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.
Couldn’t agree more! You articulated the dilemma perfectly. I was a small farmer before retiring. What you say is so true. Then NAFTA came along and destroyed small farmers who were growing non-food items like flowers to attempt to keep the small farm alive. It is a scary future I see for my grandkids.
My hat’s off to you. We’ve sacrificed much on the altar of megacorp profits.
A few years ago a dietician, who is also a vegetarian, recommended I buy hemp protein powder as a way of increasing my protein without eating meat. She warned me, though, that it has a pretty “earthy” flavor. My Google search did not show it having been evaluated as a consumable.
Tilley sells hats made from hemp fibers but they are a Canadian company. I’m somewhat surprised they are allowed to sell them in the US.
An effective way to increase fiber in your diet too, I’ll bet! As to hats, from what I understand, non-food products were never an issue as far as importation goes. Unless you lose a bet and have to eat your hat. 😉
I totally agree. We need to grow hemp and we need to close Monsanto.
I’ve heard CEOs “regretfully” do what is wrong and hide behind their “obligation to the company” or “to the shareholders”. In the end, it’s generically about individuals who perceive themselves as free from any sense of personal moral accountability for the human wreckage they cause, for their own gain or pleasure. That rarely leads to good things, as history and present-day events so often demonstrate.
I can assure you, personally, that the effects of consuming GMO’s and pesticides can be devastating to your heslth. Then too, we may worry about some of the products we are getting from China, however, the fact that they refused our toxic food certainly says a mouthful! Pun intended!
I think that to a large extent, we’re now eating food processed in such a way as to make it more profitable for the producer and distributor. It’s now a chemical mix, usually accomplished to retard decay (improve shelf life) and make it sweeter or saltier. That even goes back to something as simple as growing apples, which are now bred to be both sweeter and much less nutritious than they originally were. Between cancers and mystery ailments, I think it’s also notable that when we manage to market our diets to other countries, they begin to mimic our health issues, ones that were rare before.
I agree with you! It is hard, for me, to find food labeled ‘Organic’ that is actually clean enough for me to eat. So many farms can claim Organic status in this country, legally, but only be growing 75% of their fields organically. Makes you wonder if the ‘Organic’ berries you just bought, are growing right next to the one sprayed with every pesticide known to man!
It is sad to say, but I am finding that I do better on food that comes from overseas. Fortunately, there are still small food co-ops out there, who are doing it right. Plus, I’m, ironically, grateful to report, that some companies have realized there is a market for good organically grown products, and I can find more items in my local grocery store. Interesting, that my local store is, currently, a base commissary. A base that has Green status. Another facet I am grateful for. Many of the bases are “Going Green” as far as their cleaning products are concerned. Again, ironic, but of all the government entities, the military would certainly be more aware of the effects of toxins on our military men and women. Having a safe place to shop, that has the kind of food I need, is wonderful! It is just hard knowing the cost it took to allow me that privilege.
I’m glad you’re near such a place and can get in to loot it, Rachel!