Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Imagine TM

Monsanto’s global website says “Imagine innovative agriculture that creates ‘incredible’ things today.” Actually, I think most of us are more interested in ‘credible’ things when it comes to agriculture. Like food that people can trust. And crops that meet the needs of the farmers that grow them.

The monsanto slogan used to be “food, health, hope”. As if this wasn’t absurd enough, it has now been changed to “ImagineTM”. John Lennon must be turning in his grave.

Imagine a world with vast monocultures of patented, genetically engineered crops, producing foods with inbuilt pesticides. Imagine the world’s staple food crops engineered with genes from bacteria and then released into our food chain without any real understanding of the health impacts. Imagine…

The Monsanto website states boldly that “Integrity is the foundation of all that we do. Integrity includes honesty, decency, consistency and courage.”

I suppose ‘courage’ isn’t that far fetched. But ‘audacity’ would probably be a more accurate word.

Imagine trying to introduce a new product into the market place when most people don’t want it, and when it is effectively impossible to keep it separate from other similar products. Imagine being able to insist that the cost of keeping this product separate be passed onto the users of the other, existing products. It’s kind of like insisting that your neighbour to pay for the new fence when you bring home a pit bull terrier for a pet. Imagine not only trying to pull off such an audacious scheme but actually succeeding!

‘Consistency’ is also plausible. Although I suspect the appropriate agricultural term is ‘monoculture’.

As for “honesty’ and ‘decency’, I’m not sure how the victims of Agent Orange would feel about that. Or the thousands of people who have been affected by PCB’s – another one of Monsanto’s brilliant and ‘safe’ inventions. Or the 70 odd farmers in the US who have been sued by Monsanto for saving seeds and breaching Monsanto’s intellectual property?

I for one, imagine a world where Monsanto doesn’t exist. Where I don’t have to spend my days struggling to stop possibly one of the most irresponsible organisations in human history from involving all of us in an uncontrolled experiment without our consent.

Monsanto are on the back foot. Millions of people have been rejecting their foods. Thousands upon thousands of farmers have been rejecting their seeds. In the face of this, they have ‘voluntarily’ withdrawn GE wheat in North America, and GE canola in Australia. We can only hope that ‘voluntary’ liquidation is the next step.

Imagine food without pesticides. Imagine diversity in agriculture. Imagine seeds without patents. Imagine a future without Monsanto…


catmills said...

Hi john, so nice to see that you have established your presence in the wonderful world of technocommunications. R U having fun yt?

here's something tangentially related to monsanto, that I thought you might find interestingly bizzare. Imagine...!

copied from Fibreculture e-list

>> -------------
Steve Kurtz is Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the
State University of New York's University at Buffalo, and a member of the internationally-acclaimed Critical Art Ensemble.

Kurtz's wife, Hope Kurtz, died in her sleep of cardiac arrest in the early morning hours of May 11. Police arrived, became suspicious of Kurtz's art supplies and called the FBI.
>>Within hours, FBI agents had "detained" Kurtz as a suspected bioterrorist and cordoned off the entire block around his house.(Kurtz walked away the next day on the advice of a lawyer, his
"detention" having proved to be illegal.) Over the next few days,dozens of agents in hazmat suits, from a number of law enforcement agencies, sifted through Kurtz's work, analyzing it on-site and impounding computers, manuscripts, books, equipment, and even his wife's body for further analysis. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Health Department condemned his house as a health risk.
>> Kurtz, a member of the Critical Art Ensemble, makes art which addresses the politics of biotechnology. "Free Range Grains," CAE's latest project, included a mobile DNA extraction laboratory for testing food products for possible transgenic contamination. It was this equipment which triggered the Kafkaesque chain of events.
FBI field and laboratory tests have shown that Kurtz's equipment was not used for any illegal purpose. In fact, it is not even possible to use this equipment for the production or weaponization of dangerous germs. Furthermore, any person in the US may legally obtain and possess such equipment.
>> "Today, there is no legal way to stop huge corporations from putting genetically altered material in our food," said Defense Fund spokeswoman Carla Mendes. "Yet owning the equipment required to test for the presence of 'Frankenfood' will get you accused of
'terrorism.' You can be illegally detained by shadowy government agents, lose access to your home, work, and belongings, and find that your recently deceased spouse's body has been taken away for 'analysis.'"
>> Though Kurtz has finally been able to return to his home and recover his wife's body, the FBI has still not returned any of his equipment,
computers or manuscripts, nor given any indication of when they will.
>> The case remains open.
>> --------------------
>> A small fortune has already been spent on lawyers for Kurtz and other
>> Critical Art Ensemble members. A defense fund has been established at
>> to help defray the legal costs
>> which will continue to mount so long as the investigation continues.
>> Donations go directly to the legal defense of Kurtz and other
>> Critical Art Ensemble members. Should the funds raised exceed the
>> cost of the legal defense, any remaining money will be used to help
>> other artists in need.
>> For more information on the Critical Art Ensemble, please visit
>> Articles about the case:

monsanto said...

we know where you live...

the court papers will be arriving in the post.