The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


Monsanto Feeling Pressure from the Public

Mandy Adwell at The 9 Billion blog notes that “it has been a rough year for Monsanto, especially in Europe.”

After several countries banned the use of genetically modified seeds and several others banned the use of certain pesticides, the company has announced it will withdraw all pending approval requests for new genetically modified crops in the European Union, due to a lack of prospects for cultivation.
In an interview with Reuters, Monsanto president Jose Manuel Madero cited this as a strategic business move, saying it will allow the company to focus more on conventional seeds such as maize, soybeans, and sugar beets in Europe. It will also maintain the application to renew the approval of MON810 maize, the only GMO crop that is commercially cultivated in parts of Europe. France, Italy, and Germany have all passednational bans on the crop, even though it is still approved by the EU.
Despite recent bans and widespread public opposition to genetically modified crops, the company’s seed business still accounts for more than 98% of its $1.72 billion turnover in Europe.
While this isn’t a drastically huge move that will forever change the food industry, it’s still a sign of the possibility that Monsanto is feeling pressure from the public to change its ways or get out. It will be a long time before we see a positive shift in how it is incorporated into the food industry – if that ever happens – but small steps in our favor are always good news. Maybe the March Against Monsanto back in May did send them a loud message.

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Organic wine making – there’s always more to learn in the game

An ABC local affiliate in Canowindra talks to vintner Sam Statham from Rosna Organic wines about his 2012 NSW Organic Pioneers Award:

Ask any wine maker and they’ll tell you there’s always more to learn in the game.

Given half a chance, who wouldn’t take up an opportunity to visit some of the world’s oldest grape vines and pick the brains of local vignerons in France?

Canowindra farmer Sam Statham from Rosnay Organic Wines has returned from a trip doing just that.

The farmer and his young family just returned from six weeks overseas, part of his winnings from taking out the 2012 NSW Organic Pioneers Award.

“We did bring back our quota of wine, between five of us!”

As for how he won the award, Mr Statham attributed the win to some “fairly unusual things” tried on their farm.

It’s a business that’s been in operation for between fifteen and sixteen years and has worked with neighbouring growers in the region and is part of a group of organic growers.

“Our latest program is using sheep for weed control. Weeds are our biggest issue so we’re aiming to find ways to manage them naturally and with low input.

“These days, you’ve got to reduce your costs and sheep are free labour…I think that might have been a part of it, it’s a technique that’s growing amongst non-organic vignerons as well.