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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Food Irradiation

Friends of the Earth have done a great chemicals and food report. It also covers food  irradiation.

At the moment, there is a big "behind the scenes" push to promote irradiation as the alternative to pesticides.  Apparently there is to be a  "phase out" of Dimethoate and a review of Fenthion.  ( ooo yuk, not sure what they currently do with those, or even what they are,  but it doesn't sound good) The powers that be are creating some false choice between pesticides and irradiation. Get this ! Most food which could start to grow ( for example brown rice , mung beans, lentils, garlic etc ) are irradiated as they enter Australia. Next thing to realise is that the grains and dried beans which are the mainstay of vegan diets,  are not grown in Australia.  Chick peas and red lentils are sometimes grown here, but brown lentils, borlotti beans, split peas, mung beans, peanuts ....MOST  come from Canada and China.
Then , as if conventional fruit and veg was not already toxic enough, I read some time back that FSANZ was considering an application from the DPI ( Agriculture Department) of Queensland , who were fixing to irradiate perssimons for export to Western Australia . Surley irradiation is yet  another reason to eat local organic as the following excerpt from the Friends of the Earth report drives home on p 55:

The largest food irradiation company in Australia is likely to be Steritech Pty Ltd. Steritech is already using arguments that because of regulatory restrictions on insecticides “there is growing interest in the benefits of chemical-free alternatives to treating food”. [107]. Steritech irradiate food using Gamma irradiation, with Cobalt 60 used as the most common source of Gamma Radiation. According to the US EPA food irradiation “does not eliminate dangerous toxins that are already there; it masks the aging of fruits and vegetables, it kills bacteria that produce smells that warn us food is spoiling, and it disqualifies food from being labeled “organic.” [thank goodness BW ].
At the 1987 US Congressional Hearings Into Food Irradiation, a number of experts spoke out against food irradiation. Concerns included; increases in polypoloid cells in the bone marrow of rats and mice fed with freshly irradiated wheat, increased polypoloid (abnomal) cells in monkeys fed with freshly irradiated wheat, intrauterine mutations in mice fed with freshly irradiated wheat, the small number of studies supporting irradiation, unexplained deaths and abnormalities in test rats, reduced vitamin and nutrient value of irradiated food, increases in free radicals in irradiated food, the formation of new molecules in irradiated food, conversion of nitrate to nitrite in irradiated food, increases of peroxides in irradiated polyunsaturated fats and the chemical transformation of foods, mutagens, carcinogens and cytoxic substances in food or food components which have been irradiated. [109]"
Another huge reason to buy local organically grown food or grow your own: We are going to need to be energetic and smart to survive climate change. To be physically and mentally tough enough to install need to start with good food.   And here I will insert some great  lines from Ronnie Cummins

 While we've been dutifully carrying on this year in our daily lives, in our separate domains, doing the right thing—taking care of our children and grandchildren; trying to save the whales, farm animals, and the bees; promoting natural health; supporting green commerce; fighting GMOs; safeguarding organic standards—we have nonetheless been steadily losing ground. [And in WA we have been losing precious last forests and soil !  BW ]

How is it possible that tens of thousands of non-profit organizations and millions of health, environmental and justice-minded citizens have been stymied by the deadly "business-as-usual" practices of a ruthless Corporatocracy hell-bent on disaster? [ People were tricked into voting (narrowly if in fact at all) to have what is in their food  hidden at the Californian Ballot Intiative Prop 37 ! ]   
What about our collective new normal? What about the weird weather, melting polar icecaps, killer droughts and floods, raging forest fires, and heat, permanent recession in the US , deteriorating public health, senseless violence, and those never-ending wars for oil and natural resources versus the environment? [I am reminded of  Chief Seattle's reply .Considering the white mans effect on the environment Chief Seattle predicted " the end of living and the beginning of survival".  BW]  
 Why aren’t we talking about radical change and climate-friendly food, farming, buildings, energy, transportation, jobs, education, foreign policy, mass media, and elected officials in the same breath?
Why aren’t we united, indeed up in arms against the maniacs in the Corporatocracy and their political hirelings who are gambling not only with our hard-earned money and taxes, but also with our future? 
We must all, or at least a critical mass of us, immediately connect the dots between climate-friendly food, energy, transportation, media, public education, public policy, and politics. We must be able to overthrow the Corporatocracy and resolve the most serious threat that humans have ever faced in our 100,000-200,000 year evolution: runaway global warming and climate meltdown. The bottom line for humans, as we review our year-end 2012 financials, is discouraging. If we cannot reduce fossil fuel consumption by 90% within the next 20 years and leave most remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground, if we cannot naturally sequester several hundred billion tons of CO2 and greenhouse gases through global reforestation, organic farming and carbon farming ( cell grazing)  practices we are doomed. 
We have a chance on 10 weeks time to elect some decent leaders in Western Australia. Lets talk it up  to friends , neighbours, rellies and total strangers . 

   And, as it is around 40 degrees celcius in  WA this holiday arvo, and you are hopefully  resting in a cool place, check out this  47 minute doco by John Lieu. It really covers the burning issues

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Merri Bee Organic Farm presents on food, farming, health and environment.

We have been showing great films such as  Unjust Genes, The Hidden Dangers in Kids Meals, The World According to Monsanto, The Future of food, Fresh,  Food Inc.etc to gatherings far and wide for a few years now. People are often  initially shocked at the facts (not mentioned in mainstream media) presented in these documentaries  but  are then keen to take action:  to ensure their families safe food supply; to get political ; to put  Permaculture into practice. etc etc. We’ve received much gratitude and encouragement  following these events and hope you too will contact us ( ) to discuss opportunities to get this vital info out there in 2013.   It could be your school community, playgroup, sports club, gardening group, private home gathering, event or festival. Bee is available to clarify points or answer questions raised  by the DvD   or indeed one of her own insightful  presentations, then  facilitate discussion which allows  participants  to share their responses, ideas and  plans for positive action.
Here are some of the groups who received vital  information from us in 2009-2012:
 The Nannup Shire Council                            Nannup Flower and Garden Festival,                Busselton/ Dunsborough Environment Center
                   Bunbury Sustainability Festival,             An Organic Affaire Margaret River ,                        Guest speaker at Jude Blereau’s Autumn seminar, Perth
         Permaculture Assoc WA.    Northcliffe community centre                    The Greens state meeting Pemberton 2009     The Greens State meeting Margaret River 2011
 National Organic Week , City Farm Perth                          Climate Action Bunbury         Nannup Wellness Club                    
        Climate Change and Water Issues Public Meeting       Member , Panel Discussion at Trust Organic Festival       Jude Blereau’s  WholeFood Chef class   
Nannup community film nights                     Nannup District High School         World Food Day talk at the Zircon Room Capel         Perth Show Landcare tent, Margaret River Show Sustainability display       Nannup Food Bowl September 2012    
Yallingup Steiner School visit to Merri Bee Farm          Compost workshops and wicking bed workshops Nannup and Manjimup     
South West Transitions Towns Gathering Margaret River December 2012
                                        A few of the nice comments we've received….
Your films and talks have made a big impact on us”   Mike.    Thankyou ….I felt so  nourished on every level….”  Jane “Thankyou for all you are doing to bring sustainable lifestyles to the world” Chris and Lin “We’ve learnt heaps and are greatly inspired” Josh and Liam.    “Your farm is a credit to you and demonstrates what really matters--- a healthy lifestyle for humans , animals and plants” Lance.     “Wonderfully delicious and shockingly educational” Megan. “Already have started my worm farm. Also has changed what I buy from the shops and I’m working on the bigger plan” Ben