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The story of … Seedy Saturday, Poison Corn and the Stumbling Honey Bee.

Wanna hear/meet me in person?   I’m shorter than you think.

I’ll be speaking about the adventure of my Front Yard Vegetable Garden in Niagara Falls on Sunday, February 9th at the Seedy Saturday event.  More on that in a minute.   But first …

 

One of the first posts I did on the Art of Doing Stuff was a post on how to grind your own ground beef. It was a reaction to the movie Food Inc. And doingies. Those things in meat that go “doi-nngggg” in your mouth sometimes. Or crunch. Or simply won’t chew away no matter how long you try.

The focus of the movie is the business of food. Hence the clever title, Food Inc. One of the main focuses of the film is seeds. Or the lack of them due in part to the government and believe it or not, one seed company. Monsanto.

Monsanto is most well known for their genetically modified corn seed.  It produces corn with a flavourful punch of sweetness and pesticide!  The company has created corn that has pesticides bred into every cell of every kernel.    So if certain bugs happen to try to eat the corn, they will die.  Because the plant itself is a pesticide.

Now, normally this sort of thing wouldn’t bother me.  Honestly.  I’m aware of what I eat and actually eat really well.  But I’m not a zealot.  Do what you can, when you can.  That’s my motto.  So, with regard to the frankencorn I’d figure, well … I don’t eat that much corn.  If that uncooked pork hamburger I ate in Antigua in 1990 didn’t kill me, this corn sure isn’t.

But then came the bees.

My friend Russell is a beekeeper.  One who keeps bees.  Last spring he got 2 colonies of bees and brought them out to his fields.  One colony did fine.  They thrived.  The other colony … did not.  Tiny little bees, alive, but unable to do what they do.   Gather pollen and make honey.  There was something wrong with them.

 

03

photo stolen from Jesse Senko’s website Homemade Crackers.  Profile of Russell.

 

When Russell contacted the guy he bought the colony from he was told that particular colony of bees had been drinking from puddles in a corn field.  A corn field that was planted with pesticide infused corn seed.  After rain, the pesticide within the cells of the corn, leached into the dirt and therefore the puddles on top of the dirt.

All the bees that came to one of those puddles to drink, became very sick in a very weird way.  Stammering.  Shaking.  Stumbling. The man who sold Russell the colony of bees suggested he burn them and come back for a new colony.

Russell didn’t have it in him.  He took the bees home to his backyard to try to nurse them back to health. They didn’t make it. They didn’t die directly from the puddle water. They just failed to thrive. They didn’t reproduce, lay eggs or get strong. They couldn’t protect themselves. They were overrun by ants. They were weak and didn’t reproduce.

Eventually, Russell had no choice but to kill them. They were sick and miserable.

All because of genetically modified corn.

 

NewGirl

 

And it’s not an easy fix.  For one thing very few seeds are allowed to be sold legally for commercial sale.  Very few.  It’s costly and a long process to get any new seed onto the list.  It’s big business and the small farmer just doesn’t have the money or the clout.  So they’re forced to grow food they may not necessarily want to grow.

Because of this, heirloom or heritage seeds have been lost at a rapid rate.  They are the seeds of plants that have been around for generations.  But they’ve been pushed away and in some cases lost forever in favour of commercial seeds.  Vegetables that grocery stores want to buy are perfectly uniform, picture perfect, unmarked food.  Someone decided a tomato should be perfectly round, bright red and have the ability to travel thousands of miles without bruising.  So … that’s what we have to choose from at the grocery store.  Oddly, not a whole lot of thought seems to be given to how it will taste.  Presumably because we shop with our eyes not our mouths.  Unless you’re me in the grape aisle.

Where was I going with all this?

Ah yes.  Seedy Saturday.

Seedy Saturday is an event held by different organizations and people all across Canada for the sole purpose of selling and exchanging open-pollinated and heritage seeds.

The very first was organized in 1990 by Sharon Rempel in Vancouver, British Columbia and it’s spread across Canada and into parts of the UK since then.

Most events have seeds and gardening related stuff for sale as well as a big table where you can drop off the seeds you’ve saved and pick up a packet of someone else’s seeds for free.  Along with the seeds, there are vendors and workshops and speakers.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am one of the featured speakers at the Niagara Falls Seedy Saturday Event this year.  I’ll be giving a photo presentation of last year’s project of ripping out my front yard and putting in a vegetable garden.  I’ll cover how I did it, how many plants I grew, which ones I’d grow again and how to grow a few of  the less familiar vegetables like Sweet Potatoes and peanuts.  I also have a small Art of Doing Stuff gift for everyone who shows up.

If you plan to come you might wanna show up wearing a tee shirt with your Twitter handle or Gravatar picture on it so I know who the  hell you are.

Not in Southern Ontario?  Check here for a Seedy Saturday event coming up  in your area.

Have a good weekend!


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85 Comments | Filed Under: Everything Else | Tags: ,

85 Responses to The story of … Seedy Saturday, Poison Corn and the Stumbling Honey Bee.

  1. I love everything about this post. Everyone should watch all of those food documentaries, even if they just roll their eyes – it’s just something you don’t forget and it’s definitely changed the way we eat in my house!

    We have four beehives going on our land right now, and so far, so good. I might just send you a bottle of our honey, friend!

    Great post.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Erin. Don’t promise anything yet but if it all works out for you I’d love a jar of your honey! ~ karen

    • Amber says:

      If you drive a car in America then you use GMO corn. Ethanol is an additive used to lower the cost of gas especially during winter. It is made from corn. It is added to appease voters, and to line the pockets of politicians who own corn fields. It burns at a lower temperature, but it drives the cars. It burns dirty, because lower temperatures means higher amounts of pollutants which are not burned off. It also means lower gas mileage. I moved from Montreal to Vermont and watched my gas mileage decrease by half. Yes, from 4.5 liters per 100 kilometers to 9 liters per 100 kilometers. To be closer to my parents I am buying gas at half the price as in Canada, and driving half as far while dirtying the environment and poisoning the bees. The majority of American corn fields fuel cars now. I did not sign the petition to decrease the Vermont gas tax. We should pay more for cleaner fuel.

  2. Meghan says:

    Jesse is married to my husbands cousin. Small world. The fate of pollinators world wide breaks my heart. If things don’t change and quickly these poor bugs are going to die and we and the planet’s animal life will starve. Wish I could make seedy Saturday. But I’m stuck at home in Sudbury dying from frostbite and cabin fever.

    • Patti says:

      I knew that was a Jesse Senko photo! I went to school with him at Conestoga, for graphic design (he was a year ahead of me). His photos are awesome, and it is a small world!

  3. heather t says:

    Fruitless Fall is an excellent book about Colony Collapse Disorder. Spoilers: The book explores many of the prime suspects, but concludes that pesticides are probably the main culprit. :(

  4. KiwiKat says:

    The issue in our area is beekeepers having their hives stolen (we have a lot of manuka in the area, which produces very special honey with lots of health benefits – more so than most)…there has been a lot of thefts and hive sabotage in the news lately.

    As for heritage seeds, we have some great companies here in NZ (mostly started small as co-ops or individuals rescuing our past plant history) – Koanga gardens is amazing!

  5. Amie Mason says:

    Good luck with your presentation! Wish I could be there! xx

  6. Violet says:

    Monsanto is so evil.

    Have you ever considered taking up beekeeping, Karen? I think about it sometimes. Not for honey, I’m not interested in that. I just want to give bees a safe place to live and thrive to try to make up in what small way I can for their dwindling numbers. Bees are so wonderful. But I’d want to just set up hives and let them do their own bee thing. I don’t really want to do the whole beekeeper thing. I’d like to let the poor things alone. But with a hive, I think you have to do SOME maintenance, for the sake of keeping the bees healthy, so that’s what I need to look into. I don’t want to be out there fiddling with and poking the hives every day. I just want the world to have more bees!

  7. Heather says:

    Thank you for this post. I called you my hero earlier in the week but this post is an example why. I am a high school biology teacher. i decided to go into teaching a few years back to educate the next generation about what we are doing to our world and the lifestyle changes (such as growing their own food) they can make when they are adults that may help their health and the health of our beautiful planet. Most adults don’t want to hear it but you are presenting it in a funny cool way that is getting the info to many and inspiring change. Thank you Karen–not all heroes wear capes you know xo

  8. Lush says:

    Yes to all of this!! It really is time that we woke up before it’s too late.
    Good luck with the seed day, we have one here locally in the UK, I will be attending.
    Cheers
    Lush

  9. Kate says:

    Fantastic post.
    This is really scary stuff and exactly why people should be supporting non-GM and organic food producers! Better yet support heirloom seed companies and grow them yourself, the fruit and vegetables are WAY more interesting anyway.
    I love the idea of seedy saturday, too! It should be global.
    Kx

  10. mimiindublin says:

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant post Karen.
    I’m so with you on this, not going over the top or stressing out about what’s in our food, but the onward march of big-business-meets-grow-food-cheaply is not good for us.
    Your compatriot, Udo Erasmus has some fascinating things to say about how food is produced with economy, uniformity and shelf life in mind, and scant regard for taste or nutrition.
    We have an org. here called Seed Savers who do similar to your Seedy Saturday: i have 2 of their Apple trees!
    Wish I could be there on Saturday!

  11. Julie says:

    Thanks for the great post! If you get a chance this a wonderful movie to watch: http://www.queenofthesun.com/

    Have fun at the Seedy Saturday event – wish I could be there.

  12. Beckie says:

    the last few days have been viciously cold here in my corner of the Northeast and to combat going stir crazy I have been planning this year’s garden.

    One thing I have been scrounge the interwebz for is heirloom seeds. I want the tomatoes my grandmother grew!

    here’s to being old-fashioned =)

  13. Mary Werner says:

    If you want to become informed about Monsanto and other corporate powers that have influenced what we eat – try the book ‘Stolen Harvest’ by Vandana Shiva. She is Indias’ top physicist and devoted her life to informing everyone of the dangers of genetically engineered crops and seeds. I have several of her books and have heard her speaking and found she was able to talk to me – a non scientific plain person that likes to eat. She is not a wild and crazy radical but humble, pleasant woman that informs with authority in a completely captivating manner. I have read Earth Democracy and Water Wars also. She started the “Monsanto, Quit India” campaign against genetically engineered crops which is now a global movement. Stolen Harvest is a must read for everyone.

  14. DzynByJules says:

    I so wish I could be there too, but stuck in sunny S. Carolina ;) I have heard just small snippits about GMO’s but hadn’t a clue it was as bad as you mentioned… definitely getting my fella to finally give up the occasional bag of popcorn and handful of Fritos. Why isn’t there a bigger outrage against this????? One of the best kept dirty secrets of the food industry, can’t thank you enough Karen for enlightening us once again! Consider me “Corn-Free”! Break a leg this weekend, Girl!
    Jules:)
    P.S. Your amazing garden has inspired me to think about growing a side-garden in my yard, but that hard, southeast clay already has my back a-breaking! Any thoughts for how I could grow a variety garden in stylish containers???

    • Karen says:

      Jules – You can grow many/most things in containers. They just have to be large enough and you have to remember to keep them watered. Some that are guaranteed to work in containers are potatoes, lettuces, tomatoes (need a tall, big container like a planter), even carrots if the container is tall enough! Really …. just about anything will work. Basil does great in containers, as do a lot of other herbs. Good luck! ~ karen!

    • Melissa L says:

      Hi Jules…

      Last year I grew tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, peas, radishes, peppers, strawberries and cucumbers, all in containers! Easy peasy. Good luck, and just be sure to have good drainage and lots of water. :)

    • Cat says:

      Jules, there’s a lot to be said about 5-gallon buckets and container gardening. Potatoes, for example grow incredibly well in them. Also, if you’re not up to investing $50 or more in a ceramic planter, you could always buy a few of those Rubbermaid containers and drill a few holes in the bottoms. Don’t bother getting the lids for them, unless they’ll be used to cover your garden in snow. Since Texas (okay, the Big Country area of Texas) doesn’t see a lot of snow except maybe 2 weeks a year, I don’t use them. I have an apartment, and that’s what my balcony gets covered in every spring & summer. You can use trestle tables or long benches to keep them off the ground and reduce your bending requirement as well. Get plain old dirt (potting soils are great, but some may not be the best in the world for food plants) and some eggshells, coffee grounds, and other “waste” products that are organic (banana peels, apple peels, stuff like that) and put it in a 55 gallon drum if you have the space, or a 5 gallon bucket if you don’t, and cover it with an appropriately-sized black trash bag. Set it in the sun. Stir the mess twice a week, and in about 4 weeks, you will have the perfect growing medium. Wear a mask filter. It stinks. It is SO worth it though.

  15. Amanda says:

    Monsanto is the devil. Seriously. Those poor bees.
    I wish we had a Seedy Saturday somewhere near me in the States…until then, I’ve got a good source for some heirloom seeds and plants. We bought a house with an actual YARD, so we’re gonna get all square foot garden up in it’s business this year!

  16. Erin says:

    I agree with Erin/Lemon Sugar – I love love love this post. I forwarded the link onto several others so that they could bask in the awesomeness of it, as well. I then lept to the interwebs in order to see if there is such an event in Northern Florida…and there is, to an extent…so now I’m in love with this post and giddy with excitement over the prospect of a seed swap ;]

  17. Lori says:

    Fantastic post Karen! My husband and his uncle have started beekeeping and that’s when we found out about how the bee collapse that you hear about is mostly due to corn. Unbelievable. We have several acres and are in the process of planting all the things that we can to help the little guys out. Heirloom seeds…pesticide free and org. fertilizer. Thanks so much for helping to spread the word.

  18. jane says:

    Excellent post!

  19. Ruth says:

    Unfortunately for us here, Jamaican Customs placed seeds on the ‘banned’ list fairly recently. I discovered that when I was attempting to buy seeds from Cubits, which is why I decided to try sending it to my friend in Toronto, so she could smuggle it in a book in her suitcase. Since – for some odd reason – PayPal refused to use my credit card to send something to her address, I am stuck with what I think might be GM seeds (the seeds I save from my first harvest never germinate).

    Let me know when you’re coming to JA…. assuming you’re not averse to smuggling seeds. :D

  20. Ann says:

    I would love to come hear you speak. But alas, I live just a bit too far.

    There are lists on the internet of seed companies that refuse to have any GMO seed or to have anything to do with Monsanto, Bayer, or any other company involved with big agribusiness. I try to stick to using them exclusively. But this year I am so late in buying seed that I may be forced to buy off the rack seeds to get anything in the ground.

    This last summer I went up to rural NW Ohio for my HS reunion. I noticed that every field of soybeans, corn and wheat were way too perfect. I asked a family member where I was staying and she said it is all GMO. All exactly the same height, color, no weeds, no bare spots. Very pretty to some but scary as hell to me.

  21. Janet says:

    I am in Southern Ontario, and I wish I could come and hear you speak on Feb.9! Previous commitments prevent.

    Our three acres is surrounded by corn fields on all sides. Sadly, the big farmer that owns most of the land in our area knows nothing of rotating crops. It’s very rare for him to plant anything but corn. Instead of rotation, he inoculates the land with chemicals.

    I try not to think about it too much.

  22. Mary Kay says:

    I’m right with you Karen. I think heritage seeds are the way to go – I got some from one of your sponsors and they were great. Do they have Seedy events in the US? I would love to come to Canada to visit but I need to get a passport and I’m not sure they will let me out and if they do I may have to come live with you cause they really might not let me back in (hee he).

  23. Jules says:

    So, I just learned today that Stoke Seeds is now owned by Monsanto. Which is pretty disappointing as they have been a standard for me for a long time.
    What a world.

  24. Debbie Neal says:

    What a story! I looked at the list of places for Speedy Saturday and saw that it is only in Canada! Is there and American version for those of us who do not live there?

  25. Lynn says:

    I was wrong. I said yesterday’s post was the best but today’s wins hands down. Such an important subject that truly affects everyone and many have no idea just how so. GOOD FOR YOU to be a speaker, to educate others while of course being your regular entertaining self. We have just put money down for our first Nuc to be delivered in the spring – our metropolitan hive will have other hurtles to manage I am sure but I hope that with this greater awareness, a positive change is on the horizon for the great offenders like Dow, Monsanto and the like. Go Karen!

  26. Nancy says:

    Thank you for your excellent post. You know scientists can say all sorts of things and they get so technical non-scientists often stop listening. (I worked 15 years with biologists). What you said about the bees and the GMC is so clear the problems with what we are doing to nature. And corn products are in everything. Very thoughtful.

  27. About 6 years ago, a friend was talking about all the bees in Texas dying and no one knew why. He was really concerned about what effect the demise of bees would have on agriculture. Your story makes so much sense. I love this blog; it has so much diversified information about things I love such as DIY, gardening, cooking ,etc. I’m so glad I found it. Thanks also to Heather t for the info about the book; I will look into it.

    • Cat says:

      Not all the bees in Texas died, though the bee population did dwindle dramatically in 2008-10. The few beekeepers who managed to keep their bees alive did so because they live in areas where corn is not planted very much. The plantings that are around them are hay crops, like clover, alfalfa, and the like. The price of honey did go up :( but we’ve managed to get some of the population back. I’m not a beekeeper (I’m actually allergic to their stings, so I avoid them altogether), but I do keep up with them, because I totally LOVE honey.

  28. Jennifer says:

    Karen:

    While this is a very interesting anecdote, that is just what it is, an anecdote. It is easy to forget that correlation is not causality and anecdotes are not data. While the GM corn (I’m assuming it contained the BT) could be the issue, it could also be any number of other things. While I usually really enjoy your articles, I think it is helpful to include actual science and well designed double blind, studies from peer reviewed articles about the same issue.

    People used to believe that night air caused illness because they started getting sick when they opened their windows at night. Of course, with further study, we found that it was actually mosquitoes transmitting disease that caused the illness, not “night air.” It is really easy to get scared from anecdotes that are untrue – as well as those that are true. People thought you could get AIDS from just being near someone with AIDS.

    For the record, I don’t like heritage tomatoes – they taste like dirt to me. More heritage tomatoes for everyone else! Give me some good hybrid Cherubs – yum! Same with sweet corn. Give me a good super sweet variety any day over a heritage cob that tastes like field corn.

    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jennifer! You’re right. They used to think smoking caused lung cancer too. Silly alarmists. Oh! By the way, how long have you been working for Monsanto? ~ karen

      • Jennifer says:

        Suprisingly, I don’t work for a seed company but I did grow up on a farm. It took me a long time to get over it. Only this past summer, over 20 years after I left the farm, did I think “I might like to can some beans.” I love the Jade variety and you can’t get that at the store. Mom has slowed down her canning and we go through the jars she makes us pretty early in the year. We treat them like the treasures they are and worship them appropriately when we open them to eat.

        I did a little research and found that they aren’t blaming the GM corn but a coating on the corn containing neonicotinoids in addition to several other factors. The neonicotinoids sound very nasty and long lasting in the environment. I know (from growing up on that farm) that the coatings they put on seed are nasty and not to be messed with. Did you know, at least 20 years ago, seed corn for field corn, is purple due to the coating? I always thought that was weird.

        Two pretty good, scientifically supported articles can be found at:

        http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/about/intheworks/honeybee.htm
        and
        http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=15572

        Neonicotinoids (and yes, I have to look that up every time I spell it) are banned in several European countries.

        So, in this case, it appears to be less GM (and not BT at all) and an external application of pesticides.

        Anecdotes are great and can lead to good avenues to study but shouldn’t be used for life decisions – or laws.

        BTW, I’m very pro heritage seeds and lower pesticide usage. I’m not necessarily anti-GM. I don’t feel like I have enough knowledge to think one way or the other.

        • Oz says:

          “Teach the controversy” – a tactic used by vested interests to make sure society doesn’t act against them. Try to create more uncertainty than there is. We see it with GMO foods, climate change etc.

          There are PR companies with “persona management” software out there scanning for blog posts etc concerning topics of interest to their corporate clients. Using a plausible online persona they chime in the discussion with their viewpoints, to sway opinion, and failing that to give the impression that their stance has more public support than it really does.

          As for “Jennifer” and her point:
          It’s hard to get peer reviewed studies about GMO foods because the firms involved treat them as trade secrets and in general refuse to open up to scrutiny. It is shocking and an indictment of our apathy that we’ve allowed our governments to not force transparency into this unprecedented modification of our food supply.

      • Heather says:

        I wish you had a “Like” option

  29. Lisa says:

    Love the post!

    Question – so I buy seeds when they catch my eye, at the hardware store or Home Depot. Should I not be doing that?

    What about seeds like lettuce and basil, where I don’t get around to saving the seeds?

  30. Raymonde says:

    Thank you for the link to all the Seedy Saturdays (and sundays). I’m sending the link to many of my friends all over Quebec!

    If you want to know what Monsanto is really up to, (corn is just the tip of the iceberg) watch the documentary “The world according to Monsanto”. You can watch it online here:
    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-world-according-to-monsanto/

    And then, share that link as much as you can, our ignorance is their main weapon…

  31. nancyeileen says:

    fantastic post and veeeerry informative.
    I hope youi know what a wonderful service you’re providing with ALL of your posts.
    We all love your humor and I love your humor even MORE when I have to think about a second then say OOOHH!!! I get it!
    But your features like today have such incredible informative, educational impact.
    Thanks again, I admire you!

  32. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I so wish that my bank account would let me come..I would love to hear you speak about the garden..Is there any way that you could have it video taped so that we could see it online??..That is some scary corn you are talking about..Definitely going to try to grow my own this year after reading this..I detest companies that think of nothing but their profits irregardless of what it does to the planet and every living thing on it..Also..I do love going to the Falls..so many fun things to do there..Good luck and have fun!!

  33. Patti says:

    So, I knew some of this stuff about the Monsanto family, but I honestly did not know about all the laws about seeds. I heard that the problem with Monsanto is also that, since their plants and seeds are pesticides, thy take over other fields which have different kinds of corn – they are too strong.

    Bad news, all around, if you ask me!

    Anyway – Karen, I think this is awesome, and super interesting (I hope you share more of this on your blog). I would SO be there in Niagara Falls, because I LOVE my garden and Niagara Falls is fun (check out the Crystal Maze – it’s legit!) and you’re awesome, but I’m going bridesmaid dress shopping with my future sister-in-law. :( Good luck!

  34. Cathy says:

    Great post. Makes me want to totally stay away from corn. My husband is the true beekeeper in the family, but I quickly realize that I need to take over the nurturing of the little stingers. I have to admit, the more I learn about beekeeping the more I want to learn. Will be starting bee school in March. I agree, that Karen should take up beekeeping.

  35. Janet says:

    Thanks for this post….I’m really interrested in this. Have been reading lately about Monsanto’s purchase of a bee research company….suggesting that they are genetically modifying bees now too – bees that can withstand the chemicals they sell to farmers. Meaning (if this is true) that not only would Monsanto own most seeds (and therefore food) but also the ability to pollinate the resulting crops. This is really scary stuff.

  36. Debbie R says:

    Sometimes you just have to use common sense, and it seems you have done that. Thanks for the info!

  37. Ok. Now I am freaked out on the seeds that I have to plant. Where can I buy open pollinated and heritage seeds in the states for my garden? And good luck with your speech.

  38. Feral Turtle says:

    Excellent post Karen! It is very scary to see what is being done to our food supply! Being surrounded by a farming community, it is sad to see health and safety overshadowed by greed and lifestyle. We also have to deal with the gas companies raping our land and damaging water supplies. Where are the Gov’t agencies in all this? In the back pockets of big industry. Hopefully more gatherings of people trying to preserve our land, will speak out. Cheers to you for taking part in such an important event!

  39. 2nd post for me today, YIKES. We have a very short growing season here in Colorado so I want to start seeds indoors. If we plant outdoors in early June, when should I start my seeds indoors for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, etc. Thank you!!

  40. BarbWire says:

    Definitely food for thought! No pun intended. This is so scary. I am going to email a link to all my friends and hope they read it. I wish I could hear you speak in person. Now, where can I buy seeds that are safe?

    FYI – We had a bee hive in one of our birdhouses. A huge one! Hubby wanted to kill them but I said no. I paid a bee keeper to come and take the whole thing away. He was taking them to a rural area to give them a new home. I hope they were happy that I did this, I now I was.

  41. Barbie says:

    I have had “Food Inc” of my list of movies to rent next for a while now. I want my husband to watch it with me so he can be as vigilant about what goes into his mouth as I am. Consumers are the answer to the problem I suppose. If we demand better food and are willing to pay a higher price for it then we could make a difference. Unfortunately everyone does not do this nor can they. It’s really crazy.

  42. Ritz says:

    Thank you for this post, Karen.
    You put it so well (and that ain’t the half of it).
    I have been following the evil Montsanto (and a few other companies) for years now and do hold them majorly responsible for bee colony colapse all over the world. And its not just about honey, its about the many foods that result from bee pollination.
    Break a leg on Seedy Saturday. Wow ‘em with your bad self!

  43. Sara says:

    Just shared your sad bee story on Facebook. Sad. So sad. My sister’s zucchini failed to produce last summer outside Atlanta, Georgia. She started asking around. The bees there are struggling or leaving.

  44. beth says:

    Fantastic post… Monsanto is the devil, and from what I’ve read they are currently suing the farmers near them if they find their corn seed ( from cross pollination) growing in the farmers fields. No one can control the wind… So Scary.

  45. Karen Duke says:

    I started saving my own seeds on a serious level about 3-4 years ago. But that doesn’t offer me the opportunity to try new things so I must also purchase seeds and plants every year. I’m proud to say that all the seeds I bought online this week (from 3 different sources) are heirloom varieties & grown organically. I feel like then I can better perpetuate the concept; get more varieties, save the seeds. Plant some and share some. My neighbor, a very serious gardener, just put up a greenhouse and will be starting some plants for me too. I did make one concession and bought some hybrid purple and white striped potatoes. AND I’ve been thinking for a year or two about beekeeping myself, so I appreciate the timeliness of this post!

  46. Shauna says:

    I’m so happy you wrote this post. It’s very important information that everyone should be aware of. Bees pollinate more than 1/3 of our food supply. Without them, we’re screwed.

    And, I agree with Beth – Monsanto is the Devil and I’ve read the same thing about them suing small farmers who end up with their corn seed (despite them not even wanting it) from cross pollination.

  47. Kat says:

    My hives have been struggling. Corn is grown all over, not just the mid-west, and the little valley I live in here in the northwest has lots of corn. My poor little bees keep dying, and my pocketbook is struggling, too.

    What you didn’t mention is that Bayer bought out Beelogics, one of the largest independent bee research centers. So now Monsanto/Bayer owns the research that was being used against them, and controls what new studies will be conducted. I wonder how soon it will bee before Monsanto begins selling Roundup Ready bees? How soon until they start suing anyone whose queen mates with one of their drones?

    This is seriously scary stuff.

  48. Leslie says:

    Thank you, Karen! I care so much about these things, too, but it isn’t always easy to know where to start. Your funny and beautiful posts about your chickens and their coop was one of the two main things that helped me make the leap to get my own chickens. Next, I hope to start growing some of the chickens’ food right here on the property. More animals, more food / less plowing, less pesticides … pretty soon it will be an old-school farm again. Thank you for being an inspiration.

  49. Chau says:

    My goodness! That’s why I love to visit your blog, Karen. I learn something new every time. Congratulation on your speech.

  50. Tara says:

    Really appreciate your post! You presented the issue so well.

  51. marilyn says:

    great reading..so many points of view and information. good luck at seedy sat karen but i know yu wont need it.

  52. toekneetoni says:

    i haven’t had the courage to watch Food Inc. yet, but i am well aware of Monsanto & some of its practices. They are the devil. Thanks for the info. I only discovered your blog a week ago, but i gotta say you are awesome!

  53. KJ says:

    But what are you supposed to do if you don’t WANT to grow your own food and raise your own chickens?!? I mean, I think it’s GREAT that people want to, but I get annoyed at the constant care that one 12 pound dog and 2 beta fish seem to require. I don’t think I’m cut out for farming, animal husbandry and chicken hatchery!

    • Karen says:

      Farmers markets. Or organic produce section. (I just browse the organic section to see what’s on sale or priced similarly to the reg. stuff and buy that) ~ karen!

  54. Linda says:

    Thank you for this post Karen, I’m glad you are opening a few more eyes to the world of Monsanto! I lived and raised my kids in the country for 15 years on a 2 acre lot, in one of the original farmhouses in the area, surrounded by 98 acres of mostly hay fields. In the field next to our house was an ancient apple orchard with 6 different types of apples. We were also surrounded by raspberry and thimble berry bushes, red currants and Concord grapes. The kids, our golden retriever (he enjoyed the raspberries) and I spent lots of time hanging out having dessert off the bushes and trees. I also made some wicked grape jelly from the grapes. Well, a “farmer” bought the 98 acres surrounding us and plowed and scraped and tore out all the trees, bushes,grasses and BURNED black walnut trees that were a hundred years old!!!(idiot could have sold those trees and made a lot of money, but that’s another story). He did this to plant GMO corn. The birds disappeared, so did the bees that used to swarm looking for a winter home. At least my kids were able to experience nature in all her fabulous glory, the baby porcupine that came to visit, ma and pa pheasant, red foxes, coyotes, ugly vultures, wild turkeys, various birds. Our little paradise was gone to GMO corn and we got the hell out. They don’t just affect the bees, it’s ALL wildlife and they make the land sterile so nothing grows….
    I’m sorry I will miss your talk, but I do plan to plant a veggie garden in pots this year on my back deck with heritage seeds!

  55. Faith Veley says:

    Thank-you, Karen.

  56. Laura Bee says:

    Great info that everone should hear. I adhere to the “do what you can, when you can” mindset as well.
    I’m imagining you with a slide projector & pointing stick. Or did you get all tech-y with Power Point?
    Spread the word!

  57. kelli says:

    Great post, Karen. I saw “Food, Inc.” last year and it really opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t know about the in food industry. However I’ve been yelling about problems with our food supply in general to anyone who will listen, for years! It literally IS a case of taking the natural good stuff out and putting the bad/GMO/altered stuff in (and then SUING anyone who dares to try and grow non-GMO crops outside of what is dictated to them!? That’s a definition of insanity, IMO). It really is no wonder we are all tired, sick, overweight, malnourished, can’t think, we’re full of diseases, cancers and the like…everything we eat and drink has been so radically modified and chemicalized it doesn’t resemble anything in the natural world any more.

    And now the bees. Without those busy little bees, we really are done for…! :(

  58. Nicole2 says:

    I don’t care about spots on my apples – Leave me the birds and the bees. Please.

  59. Sara says:

    So Karen – I loved this post, but it seems strange to me that ‘Round Up Corn’ would be advertising on your site…. “one-pass weed control in a convenient, small package”. Just sayin’.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Well isn’t that interesting. I actually have no control over the ads. Not so specifically anyway. I can say “no porn ads”, “no religion ads”, but not No Weed Control for Corn ads. I’m not bothered by it. I think the ironic ad actually gives my post an even longer lasting impression. ~ karen

  60. Beth says:

    Hi Karen, I’m hoping you are having someone video your talk and maybe post a copy of it? I would LOVE to see it!!

  61. Joan says:

    Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. is a company that sells non-hybrid, non-GMO seed. They have three retail stores in the US and a beautiful catalogue with thousands of heirloom seeds they’ve collected from all over the world. I haven’t ordered from them yet but my parents order from them often. They are passionate about keeping our food safe. You can request a catalogue or shop online at rareseeds.com. Even if you don’t particularly care about heirloom seeds, they offer unusual stuff that you won’t see anywhere else.

  62. Greer says:

    doingies – we refer to them as grimsbies thanks to Douglas Adams and John Lloyd’s “The Meaning of Liff”

    GRIMSBY (n.)
    A lump of something gristly and foul tasting concealed in a mouthful of stew or pie. Grimsbies are sometimes merely the result of careless cookery, but more often they are placed there deliberately by Freemasons. Grimsbies can be purchased in bulk from any respectable Masonic butcher on giving him the secret Masonic handbag. One is then placed in a guests food to see if he knows the correct masonic method of dealing with it. If the guest is not a Mason, the host may find it entertaining to watch how he handles the obnoxious object. It may be

    (a) manfully swallowed, invariably bringing tears to the eyes,

    (b) chewed with resolution for up to twenty minutes before eventually resorting to method (a),

    (c) choked on fatally.

    The Masonic handshake is easily recognised by another Mason incidentally, for by it a used grimsby is passed from hand to hand. The secret Masonic method for dealing with a grimsby is as follows : remove it carefully with the silver tongs provided, using the left hand. Cross the room to your host, hopping on one leg, and ram the grimsby firmly up his nose, shouting, ‘Take that, you smug Masonic bastard.’

  63. Dru says:

    Hey Karen, want vegetables properly spaced with a dramatic reduction in weeding? Check out Homer’s Speedy Seeder on Kickstarter. Here’s the link http://kck.st/VBaVLV. We are farmers not film makers, so there are 2 videos that make an effort to explain what this is :)

  64. Paulina J! says:

    I usually don’t cuss, but Monsanto is a $#*&@!@%# corportaion. They don’t care about anything but making money. I was so upset after watching Food Inc and seeing how they bully small farmers just trying to make a living. Their end will come. People are finally listening.

  65. Karen says:

    It is not misinformation. The crops are grown with the pesticide in them. That is fact. The BT is bred into the plant’s every cell. Not just applied topically. Either way, does it really matter? It does leech into the soil. That is fact. I never once said that it was the base corn that has ill effects on the soil. It is the modified version of the corn. It is the pesticide in it. I see you like links, so here’s one for you … http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/GE-Crops-and-Foods-On-the-Market/Corn I believe you’ll be most interested in the 4th section, “More Information”. So the “anecdote” I have told is not an exaggeration and just because the information isn’t presented in a pretentious, condescending way with Latin terminology doesn’t make it any less true. ~ karen

  66. missnicoleo says:

    Thank you for breaking it down for the nonscientist, majority of consumers.

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