“We will depend on them for every seed we grow, every crop we grow, and if they control seed they control food, they know it. It’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs, it’s more powerful than guns.” Vandana Shiva in India

By Helen Kilbey

A quiet revolution is pulsing through the huge residential areas spread out on the edges of Cape Town.

Home to nearly a million people, these areas – known to South Africans as townships — are no strangers to revolution. Hotbeds of anti-government activity in final years of apartheid, their potholed streets have been pounded by countless angry protestors, the walls of their homes privy to many a mutinous conversation.

But 13 years after liberation , the battleground looks somewhat different. The enemy, once clear, has become vague and ill-defined. Those who once lived in fear of government bullets are now far more likely to be killed by Aids; those who hoped for “a better life for all” (the slogan that swept the African National Congress into power in 1994) are still faced with joblessness, poverty and crime.

Against this altered landscape, it makes sense that if the seeds of revolution are being sown, they are being sown a little differently.

Quite literally, in fact.

For today’s weapon-chest is becoming increasingly filled with vegetables: cabbages, carrots, beetroot, spinach leaves and heads of broccoli. One hundred percent organically grown.

It is a revolution fuelled by vegetables. Read the rest of this entry »

A thought provoking vew from outside the U.S.:

by Iman Kurdi/Arab News

As we prepare for our holiday festivities, spare a thought for the world’s hungry. The good news is that more people today can afford to eat meat. Economic growth in countries like India and China has meant that millions of people whose diet was once low on meat and high on grain are now able to eat a richer and more varied diet.

The bad news is that those who are very poor are having to pay substantially more for their food. Prices of main staples — corn, rice, and wheat — have risen by as much as 50 percent over the last year. Read the rest of this entry »

The world’s seed oligopoly

December 11, 2007

Today, the top 10 companies control half of the world’s commercial seed sales. With a total worldwide market of approximately US$21,000 million [$21 billion] per annum, the commercial seed industry is relatively small compared to the global pesticide market ($35,400 million), and it’s positively puny compared to pharmaceutical sales ($466,000 million). But corporate control and ownership of seeds – the first link in the food chain – has far-reaching implications for global food security. Read the rest of this entry »

True Food Democracy in action! More and more countries in Europe are adopting legislation on the availability or advertising of unhealthy food. Following is the progress European countries have made on the matter. Compared to the US, they are way ahead.

In 2005, vending maching selling soft drinks and chocolate bars were banned from schools in France.

Since the beginning of March 2007, advertisements for unhealthy food and beverages in France must carry health messages. Advertisers who ignore the new legislation and do not run the message, will have to pay a fine of 1.5 percent of the cost of the advertisement. Read the rest of this entry »

Quang Duan/ThanhnienNews/October 26, 2007

Human-transmissible bird flu found
A Fujian-like bird flu virus was found in poultry in Vinh Long Province and northern Vietnam, heard a meeting Tuesday.
Tests done in two national and international laboratories, the Veterinary Institute and the National Center for Veterinary Diagnosis, confirmed the findings. The name of the mutated virus, Fujian bird flu, is taken from the Chinese province where the new strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus was found in March 2005. The virus is transmissible from birds to humans.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat asked relevant agencies to strictly control the trading and transportation of poultry and poultry products across borders and in local markets to prevent the spread of this dangerous strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus. Read the rest of this entry »