Ecowatch - Frances agriculture ministry temporarily banned the sale, use and cultivation of Monsantos MON 810 genetically engineered cornthe only variety that had been authorized in the European Union. Genetically engineered corn is facing fierce resistant from both French environmentalists and country officials.
The French government, which argues GE crops present environmental risks, kept pushing to institute the new ban even after the countrys highest court struck down similar measures in the past, according to Reuters.
Frances reinstatement of its previous ban of Monsantos controversial genetically engineered crop is another encouraging sign that the biotech industrys iron grip on foreign governments is slipping and that resistance to these flawed products is continuing to take hold, said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now.
The decision was strategically timed to block the seasonal planting of Monsantos corn by French farmers before a draft law is debated on April 10, which is aimed at banning the cultivation of foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Al Jazeera - A New York Times article called Experiencing New Orleans With Fresh Eyes and Ears, published earlier this month, wasnt so different from many articles in the papers travel section: it delved into the culture of a city, surveying the newest and hippest in dining, art and music.
But by touching on some particularly thorny issues currently causing tension within the city namely gentrification and the vegetable most associated with it the piece poured salt on fresh cultural wounds, inspiring a backlash.
I read the article before I went to bed, said Cassi Dymond, owner of Satsuma Cafe, which was mentioned by the newspaper. That was a mistake. It made me clench my fists.
The story, which surveyed how recently arrived creative types are adapting to the citys peculiarities, inevitably aroused anger among many residents over the rapid change taking place in New Orleans. But there was one choice line that seemed especially designed to provoke debate about a hot-button issue of gentrification.
New Orleans is not cosmopolitan, said one actress quoted in the Times piece. Theres no kale here.
The quote has so far inspired no fewer than five op-eds, several think pieces and take-downs on various local blogs, hundreds of tweets and Instagram photos tagged with #KaleGate, and even a tongue-in-cheek plan for novelty kale-flavored beer (its not clear if the beer was actually ever made).
But beyond the online fervor, New Orleans residents say there are real reasons the article made them feel so indignant. They say their anger isnt so much about the kale line, or even the article as a whole, but about a pervasive sense that the power to define New Orleans increasingly lies out of the reach of native New Orleanians.
They say that with each new transplant to the city, and each new article about the citys hipness, its true identity and real issues are swept under the rug in favor of talk of what Loyola University professor C.W. Cannon calls New Orleans exceptionalism the idea that New Orleans is somehow more mystical and primitive than the rest of the U.S.
Cannon and others said the city has a long history of being misperceived as simultaneously an uncultured wasteland and a paradise for creative types who can exploit its sense of otherness for their own gain.
In the process of defining New Orleans from this outsider perspective, New Orleanians say whats often ignored are serious social problems in the city: that its increasingly divided between old and new, between rich and poor, and between those who have access to things like freshly grown vegetables (including kale) and those who dont.
Thats why the kale comment proved particularly controversial: Residents were put in a bind defending the availability of kale, but not wanting to promote the idea that bringing more kale the leafy green of the gentry class, as Tulane professor and frequent commentator on gentrification Richard Campanella calls it is a good thing. kale
Not many New Orleanians want people to stop coming to the city. But many say the way its defined by outsiders virtually guarantees that an important middle ground is being missed.
Few know that better than those on the front lines of both gentrification and poverty in New Orleans.
Independent, UK - Nature has fought back against biotechnology, with rootworms now being able to stomach corn that was genetically modified to poison the pests.
While an awe-inspiring demonstration of nature's endurance, the development could cause billions of dollars worth of damage to US crops.
Named after the pesticidal toxin-producing Bacillus thuringiensis it contains, Bt corn makes up 75% of the US's corn crop, but scientists' predictions that rootworms would evolve to overcome the poison were largely ignored by farmers, companies and regulatory bodies, who have been accused of "squandering the benefits of genetic modification."
In 2012, the average age of principal farm operators was 58.3, up 1.2 years since 2007, with 257,697 farmers 75 or older in 2012, compared to 243,472 in 2007, according to a preliminary report from the Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture, taken every five years. The number of principal farm operators 65 to 74 rose from 412,182 to 443,558, and from 55 to 64 from 596,306 to 608,060, while numbers of those 45-54 dropped by nearly 100,000, and those 35-44 by more than 50,000, continuing a 30-year trend of aging farmers.
Soleil Ho, Bitch Magazine - The phrase food gentrification is a lightning-quick synthesis of complex values and ideas into a compact form. Though it may seem unduly weighed down by its provocative nomenclature and its association with the plagues of coffee shop Columbuses that have descended on places like Brooklyn, Oakland, and New Orleans, gentrifications original meaning holds true: it represents renovation, refurbishing, rebrandingand, some would add, rebirthseemingly for the purpose of accommodating WASP tastes. At times, food gentrification and neighborhood gentrification can be seen to work in tandem, as in cases where community gardens have attracted wealthier residents to working class neighborhoods. Whether its the fetishization of hole-in-the-wall restaurants, twerking, or Sriracha, the gentrification cycle has birthed the momentary relevance of countless ideas and materials. Their blip on the mainstream radar is at once both novel and tragic; typecast Cuban groceries and Korean BBQ joints function as both pawn and king in the game of conspicuous consumption that manifests through venues ranging from Instagram to the Academy Awards.
Ecowatch - Pesticides used on agricultural land appear to be the main cause of declining sperm counts among men in France, according to a recent study published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction. Until better protections are in place, anti-pesticide experts suggest supporting organic agriculture as a method of avoiding exposure to these dangerous chemicals.
Until better protections are in place, anti-pesticide experts suggest supporting organic agriculture as a method of avoiding exposure to these dangerous chemicals.
The study, which first published its findings in 2012 and has now been refined, found that sperm counts across France had plummeted 30 percent in 16 years, and noted those living in mainly rural regions of southwest France had been most affected, reports ConnexionFrances English-language newspaper.
The affected regions, Aquitaine, Burgandy and Midi-Pyrenees, contain the highest concentration of farms in the country and subsequently rely heavily on agriculture for their economies.
The findings coincide with a recent development where the use of pesticides were blamed for variations in the quality of water in France, with rural areas again the most affected
Environmental News Network - The two largest grocery stores in the United States, Kroger and Safeway, have promised to not sell GMO salmon. Over 9,000 stores nationwide have now committed to being free of the controversial fish.
Kroger, the US's leading grocery chain with 2,424 stores, informed Friends of the Earth of its decision in an email from Keith Dailey, director of media relations at Kroger.
"Should genetically engineered salmon be approved, Kroger has no intention of sourcing it", Dailey wrote.