[Homeroast] GMO Coffee

Lynne lynnebiz at gmail.com
Wed Jul 21 09:31:22 CDT 2010

[note: messages snipped - always a good idea, IMO]

I, too, am very glad to read Ray-O's poetic words! and I totally agree.

Ray wrote:

> I've been reading *The World According to Monsanto* © 2008  by
> Marie-Monique
> Robin.
> In my opinion, all should be conversant with the effects of the Chemical
> Vampires on the good things of the earth.

Joseph wrote:

> With all do respect, while you watch very carefully what "they" are doing.
> I
> will opt the a morphed version of your third option / or choice. Instead of
> doing it myself I am going out of my way to support and hopefully bring
> back
> the small farmers and food co-ops.

As far as this discussion on this list. The politics of Coffee and food are
> very close indeed. I know Tom has all these concerns and issues on his mind
> when he sources some of the wonderful small lots for us.

I agree that a personal solution is to take part in food co-ops - also CSA's
and local
farmer's markets for our food source. As far as my coffee source goes -
since I can't
grow my own coffee here in New England, Tom is my next best choice. That was
was the deciding factor when I first ordered from Sweet Maria's - the fact
that he has a
close connection with the farms. I was amazed that I could actually read
about each
source, the farm, the people involved with the production - even photos.
That was a big
step away from the corporate coffee production that has become the norm

My concern, as with so many others - is the result of (or when?) genetically
modified beans
pollinating with normal beans (for Bryan & others who are late in this
discussion, when we are
speaking of GMO, or genetically modified seeds, we are speaking about seeds
that have been
artificially tampered with by scientists (a for instance: when the genes of
shrimp - a common
allergen, btw - opens up a whole 'nuther area of concern - could be added to
corn seeds, or
something like that).

Ed wrote:

> My concern was GMO getting into our cherished coffee varietals. In the
> low lands I imagine a possible mess.  Farming works best when it can
> be fit naturally into an environment without disruption. I think some
> of the farmers Tom visits have some good simple stewardship going on
> and it shows in the cup. Soil hates plows. It's a micro massacre.
> Exposing soil is not a natural occurrence.

Well, if anyone should know about this, it's you, Ed, since that's what you
do! I know this from my
little gardens of the past (I have a small one this yr, but honestly haven't
done much with it beyond the
watering part, letting my son do the rest), and from reading, of course. I
found that it was so much better
to work with nature, not against it, and was constantly (and joyfully)
amazed at the result. Even to the
point when I had put my house up for sale, deciding not to garden that year
- but the tomatoes reseeded
themselves (seeming to have a mind of their own). The veggies I got out of
that garden for those few years
I had it were amazing - in fact, I felt as though it gave an incorrect
impression to my kids that *I* had a
natural talent for gardening, when in fact, I just learned how to work with

Ryan wrote:

> As much as I would like to agree with this, I am not really willing to
> grant small farmers quite that much credit. I would love to believe this is
> true but I have known too many small businesses and local farmers that
> definitely do not have this mindset and are looking out for number one.

Totally true - human nature being what it is, it all depends on those humans
involved. And I also agree
that there *can* be big businesses that are ethically sound. The first that
comes to mind is Ben & Jerry's,
(many may disagree with what was their liberal viewpoint, but they had an
ethical stand they stood by,
and perhaps have continued it after the sale of their company. I'm sure
there are others I don't know about.
However, when it comes to big farming business, that, by it's very nature,
seems to be very difficult to achieve.
They would have to start out with the intention right from the beginning,
for instance, to use natural methods to
farm. I wonder how it would be possible. Forgive me if I'm making an
assumption, but 'natural agri-business'
seems to me to be an oxymoron! Yes, they can give back to the community, but
at what cost? Does that
justify what their basic greed might do?

I think this quote from one of the links that you provided sums it up:

> Tewolde Egziabler, the general manager of the Environmental Protection
> Authority in Ethiopia, one of the world's main coffee producers, told The
> Independent: "There is no shortage of coffee. There's no need for GM coffee.
> It will come about because it gives big companies royalties and complete
> control of the production process." And the big agro-chemical businesses and
> large-scale farmers are most likely to benefit. Western coffee companies,
> such as Nestlé, and retailers will gain from cheaper beans, while the
> consumers are unlikely to benefit.

And I say amen to that!


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