Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser spent decades maintaining and improving his canola crop as farmers have done for millennia — selecting the strongest plants, saving their seeds, and replanting them the following season. One August day in 1998, however, Schmeiser received a letter from Monsanto lawyers informing him he was being sued for patent violation: the company’s “Roundup Ready” canola, a genetically engineered canola that altered the plant’s genes to make it resistant to Roundup herbicide, had been found in Percy’s fields.

As the farm advocacy organization GRAIN explains, “Canadian farmers have a long and strong tradition of seed saving, especially…

Photo: Sacred Stone Camp via Daily Kos

These past few weeks, we have witnessed militarized police actions against the peoples of Wet’suwet’en to make way for fracked gas pipelines across Canada. Dozens of solidarity road and railway blockades have been erected in support of the land defenders and Indigenous self-determination. As these struggles unfold, they evoke the memory of Standing Rock — and the many battles to protect Native lands and sacred sites throughout Turtle Island (North America) and beyond.

Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s new book, As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock provides excellent context for understanding the inseparable…

Late last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its most alarming report to date. It concluded that we have as few as 11 years to make massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if we want to prevent all out climate catastrophe: even stronger storms, more erratic weather, dangerous heat waves, and rising seas that would devastate infrastructure and communities around the world. Of course, the climate crisis is already affecting our food and farming systems. …

Photo by Eli Duke/Flickr

We’ve been hearing a lot about Mexico, immigration, and trade policies in the news recently. At the same time, there seems to be a boom in the appreciation for Mexican cuisine with celebrity chefs and upscale restaurants praising the art of traditional Mexican peasant foods like the humble tortilla. But for a lot of Mexicans, tortillas and other traditional foods have actually been replaced by processed foods, leading to a national health crisis. For author Alyshia Gálvez, this paradox is not a coincidence. It’s the logical outcome of policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement, also known as NAFTA.

Flooding of factory farms in North Carolina after Hurricane Florence. Photo by Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance/Flickr

“These disasters drag into the light exactly who is already being thrown away.”

—Naomi Klein, in a tweet about Hurricane Florence

A Tale of Two Hurricanes

In 1831, a powerful hurricane devastated the island of Barbados. Eyewitness accounts reported a “deluge of rain opening huge chasms in the ground which swallowed their livestock whole.” The island suffered massive economic losses and 1,787 reported deaths, most of whom were slaves on sugarcane plantations. Three years later, another hurricane of similar magnitude swept through the Caribbean, this time pummeling the island of Dominica. …

Fabián Tomasi, photographed by Pablo Piovano in Basavilbaso, Entre Ríos province, Argentina, 2014.

Argentine farmworker and outspoken advocate against agrochemicals Fabián Tomasi passed away last week, leaving behind a defiant call to action

The historic victory last month in the case of Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto reverberated around the world. It confirmed what, sadly, hundreds of thousands of people already knew: the chemicals we apply to kill weeds and pests are killing us, too. Perhaps no country knows this better than Argentina.

After Monsanto’s (now owned by Bayer) Roundup Ready soybeans were introduced to the country in 1996, the crop took over. Along with parts of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia it is…

Tanya Kerssen

Food systems writer & researcher. Co-director of @realfoodmedia. Author of Grabbing Power: The New Struggles for Land, Food, and Democracy in Northern Honduras.

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