Aquaponic Gardening

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Willie Nelson's Editorial About the Food System

I originally posted this article on my personal food blog, but wanted to share it here for anyone that is interested.


I have enjoyed listening to country music since the days of eight track tapes, a.m. radio's, and first generation Sony Walkman.  Tammy Wynette, George Jones, and Tom T. Hall were regulars on Kansas City's 61 Country station that we listened to all day long whether in the car, in the workshop, or inside the house. We didn't get very good reception on television and for several years didn't even own a working television, so we listened to lots and lots of radio.

Willie Nelson was never a true favorite of mine as a kid and even less so as an adult, but I do recognize his achievements as a song writer, performance artist, and celebrity personality. I don't really agree with his stance on recreational use of certain botanical products, but his recent guest editorial article published on The Huffington Post hits home. 

Mr. Nelson was one of the first supporters of the Farm Aid movement in the 1980's and has launched his own brand of biodiesel, but I didn't realize he has become somewhat of a food activist as well...until today.  His article on Arianna Huffington's popular political blog titled Occupy the Food System sheds light on a problem that has grown into a legitimate threat for the country.  As he explains, with a concentration of the food supply among a handful of companies, it's now more important than ever that we begin to develop our own independent sources of food and that we support others involved in the effort.  The organic famers, CSA proprietors, backyard gardeners, and small farmers deserve our support. It's a double edged sword of sorts.

While the monopolization and, some might even say, exploitation of the food supply has helped bring new products and choices to market for consumers, it is also bringing with it some negative side effects. I think there are benefits to be gained from genetically modified seeds, but I would like to see more disclosure in the market place.  I would like to see retailers offer more choice to consumers that want to have the option to purchase non GMO foods too.  I'd like to see the commericial seed companies ability to dominate certain food crops like soy beans and corn reduced. I'm not convinced that allowing them to patent a food is a good idea. I also think it's unfair that organic farmers farming their land and minding their own business are threatened by GMO seeds and crops that the wind and birds transport into their fields and affecting the independent organic farmer's ability to compete fairly.

Thanks to Willie Nelson for using his notoriety to bring this discussion toward the forefront of the media.  I hope he continues discussing this issue in the media.  I urge you to forward this article and others like it that you run across to your friends and family to encourage them to consider these issues and make their own decisions about the foods they purchase and whether they want to begin growing a portion of the food they are eating.

I don't think we need to eliminate agri-businesses or corporate farming, but I think consumers deserve more input into the process and more choices in how they spend their hard earned money at retailers.

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Comment by Chris Smith on December 22, 2011 at 9:48am

Its not so mind boggling when you look at the justices who are making these decisions and their ties to the big Ag companies. Our countries government had been completely infiltrated and is controlled by big Ag and other greedy cooperation who want to squeeze us until we pop. With recent events it is obvious that voters do not influence our seniors/congressmen but the lobbyists and their legal bribes do.

I am completely disgusted with the process and becoming embarrassed to be am American because of our government!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Brian on December 19, 2011 at 5:57pm

It's mind boggling that a company can win a lawsuit for contaminating someone else land.  I think it boils down to lobbyists and former government officials who now work for many of these companies.

Comment by Pices on December 19, 2011 at 8:27am

Attended a Slow Foods meeting last night and watched the video "The Future of Food". I was astonished that Monsanto successfully sued a Canadian canola farmer for patent infringement and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court which upheld Monsanto. This farmer had been planting canola (or rape) for generations and saving his own seed each year. His crop was contaminated my Monsanto's Roundup ready GMO and when he saved his seed as usual, his new crop had Monsanto's patented genes in it and the farmer lost the lawsuit - and all his retirement savings! Voters need to wake up and stop voting for politicians who are owned by big corporations. The laws and regulations are incredibly biased in favor of corporate America. With the patenting of seeds, Monsanto and other big ag corporations, are on the path to shut down all agriculture that won't pay them for their seeds.

Comment by Carey Ma on December 18, 2011 at 11:57pm

Yes, thank you!

It was then that I realized that there was fault in the Capitalist system and discovered upside-down economics and have spent my life trying to be as off grid as possible, (though I have to admit slipping into a nice comfort zone before my rebirth here in China).

I believe there are many more conspiracies, culprits and factions than anyone can imagine; all striving for total domination. Sheep simply can't fathom what the wolf will plan. Anyway, thanks again for opposing big Ag.

Comment by Japan Aquaponics - アクアポニックス 日本 on December 18, 2011 at 7:45pm

Hey Carey,  I have heard of several instances of this happening, and it really is unbelievable.  These guys contaminate the crops of other farmers, then sue them for patent infringement... seriously, just how can that happen in a rational world?  I am sorry it happened to you Carey.

Comment by Carey Ma on December 18, 2011 at 6:46pm

I am a strong opponent of GMO foods since the early eighties when we lost our eighty-four acre farm to pay for court cost, defending accusations from large Ag, accusing us of growing "their" patented crops, when it was our farm that was contaminated. Four generations of hard work and TLC destroyed in a single summer. Big Ag needs to die!

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