, and an online discussion forum for people to share questions and information about seeds. Registration is free! Go to the Global Food Network's website to register and become part of the solution!
A monoculture of seed suppliers threatens our food security. Forbes reports: If farmers’ fears come to fruition, consumers could see prices go up not only on agricultural products, but also on the umpteen products that hide corn and soybean inputs such as gas. The Bayer-Monsanto deal is big enough on its own to create cause for concern. It’s even more worrying in the wake of the ChemChina-Syngenta takeover and Dow Chemical’s merger with DuPont.
Monsanto and Bayer boast about their goal of supplying the world's food, but most farmers believe this merger is about boosting profits, not saving the world from hunger. I find it distressing that nearly one-third of the world's seed supply and toxic chemicals like Roundup will be controlled by one very large company. It certainly doesn't make me feel safe about the direction of agribusiness in the future.
The Center for Food Safety is a nonprofit organization and donations are always needed.