What are open-source seeds? Why are open-source seeds important?

Perhaps you have heard the term open-source. Maybe you heard about it within the context of software and technology as the open-source movement originated within the software development community as a means to encourage innovation and knowledge sharing. As such, the open-source concept is best-known within the technological paradigm. However, the essence of open-source can be applicable across practically all fields and sectors. 

At the most basic level, open-source means that a technology or process is made freely available for modification and redistribution. It is common practice for one or more individuals or groups to work together to develop and refine the technology. Such distribution and organizational structures are in contrast to presently common economic models where a single entity works to create a product or process and retains exclusive ownership of the output (although the right to use the product or process can be sold). 

The characteristic of allowing participants to edit and change open-source products is also contrary to conventional production practices. In a sense, this suggests that open-source products belong not to one single entity or person but to the wider community that has contributed to the realization of that product. This organizational structure contrasts common economic standards where property rights are clearly defined (which helps to clarify the principal-agent dilemma). 

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New York to Track Residents’ Food Purchases and Place “Caps on Meat” Served by Public Institutions

New York City will begin tracking the carbon footprint of household food consumption and putting caps on how much red meat can be served in public institutions as part of a sweeping initiative to achieve a 33% reduction in carbon emissions from food by 2030.

Mayor Eric Adams and representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy and Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice announced the new programs last month at a Brooklyn culinary center run by NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public healthcare system, just before Earth Day.

At the event, the Mayor’s Office -f Climate & Environmental Justice shared a new chart to be included in the city’s annual greenhouse gas inventory that publicly tracks the carbon footprint created by household food consumption, the Gothamist reported.

The city already produced emissions data from energy use, transportation and waste as part of the annual inventory. But the addition of household food consumption data is part of a partnership that London and New York launched with American Express, C40 Cities and EcoData lab, Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection announced at the event.

Aggarwala — who founded Google smart city subsidiary Sidewalk Labs — celebrated the expanded data collection as forging “a new standard for what cities have to do” and a new way to shape policy.

He said the inventory also will measure greenhouse gas pollution from the production and consumption of other consumer goods like apparel, whether or not those items are made in New York City. It also tracks emissions tied to services like air travel and healthcare.

But Adams’ presentation at the event focused on food consumption, particularly meat and dairy.

“Food is the third-biggest source of cities’ emissions right after buildings and transportation,” Adams said. “But all food is not created equal. The vast majority of food that is contributing to our emission crises lies in meat and dairy products.”

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NYC will target food choices in its battle against climate change

The Adams administration has announced a plan to begin tracking the carbon footprint created by household food consumption as well as a new target for New York City agencies to reduce their food-based emissions by 33% by the year 2023.

Mayor Eric Adams announced the plan on Monday along with the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice as part of the city’s ongoing pledge to reduce the impact of climate change. At the same event, the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice published a new chart in the city’s annual greenhouse gas inventory that publicly tracks the carbon footprint created by household food consumption — primarily generated by meat and dairy products.

The new analysis is a spin on the emissions data that comes standard with the annual inventory. It was made through a partnership with American Express, C40 Cities and EcoData lab.

Adams, an ardent evangelist of plant-based diets, announced the new tracker and policy at a Brooklyn culinary center run by Health + Hospitals, the city’s public health care system.

“It is easy to talk about emissions that are coming from vehicles and how it impacts our carbon footprint,“ Adams said. “But we now have to talk about beef.”

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September 12, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an “Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe and Secure American Bioeconomy.”1

This executive order makes biotechnology a national priority across agencies and branches of government. As noted in this order, biotechnology will also be used to “improve” food security, sustainability, and agricultural innovation in the U.S.:

“The Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the heads of appropriate agencies as determined by the Secretary, shall submit a report assessing how to use biotechnology and biomanufacturing for food and agriculture innovation, including by improving sustainability and land conservation; increasing food quality and nutrition; increasing and protecting agricultural yields; protecting against plant and animal pests and diseases; and cultivating alternative food sources.”

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The toxic world of GM crops

The biotech industry promised genetically engineered foods would reduce pesticide use, increase the nutritional content of food, boost farmers’ profits and feed the world by increasing yields.

In reality, GM crops have turned glyphosate into one of the most widely and recklessly used herbicides in history and monoculture has led to a loss of biodiversity.

GM crops have also failed to live up to expected increases in crop yields and, nutritionally, GMOs primarily provide cheap, unhealthy ingredients for ultra-processed ready meals, pre-packaged foods and fast-food restaurants.

More than 40,000 people in the US have filed lawsuits alleging exposure to Roundup is the cause of their cancer. Once a rare cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is now the seventh most common cancer in US men and women.

The agricultural biotech industry continues to advance with a new suite of genetic engineering technologies known as gene editing, which includes techniques such as CRISPR as well as synthetic biology and gene drives.

Promises, promises, promises. The toxic world of genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”) and industrial agriculture is built on false promises. For nearly 30 years we have been listening to the propaganda of big biotech companies like Monsanto/Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont/Pioneer, BASF and others about how genetic engineering will transform farming and food production.

We’ve heard how it will reduce the environmental impact of farming by lowering pesticide use. We’ve been promised that it will increase the nutritional content of food. We’ve been told how it will boost farmers’ profits by increasing yields, and that those increased yields will help “feed the world.”

As the problem of man-made climate change has moved to the top of the global agenda, new promises have emerged about how GMOs will fight climate change and how genetic engineering will make plants more resilient to drought and flooding. The huckster promises keep on coming, but what has the biotech industry actually delivered over nearly three decades?

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‘The Government Is Trying To Kill Us Now’: Low-Income Americans Wait in 9-hour Long Food Lines as Pandemic Benefits End

Over the past year, 18 US states have officially ended pandemic-era states of emergency – including the covid food benefit, while a December mandate from Congress will end aid in March for the other 32 states, along with the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands and Guam.

The collective return to pre-pandemic policies includes enhanced unemployment benefits and child tax credits, as well as a rollback adjustment to Medicaid that boosted enrollment.

Now, people are waiting up to nine hours in mile-long lines for free food – some of whom say they can only afford to eat once per day, while others say they limit expensive food items such as meat for specific family members, such as growing teenage boys.”

I thought, ‘Wow, the government is trying to kill us now,” said 63-year-old Danny Blair of Kentucky. Blair, who lives in a mobile home with his wife, survives on his Social Security disability check, the Washington Post reports.

“They are going to starve us out,” Blair continued, apparently unaware that government assistance provided during the pandemic wasn’t permanent.

Blair and his wife hop into their truck twice a month at 4 a.m. to ensure they get a few staples at the Hazel Green Food Project’s giveaway. On a recent Friday, they waited nine hours until local prisoners on work duty started loading bags of meat and vegetables, potato chips and cookies into vehicles in one of the nation’s most impoverished communities.

From the front to the back of the line, the sea of despair and hardship along this desolate Kentucky highway foreshadowed what may be in store for millions of Americans as the federal government ended the remaining pandemic increase in monthly food stamp benefits this week. -WaPo

As the Post frames it, the pullback of pandemic-related aid could pose a setback to the Biden administration’s efforts to ‘slash poverty’ while building a ‘healthier and more sustainable middle class’ – none of which were the stated goals of the temporary aid.”

We saw positive benefits from this and less hardship, including for families with children,” said Dottie Rosenbaum, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who points out that all the free money helped reduce childhood poverty rates in 2021. “We can expect that to reverse now.”

Following the reduction in benefits, the average SNAP recipient’s benefits are expected to drop by around $90 per month, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That said, an even greater reduction is in store for seniors and the working poor who receive assistance from other government programs, and will likely qualify for less.

In Kentucky, many seniors on food stamps saw their monthly benefit drop from $281 to $22 last year after the state ended the pandemic emergency in May, according to local food bank network, Feeding Kentucky.

Other states are preparing for the same

We are bracing, and our agencies, member food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens are not prepared for what is about to hit them,” Said Ohio Association of Foodbanks executive director, Lisa Hamler-Fugitt. “This reduction, and end of the public health emergency, could not be coming at a worse time.”

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Countless Americans Plunge Into Despair As Hunger Spreads Like Wildfire All Across America

We haven’t seen anything like this in a long time.  A couple of factors are combining to push millions of Americans into a state of food insecurity.  First of all, food prices have been rising aggressively throughout the past year, and so our money does not go nearly as far as it once did.  Meanwhile, food stamp benefits are being slashed.  The federal government had greatly enhanced food stamp benefits for many Americans during the pandemic, but now that emergency program is coming to an end.  So what this means is that many Americans are going to have very little money to spend on food at a time when economic conditions are starting to get really rough.

The Washington Post recently sent a reporter named Tim Craig to Kentucky, and he discovered that poor people are waiting in “a mile-long line” just to get some free food…

As he claimed the first spot in a mile-long line for free food in the Appalachian foothills, Danny Blair vividly recalled receiving the letter announcing that his pandemic-era benefit to help buy groceries was about to be slashed.

Kentucky lawmakers had voted to end the state’s health emergency last spring, by default cutting food stamp benefits created to help vulnerable Americans like Blair weather the worst of covid-19. Instead of $200 a month, he would get just $30.

Blair actually gets up at 4 AM in the morning so that he can be first in line for these handouts.

On the Friday that the reporter from the Washington Post interviewed him, he ended up staying in that line for nine hours.

I couldn’t imagine waiting in line for that long, but Blair feels like this is what he and his wife must do in order to survive

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‘We Could Eat Malignant Chicken Tumors by the Bucket Load’ – Lab Grown Meat’s Impending CANCER Problem.

Lab-grown meat, touted as the “cruelty-free” food of the future by everyone from the World Economic Forum to Hollywood mega-celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio, may have a fatal problem, according to a new Bloomberg story.

The problem is that the materials used to make the product – “immortalized cell lines” – replicate forever, just like cancer. Which means, in effect, that they are cancer. Although these cell lines are widely used in scientific research, they’ve never been used to produce food before.

“Immortalized cells are a staple of medical research, but they are, technically speaking, precancerous and can be, in some cases, fully cancerous… [but d]on’t worry: Prominent cancer researchers tell Bloomberg Businessweek that because the cells aren’t human, it’s essentially impossible for people who eat them to get cancer from them, or for the precancerous or cancerous cells to replicate inside people at all.”

– Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Industry types are “confident” that eating such products poses no risk – although there isn’t any hard data – but it’s not difficult to see, even if the products are “proven” safe, how people might be put off by the thought they’re eating a glorified tumor.

All the evidence suggests that the most prominent producers of these new products – including the “Big Three” startups, Believer Meat, Eat Just and Upside Foods – are doing their best to avoid confronting the issue in public. But whether they’ll be able to keep do so after this latest blast of high-profile negative publicity, remains to be seen.

The story comes at a time of growing difficulty for new alternatives to traditional animal products, especially so-called “plant-based meats”.

At the beginning of the month, we reported on the ongoing problems faced by Impossible Foods, which is laying off 20 percent of its workforce, or nearly 140 staff.

Plant-based meats have gone from double-digit growth to double-digit decline in the last year, with sales of refrigerated meat alternatives falling by 10.5 percent for the year to September 4 2022.

In response to another cover story from Bloomberg Businessweek, which labelled plant-based meats “just another fad”, Impossible took the bold step of taking out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times to counter the claims. Impossible’s new CEO, Peter McGuiness has put the company in a more confrontational stance, which includes denying the mounting evidence that his company, and others like it, are in serious trouble.

Beyond Meat, by contrast, has barely even been able to put on a brave face. Shares in the company plunged 75 percent in the first three quarters of the last year, and its flagship pilot collaboration with McDonald’s, the “McPlant Burger”, was discontinued by the fast-food giant.

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Popular Small Health Food Companies We Trusted That Sold Out

The more we know about who owns and controls our food, the more we can support trustworthy companies. 

“Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.” This famous quote by Henry Kissinger is ringing more and more true by the week. 

When our children were young (1991-2005), these wonderful (often family-owned) health food companies were often my go-to because I trusted them and the ingredients. So their sell-outs came as quite a surprise. Healthy, environmentally-aware brands have seen huge sales growth in recent years, and big names like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, and General Mills all want a piece of the action.

These alternatives cost more but people were willing to pay, in large part because they saw these brands as being smaller, healthier, more responsible choices.

A lot of these “niche” companies are now owned by the very corporations many shoppers are trying to avoid.

As experts like Philip Howard at Michigan State University have stated, big companies tend to tinker with formulas to make them easier to mass-produce and cheaper.

Here are some natural and organic brands that have gone “mega-corporate” in recent years.

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Canadian Government Forces Dairy Farmer to Dump 30,000 Liters of Milk Because He Exceeded His Quota

A dairy farmer from Southern Ontario, Canada has spoken out about how the Canadian government makes farms dump thousands of liters of fresh milk because they have gone over the quota.

In a video shared on TikTok by Travis Huigen, Canadian dairy farmer Jerry Human expresses his outrage at the Canadian government and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) for wasting hundreds of liters of fresh milk despite inflation.

“Right now, during the winter months, you milk quite a bit more milk because the feed is very consistent. And if you do a good job, you will produce quite a bit of milk. But right now, we’re over our quota, and it’s regulated by the government, and [implemented] by the DFO,” said Human.

“Look at this milk running away. It’s the end of the month [and] I dump 30,000 liters of milk and it breaks my heart. This year Canadian milk is $7 a liter.”

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