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  • Leland Lehrman
    Mother Seed Bulletin #3 Mother Seed develops Ecological Agriculture and Sustainable Settlement Assistance Strategies for Nations in Crisis. In particular we
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2003
      Mother Seed Bulletin #3

      Mother Seed develops Ecological Agriculture and Sustainable Settlement
      Assistance Strategies for Nations in Crisis. In particular we focus on those
      areas where US and Western military foreign policy has recently caused major
      damage and polarized the population. Mother Seed maintains that ecological
      humanitarian assistance is the key to creating long-term peaceful
      relationships with people who might otherwise feel that the US and the West
      are just monolithic, dispassionate military-industrial machines against
      which terrorism is justified. Mother Seed salutes the natural farming
      pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka, who recently sent six thousand pounds of seed to

      1. International Agriculture and Humanitarian Assistance News
      2. Mother Seed First Project Description:
      One thousand pounds of organic wheat seed for Afghanistan and a deep
      diversity kitchen garden collection.
      3. Mother Seed's Motivation
      4. Mother Seed Administrative Issues and Fundraising.
      5. Thanks to Friends of Mother Seed
      6. Reasons to avoid Genetically Engineered Food

      (In compliance with the law, please reply with "unsubscribe" if you do not
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      one of you was *individually* selected by Mother Seed to receive this
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      sourcing personal contacts and publicly available email addresses in print
      and online, collected over the past six months.)

      1. International News

      a. New Director of Iraqi Agriculture Restoration proposes disrespectful
      non-local agribusiness strategy:


      "Daniel Amstutz, an ex-Cargill executive, is there to push the
      agribusiness agenda, not a democratic agenda," says George Naylor, president
      of the National Family Farm Coalition. "He will excel in telling the world
      that his policy is good for farmers, consumers and the environment when just
      the opposite is true..."

      b. OXFAM protests Starlink and genetically engineered grain dumping into
      the world food aid pool:


      "ROME: June 12, 2002: Oxfam supports the concerns expressed by a number
      of its partners who demand a moratorium on GMOs and the improved enforcement
      of monitoring systems to stop GMOs from entering vulnerable populations
      through food aid..."

      These two articles demonstrate Mother Seed's contention that there is a
      huge gap in humanitarian assistance strategies where organic food and
      ecological agriculture support should be. Agribusiness and GE food,
      demonstrably unhealthy at times, unsustainable, and largely inapplicable in
      developing nations should at the very least be complemented by organic food
      aid and an ecologically sound, local-focused agriculture reconstruction

      c. Mother Seed has joined Stephen Fox in calling for a UN
      Undersecretary for Nutrition to help screen humanitarian food assistance for
      dangerous food additives and GE ingredients worldwide.

      For current information on GE foods and their hazards please visit


      Their recent newsletter is extremely worthwhile:


      2. Mother Seed's first big project:

      One thousand pounds (approximately 450 kilos) of organic wheat seed
      for Afghanistan and a deep diversity kitchen garden collection.

      Mother Seed chose wheat for it is the traditional standard staple of
      Afghanistan (personally confirmed by native Afghan Ali Sherzad - see below)
      and because due to the recent war and drought, many Afghans ate their own
      seed wheat. The grain they receive from humanitarian assistance efforts may
      be genetically engineered, chemically dependent or infertile (not savable
      from year to year). One thousand pounds was chosen because it is enough to
      serve a good number of farmers and establish a large-scale politically
      sensitive and intelligent logistics and supply chain, but is still
      affordable to source and distribute.

      a. Our First Source: Agriculture Bioneer and Director of the Leopold
      Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State Fred Kirschenmann's 3100
      acre North Dakota farm. Mr. Kirschenmann recently agreed to donate his own
      biodynamic (organic +) seed, however, further correspondence with
      agriculture professionals in Afghanistan indicates that North Dakota wheat
      may not be the most appropriate variety for planting. Mother Seed is
      working to find additional seed sources, in particular here in New Mexico,
      where the latitude, altitude and rainfall levels are similar to
      Mother Seed is hoping to ship our seed along with shipments sponsored
      by OXFAM, CARE or other agencies in order to minimize costs. All wheat seed
      destined for planting goes through a one year trial period under the
      auspices of the UN's very successful Food and Agriculture Organization
      (Wheat Multiplication Program). It is to this organization that we hope to
      send our first shipment. Mother Seed is waiting to hear from Mr.
      Kirschenmann regarding our hopes that his wheat, if not appropriate for
      planting, may be sent into the food aid stream, where it will be a tasty and
      nutritious change of pace for needy Afghan families.

      b. Ali Sherzad, member of the former Afghan royal family and son of the
      former ambassador to Italy has agreed to donate his time and contacts to the
      project, and to facilitate distribution.

      c. George Stevens and Tim Peters, leading lights in the independent
      organic seed business will also contribute diverse food crop seed to the
      shipment along with Plants of the Southwest.

      d. We are looking for other seed donors / ecological agriculture /
      sustainable settlement product partners to add to the shipment. Please let
      us know if you can help or know someone who might.

      3. Mother Seed's Motivation

      Ever since the appalling disaster known as 9-11, a fitting symbol for
      emergency, I have devoted considerable thought to methods of defusing
      world tensions. At the top of my list, drawing on my deeply-felt belief that
      ecological agriculture and sustainable settlement is the root of human
      health and happiness, I determined that it was essential to begin a
      campaign to provide ecological agriculture and settlement information,
      resources, and missionaries from the developed nations to those nations that
      have recently borne the brunt of American military and expansionistic
      foreign policy.

      Pitifully small allocations for agricultural infrastructure restoration
      in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq, direct targeting of same during recent
      wars and appalling drought in Afghanistan has left once prosperous countries
      in ruins, conditions where terrorism and anti-Americanism will flourish.

      Peace-loving people in the West have no excuse not to mobilise the
      increasing power of modern organic agriculture, ecological tools for
      toxics remediation and sustainable settlement design in the service of
      countries which have recently borne the burden of the warfare that is the
      other, less praiseworthy offspring of the developed nations.

      In my opinion, ecological restoration, beginning with staples farming is
      the number one long-term stability-creating tool we have available to us. As
      I imagine the mind and feelings of Afghanis, Palestinians and Iraqis,
      swarming with resentment at the destruction of their countries, the modern
      military enclaves with airlifted food, bulldozed fields and bombed
      irrigation facilities, I feel compelled to do all in my power to put the
      extensive and growing field of organics, natural products and ecology to
      work for these people. I see in my mind's eye the farmer receiving new seed
      and irrigation supplies, the widow head of household a sack of organic grain
      and some organic specialty items, a dedicated organic missionary with a
      month-long mandate to assist and report back needs and directions for
      improvement. And I get the feeling that perhaps only this type of long-term
      dedication to the ecological restoration of devastated communities can
      provide enough peace and hope to mitigate the vengeful emotions of hatred
      and resentment which breed in the refugee settlements and remnants of
      war-torn nations.

      When I learned of the 3 billion dollars in military assistance that the
      US provides Israel, I was left with the nagging question of what 3 billion
      dollars of humanitarian, ecological and farming-focused assistance could do
      for the Middle East. My feeling that it could reverse the war and hatred in
      a relatively short time left me with no option but to try.

      In some places, Afghans have had to eat their seed wheat crop and are in
      desperate need of good quality seed to restart their agriculture. Western
      humanitarian assistance often foists genetically engineered foodstuffs and
      agriculture on the most needy populations, an error and tragedy of
      near-criminal proportions. May I repeat: there is no excuse for not
      involving the rapidly maturing organic industry in humanitarian agriculture
      and food assistance worldwide. It is time that the movement, now firmly
      successful in the marketplace, went from being beneficial to the places in
      which it has developed to being beneficial for the entire world, in
      particular with regards to a role in basic food assistance, where its
      current absence is no longer defendable.

      Mother Seed fully intends to increase the scope of the project (Iraq,
      Palestine, Chechnya, Africa, Minority America) as it becomes possible.

      4. Mother Seed Administrative Issues and Fundraising:


      Mother Seed will apply for umbrella 501(c)3 status under a related
      organization until such time as she can incorporate herself as a non-profit.
      Unfortunately, neither the Bioneers nor Ecoversity were able to offer the
      capability due to accounting difficulties and general overextension. If
      anyone knows of a non-profit that would willingly work with Mother Seed to
      provide 501(c)3 status for the project, please let us know. With official
      501(c)3 status, we can appeal to larger donors and grant agencies who need
      to make certifiably tax-free gifts.

      We are also pleased to announce our first Board Member, Elizabeth Walker
      of New Haven, CT. Elizabeth is an accomplished actress, director, writer,
      visionary artist and spiritual activist whose achievements include a key
      role in getting Yale University's several billion dollar endowment fund to
      divest from South Africa during the apartheid protests. Welcome, Elizabeth!

      Mother Seed is still looking for individuals to sit on the Board of
      Directors and the Board of Advisors. Neither position will be very
      time-consuming, though a Director will by law be expected to vote on key
      issues and participate in the future incorporation of the organization. If
      you have ANY INTEREST AT ALL, please step forward.


      Mother Seed is raising money for the following items: shipping costs for
      seed, communications capability, additional needs assessment research,
      additional organic food, seed and equipment, natural building supplies and
      expert travel to the regions.

      Largely in response to Emily Watts' intelligent comment encouraging
      Mother Seed to offer gifts relevant to the cause to new subscribers, Mother
      Seed has changed the gift ideas for new subscribers to the following:
      (Anyone who has a related item they would like to make available to Mother
      Seed's promotional toolkit is encouraged to do so.)

      1. Mother's Helper: for $30 choose from:

      a. Five packets of seed from either George Stevens of Synergy Seeds;
      http://synergyseeds.com or Tim Peters of Peters Seed and Research;
      http://www.petersseed.com .

      b. A copy of the Bioneers CD: "Wisdom at the End of a Hoe: Voices
      for an Ecological Farming Future"

      c. Five seedballs with the Fukuoka Diversity seed mix in them, the
      recipe and background info on the use of seedballs in food cropping and
      desert restoration.

      2. Mother Figure: for $50 choose from:

      a. A copy of (out of print in America) natural farming visionary
      Masanobu Fukuoka's books The One Straw Revolution, The Natural Way of
      Farming or The Road Back to Nature
      b. The seeds, seedballs or CD
      c. A bottle of Wildcrafted Tehama Gold California Olive Oil.
      d. A handmade pillow / yoga cushion from organic cotton and
      buckwheat hulls

      3. Mother's Love: for $100 or more choose any two of the above.

      4. If you cannot afford $30 but would like to contribute a smaller
      amount or something non-monetary, please let us know. Depending on the
      amount we may have something we can afford to send you as thanks. In
      particular at the moment we need communications ability, for example,
      calling card minutes are as good as cash.

      Please send check or money order made payable to 'Mother Seed' to:

      Mother Seed
      c/o Watts
      1203 1/2 Agua Fria
      Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
      ph: 505.699.6709 care of the Ojito Organic Farm

      5. Mother Seed would like to give thanks to the following organizations and
      individuals for their support and kindness:

      a. The Bioneers and their 2003 conference. The Bioneers are creating
      perhaps the most valuable ecological and social change network in the world
      and Mother Seed would like to thank and salute them: http://bioneers.org

      "It is Bioneers mission to spread public awareness of existing
      solutions, to develop model programs and strategies, and to enhance the
      connectivity and capacity for collaboration among constituencies working
      toward common goals of progressive ecological and social change."

      b. Santa Fe Hemp which demonstrates that ecological business and
      progressive politics can be successful in the marketplace;

      c. Emily and Jasper Watts, for sheltering Mother Seed from the storm.

      d. The Permaculture Credit Union for being the financial institution for
      an ecological future; http://www.pcuonline.org

      e. Ecoversity for being a school Mother Seed wants to attend:

      f. The Citizens of Eco Seco for nurturing Mother Seed and watering her
      when she dried out.

      g. Robert Hayes of Straw Revolution; http://strawrevolution.com , for
      sourcing the Fukuoka books from the other side of the world and sustaining
      Mother Seed during germination

      h. Plants of the Southwest; http://www.plantsofthesouthwest.com for
      outstanding service to the Permaculture community in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

      i. Ojito, Moon Baby Farm, Mr. G, One Straw Farm, Don Bustos, Gemini Farm
      and the rest of the folks at the Farmer's Market for proving that the best
      food is locally grown.

      j. Homegrown Enterprises, Susie, Lee and Nakiah for their kindness and
      the best Olive Oil in the world; http://tehamagold.com , Steve and Melissa,
      Apple and Brighty for being the best of friends, City Repair and Mark
      Lakeman for the new vision of public space; http://cityrepair.org and
      countless others who have inspired and made Mother Seed possible.

      k. My family for a type of support like no other.

      6. In response to a request from Stephen Fox for a listing of top reasons to
      avoid GE food, Mother Seed prepared the following public service report:
      (Please also see the greenpeace.org and organicconsumers.org reports for
      more details.)

      Evidence of GE food dangers:

      1. Deaths related to GE L-tryptophan:

      "In 1990 in the US, about 1500 people fell ill and 27 died after consuming
      L-tryptophan.a food additive.(produced using) genetically engineered
      Bacillus amyloliquefaciens... The tests revealed that L-tryptophan, while
      not itself toxic, was damaging the pancreas. The problem was traced to a
      chemical called EBT, which was formed when acetaldehyde, commonly produced
      when alcohol oxidises, reacted with L-tryptophan. Although L-tryptophan is a
      natural amino acid, it is present in the body as part of larger proteins."

      From Tending the Earth, by Winin Pereira page 53.

      2. Allergic reactions to Starlink corn:

      "Despite the Scientific Advisory Panel's (SAP) recommendation to widen the
      scope of the investigation, FDA chose to ignore hundreds of consumers who
      reported allergic reactions to corn products that may contain StarLink.
      These reports were unearthed from FDA and EPA documents obtained by
      Genetically Engineered Food Alert. In one report, 210 consumers blamed corn
      for allergic reactions, 74 visited doctors, while 20 more had to seek
      emergency care."

      From Genetically Engineered Food Alert press release:

      3. Genetic uniformity leads to unforesen crop failure:

      "In 1970-1971, the United States experienced a maize blight epidemic, which
      laid waste to 15 percent of the nation's crop, because of genetic
      uniformity. Eight percent of the hybrid maize in the United States in 1970
      was derived from a single, sterile male line and contained T. Cytoplasm,
      which made the plnats vulnerable to the maize blight fungus Helminthosporum
      maydis. Plant breeders and seed companies used T. cytoplasm only because it
      fostered quick profitable production of high-yielding corn seed."

      From Biopiracy, by Vandana Shiva, page 91.

      4. GE crops can induce antibiotic resistance:

      "Genetic engineers use antibiotic marker genes to help them transfer genetic
      coding from one life-form to another. But some scientists worry that this
      process could compound the already serious problem of antibiotic resistance.
      Government scientists in Britain warn that the widespread use of antibiotic
      resistance marker genes in genetically modified foods could render
      established medical treatments for such infections as meningitis and
      gonorrhea ineffective."

      From Organic Gardening "The Problem with Genetic Engineering Special Report"
      page 6.

      5. GE crops can contaminate food crops with pharmaceutical genes:

      "Friends and foes of the use of genetic engineering in US agriculture have
      united in criticising two accidents in which a food crop was contaminated by
      a crop from the previous year designed to yield pharmaceutical products."

      From NewScientist.com

      6. GE crops damage organic crops:

      "Certified organic farmers have reported the first direct financial and
      operational impacts associated with the threat of contamination by
      genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in a nationwide survey conducted by
      the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF). One-third of the survey
      respondents rated the risk of exposure and possible contamination of their
      organic farm products by GMOs as high or very high.

      The OFRF survey found that 17 percent of survey respondents have had GMO
      testing conducted on some portion of their organic farm seed, inputs or farm
      products. Eleven percent of those who had GMO testing said that they
      received positive test results for GMO contamination.

      Eight percent of respondents indicated that their organic farm operation has
      borne some direct costs or damages related to the presence of GMOs in

      From Environmental News Service:

      7. GE crops damage family farms:

      "Family farmers have suffered significant economic losses from the use of
      GE products," said Walter Kessler, California dairy farmer and vice
      president of the Family Farm Defenders, "but the truth about GE crops and
      their impacts on family farmers is being buried in the slick multi-million
      dollar public relations campaign being waged by the biotechnology industry
      and promoted by the USDA."

      From Environment News Service:

      8. World does not need GE Food:

      "At Food First our in-depth research into this topic has convinced us that
      in both Northern countries and the Third World, there is no compelling need
      for GE products to enter our food system, either now or in the foreseeable
      future. Contrary to biotech industry advertising, hunger today is not caused
      by a shortage of food, nor will it be addressed by producing more. We
      produce more food per man, woman, and child on this planet than ever before
      in human history, more than anyone could ever need, yet hunger is on the
      rise, even in America where surplus production is the rule. The evidence is
      clear: people are hungry because of poverty and inequality-they simply
      cannot afford the abundance that surrounds us. If we truly care about
      hunger, than we must tackle inequality head on, including the increasing
      inequality being generated by.runaway corporate concentration."

      From the Food First Website:
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