Just Some Common Sense
While waiting impatiently for the medical bureaucracy to do its thing, I recently stumbled over a worthwhile video sponsored by Patagonia, an unusual clothing company. We spend many millions of dollars each year for products, mostly from China, which include hemp, a very useful fiber that needs nothing but decent soil and water to grow. Between its fiber and seed oil, it’s pretty useful. It enriches the soil with each crop too, so fertilizers and pesticides are unnecessary. It used to be a staple crop in the U.S. – the cash crop, bigger than corn and wheat combined – and production was ramped up further in WWII. Then, since the War on Drugs, the Feds made it illegal to grow or sell, since it could not acknowledge any development in the field and so won’t accept any difference between what is now called Industrial Hemp and Marijuana. Thing is, industrial hemp was specifically developed to make it useless for drug production. You can smoke industrial hemp until you get sick, but that’s all you’ll get out of it. It’s now a staple, profitable crop – elsewhere.
There’s a movement afoot now to change Federal law to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp, because it represents a stable and reliable cash crop that allows small-acreage farmers to raise a crop that is simple and inexpensive to grow. Some 29 states now allow it on an experimental “research” basis, but farmers have had to run through the court system to keep the Drug Enforcement Administration from threatening arrest. The current practical difficulty is that the fibers and seeds need processing to be useful, and that infrastructure was wiped out long ago. That’s the challenge, once you rise above just a few acres of the crop. All that we now use in making our own lotions, fabrics and food is grown and processed overseas. The DEA even banned the importation of them for food products, but was beaten back in court.
[- begin rant-] My only concern is that outfits like Monsanto will get interested, create and patent a GMO variant, and view the original forms as competition. Then they’ll do what they’ve done in Canada: when passing trucks of their products spill seeds along the edge of an ordinary farmer’s fields, they send out agents to hop the fence and take samples. Then they extort the farmer with threats to pay up for the privilege of growing the unwanted and accidental contamination, per total acreage. No pay, no play. They go to court to take ownership of the farm and eliminate the competition. Absurd, you say? The Canadian high court ruled that even though the contamination was an incident specifically unwanted by the farmer, and was an accident that involved no negligence or participation on his part, his family had to pack up and walk away from its farm for using Monsanto’s patented products without paying, however unintentional his “use” was. From what little I understand, this and other types of contamination are an ongoing problem for growers in the U.S. as well.
Farmers in the plains states are encouraged to like GMO crops because of higher yields; they can cut insect damage by soaking them in quantities of pesticides that would cripple plain crops. GMO crops are able to thrive despite the high chemical toxicity, and that is their sole superiority. What it does to you, well…who really cares? The chemicos instantly double their production, the seed companies own the only plant versions that can survive the toxicity, and the corporate veil and stockholder dividends make it all okay. Their job is to maximize profits by any means necessary – and that’s how they view it. The chemical and processed food industry doesn’t lobby our government to ignore the unresearched health effects and package ingredients labeling for nothing. Not so, in Europe. Yet these same plains states GMO growers are prodded to become incensed and get all patriotic up in here when ignorant backward commie nations like China have the gall to turn back our boats loaded with GMO crops after we try to slide them in unannounced and unidentified as such. The betrayer is the high poison residue.
Meanwhile, the chemicos sponsor “grassroots” radio campaigns en masse to convince these farmers that they are right and just patriots, and that they should demand that our legislators threaten these hostile anti-American belligerents to take our crops as foods, whether they like it or not. If they don’t like hormones, cannibalistically-fed plant-eating critters, or poisons where long term effects are completely unknown, that’s their problem. Aside from the cancers, autoimmune problems, and other mystery ailments ramping up here, they’re plenty good enough for us citizen patriots. If they won’t buy our American-Grown crops, we should find a way to “persuade” them to, for the sake of Our National Interests and on behalf of hardworking American Farmers. I’ve listened to a constant string of these carefully-scripted ads as I’ve driven cross-country through Nebraska and Iowa, and they seem to replay every 20 minutes. Seriously. Who can afford that kind of media blitz?
Now, industrial hemp isn’t a big food crop, but allowing the patenting of genetics (and software) still allows bigcorps to run rampant with cleated shoes. I can visualize big outfits like Monsanto and DuPont (plastic-based fibers) as wishing to squelch and/or control industrial hemp once it registers on their radar as a threat/opportunity. If or when the DEA is defanged on this one issue, I see the the Machiavellian machinations of the industrial giants as the next potential hurdle. “All your industrial hemp are belong to us.” But that’s just me. Too many decades of coming across news stories that unintentionally develop some haunting questions, as both corporations and governments try their best to keep secrets and divert attention toward highly emotional problems with “solutions” that have truly miserable track records. Follow the money. [-end rant-]
I could lay the whole industrial hemp background story on you, but here’s a more engaging 13-minute video that waves the flag a bit much in selling the industrial hemp idea, but not without just cause.