Last week, the heir to the British throne, HRH Prince Charles, spoke out about Genetically Manipulated crops and their many and varied impacts on food production.

Recognised as an opponent of industrialised agriculture, the Prince’s comments come at an opportune time, and will surely re-ignite debate in the GM arena as scientists plead for more sites to run tests on, while opponents continue the fight, even taking to destroying crops at one test site earlier this year in the UK.

The article appeared in London’s Daily Telegraph, after an exclusive interview with journalist Jeff Randall.

 

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster

Listen: The Prince of Wales speaks out

In the interview Prince Charles accused firms of
conducting a "gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of
humanity which has gone seriously wrong", and he goes on to say "What
we should be talking about is food security not food production – that
is what matters and that is what people will not understand.

"And
if they think its somehow going to work because they are going to have
one form of clever genetic engineering after another then again count
me out, because that will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster
environmentally of all time."

Small farmers, in particular, would be the victims of "gigantic corporations" taking over the mass production of food.

"I think it’s heading for real disaster," the Prince said.

As you can imagine, the story has bought a raft of comments – two of which appear below, and yes they support my biased view.

I
studied plant genetics at the University of California at Berkeley with
many professors who also had their own biotech companies. Later I got a
masters in public health studying environmental health at Tulane
University. The science behind the GM scenes is fascinating and may I
say that plants are far more interesting than animals when studying
genetics. In the end though, I decided that nature is more efficient,
more diverse and knows what she’s doing 100 times better than we do. GM
not only jeopardizes the lives of farmers and the environment (which of
course will eventually affect all of us), but there is some evidence
that GM foods may be immediately harmful for human and animal health.
Check out this website, link.
I haven’t reviewed the literature myself, but my family who are
livestock breeders have heard anecdotal evidence of the damage GM may
do to animal reproductive health. The bottom line is, don’t mess with
mother nature.
Anna Spector

We’ve
been in the cattle business for nearly 100 years, here in west Texas.
We have had mixed results with GM corn feed and it’s dropped our birth
rate by double digits in some years. We’ve gone back to grass feeding
because the beef tastes better, sells easier, and we’re not always
fretting about the result of passing down GM to our customers, usually
without their knowledge. Most people here in the USA don’t even realize
that most of what we eat here comes from GM corn…either in feed or
food.
Biddy

Here in Australia, the debate
also still has a way to go, despite two State Governments lifting bans
to grow GM crops earlier this year. Consumer negativity is the largest
hurdle that GM proponents need to jump, and with labelling laws in this
country about to legislate for GM content to be included on food label
products, the debates could be raging for sometime yet.

5
Comments
  1. Mark, I feel as you do about people hnavig choices when it comes to their food. The problem is that they usually don’t have the correct information (referring to conventional versus organic). I suppose getting a conversation started is a good first step.

  2. Glad you found the list useful. The resources page here on the site has other sites and listings as well.
    The web has been and will continue to be an amazing resource – the ability for the transfer of knowledge and the speed with which it can occur is great.
    Look forward to seeing you here again.

  3. WOW thanks for this list of great newsletters and websites. It looks like I’ll have a few more blogs to subscribe too! My own blog is listed there in the URL under my name if you want to check it out or add it to the list. I’m just getting started, but I’m excited at the prospect the Internet offers to modern-day homesteaders.

  4. Surya,
    Thanks for your inspiring comment.
    Seems you’ve jumped headlong into immersing yourself in organic and biodynamic agriculture. I’ll contact you by email offline to discuss matters further.

  5. SURYA NATH ADHIKARI

    Dear All:
    Hello.
    This is Mr. Surya Nath Adhikari from Nepal – the Agricultural Country.
    First, I would like to introduce myself in detail:
    I am 39 year old Agriculturist having my own family farm.
    I am wishing to make my Family Farm first Full Organic and then Transition into Bio-Dynamic Organic Farm.
    I am former International J1Exchange Visitor (Trainee) for Farm & Industry Short Course Graduate (One YearCertificate) from University of Wisconsin -Madison, CALS , USA 2001-2002 batch. Presently, I am a Family Farmer and also a Managing Director of – BIO-DYNAMIC ORGANIC FARMING & SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE SERVICE PVT. LTD.
    I am also working as Country Representative/Partner from Nepal for-
    (1) Communicating for Agriculture Exchange Program, MN-USA for Dairy, Field Crops, Horticulture,
    Apiary and Fishery Placements in the US Host Farms ( Reference Maja Bherens: http://www.caepinc.org)
    (2) The Global Cow Ltd, Vermont-USA for Dairy Placements only ( Reference- Jill Stahl Tyler: http://www.globalcow.com)
    (3) IEPUK , UK for Dairy, Field Crops and Horticulture Placements only (Reference: Vanessa Peach: http://www.iepuk.org
    (4) Worldwide Farmers Exchange (WFE)-assisting in sending applications and
    screening trainees as well as trying to establish Fiber Based Productions Business Export to the US ( Reference: Christopher Barden/Ashley Medulan: http://www.worldwidefarmers.org)
    (5) Rural Exchange-New Zealand, RENZ (Reference: Vicky Lucas: http://www.renz.co.nz)
    (6) Life Member for Wisconsin Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Association (WALSAA) for various International Relationships. (Reference: Richard Daluge, Dean of Short Course: http://www.wisc.edu)
    (7) Sending Trainees for the Bibber International, Australia for Winery Placements too (Reference: Sue Calghoris: http://www.bibber.au)
    I am also Student/Trainee of Peter Proctor ( the Pioneer in Biodynamic Agriculture and writer of the Book ‘Grasp the Nettle’.
    As I am a former Trainee in International Agriculture Exchange Program, I know
    that how important and necessary are the Agriculture Exchange Programs for the
    young farmers from the Agricultural Country like Nepal .
    I have very good and wide networks among Nepalese farmers who wish to
    participate in such exchange programs for Practical Farming Experiences and Cultural
    Exchanges. And, I have found and experienced that some people (farmers) wish to
    go to different countries for the Different Agricultural Trainings. It depends upon their
    training needs/ Farming Interests and the country love, choice and many more things that they have as a Country / Agricultural System CRAZE!
    So, I am still interested to widen my Agriculture Networks among the other countries. If you are interested for this, Please do contact me.
    Please do note that this Work-Exchange Programs can fulfill the Labor Shortage in the countries where Labor is the main Issue.
    Also, alternatively- I have EXPLORED and am FEELING GREAT NECESSITY FOR going full ORGANIC FARMING AND ITS REVOLUTIONARY PRACTICES (my Main Interest) which has been Today’s Most essential part of Farming- both for Human Health and the Environmental Concerns as well as for the life of the Farm Fields which is a farmer’s Everything.
    So, I have decided to move myself towards the Organic Farming System-(1) by knowing more and more about this farming system from grassroots level to convert/transition my own family farm to the Organic One which is in Progress and (2) by educating and providing full support and services to the Nepalese Farmers –TO GO ORGANIC by transitioning their Conventional Farms to the Organic One.
    So, now my main INTEREST is to establish a Project/ Joint Venture Organic Exchange Program to educate and help Nepalese Farmers –TO GO ORGANIC. As well as I wish to establish an Organic Awareness (Educational) Institution by our Bilateral Venture/Efforts. And for this, we need to start both practical and theoretical awareness programs too.
    So, Can we start either –(1)International Organic Exchange /Training/Employment Programs by Placing the Young Nepalese Farmers at Organic Host/Employer Farms OR-(2) Establish a joint venture On-farm Organic Farming Demonstration Project Program here in Nepal to educate Nepalese Farmers for Sustainability as well as bring Foreign Trainees/Visitors to Nepal too as an Inbound Programs ?
    Please do let me know about it and I would love to get more information or suggestions regarding the matters for the Organic Practices and the movements in NEPAL .
    There is also a VITAL DEMAND for the Organic Vegetable/Fruits and Food Crops.
    Finally, my goal is to move towards Bio-Dynamic Organic Farming System to educate Nepalese Farmers about Bio-diversity and its Holistic Management in the Farm when we entirely all set for the Organic Farming Practices.
    Thank you for your great support.
    I am also wishing to attend any Seminars/Workshops/Short Courses/ Interaction Programs regarding the Sustainable Agriculture.
    More in the next.
    Hope to get reply.
    Sincerely,
    Surya
    Surya Nath Adhikari (Former Exchange Visitor at UW-Madison-USA, Agriculturist & Global Exchange Partner)
    Managing Director For-
    BIO-DYNAMIC ORGANIC FARMING & SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE SERVICE PVT. LTD.
    Gothatar V.D.C.-8, Kandaghari , Birendra Chowk, Kathmandu, Nepal
    Tele # 977-01-4990880
    E-mail: bdorganic.agricultureservice@gmail.com
    Govt of Nepal Regd No. 48702/064/065

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