The timing couldn't have been more eerie: less than a week after Vandana Shiva, the world's best known seed subversive addressed a packed Hart House Theatre, news broke on Wednesday, that genetically modified seed was contaminating Canada's valuable flax crop, destroying markets all over GE-phobic Europe and Asia.
"This was all entirely predictable,'' Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network tells me.
Her organization says tainted Canuck grain is now showing up in cereals, bakery products and nut/seed products in 28 countries where GM flax is not approved for human consumption and companies are now removing products from the market.
Bad news for our prairie flaxseed farmers - like, who exactly is going to take responsibility for the way the winds blow? Or for the way a little seed wanders errantly here or there? Obviously not the feds. As the Network says, governments don't take the liability for market failure when they let companies cook up GMO's.
All this certainly wouldn't surprise Shiva. The founder of the Delhi-based group Navdanya (Nine Seeds) spends her time formenting farmfield civil disobedience by urging growers to save ancient seeds despite the patent laws that criminalize it, and refuse genetic engineering.
The corporate food biz, she said, are seed authoritarians. "We learned from Ghandi that there's only one way to deal with dictatorship,'' she said, her black eyes flashing. "Be inspired by a higher law - that is the law of Gaia, the ecological law of growing and surviving in an earth democracy.''
"A Monsanto rep said the reason farmers needed Roundup-resistant crops was to prevent weeds from ‘stealing the sunshine.' They want a dictatorship so planetary that even the sun should take permission about where it shines.''
Or a little rebel GE flax seed about where it nestles down in the soft earth. [rssbreak]