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Agricultural Revolution in Germany

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Could it happen here? For generations we have been duped to believe the million-dollar ad campaigns of myriad food moguls. We fell victim to the science of chemical colouring, food preservatives and taste enhancers-and never questioned the contents of bottles, cans and packages on the supermarket shelves.

For generations we have been duped to believe the million-dollar ad campaigns of myriad food moguls. We fell victim to the science of chemical colouring, food preservatives and taste enhancers and never questioned the contents of bottles, cans and packages on the supermarket shelves. Many of us got sick. The medical profession then kindly stepped in with more chemicals (supplied by the pharmaceutical industry) to subdue the symptoms of physical/mental dysfunction!

The iron grip of the triune food processing/medical/pharmaceutical system has increased over the last 100 years so that each of these three industries, worldwide, supports the others to create a market economy that governments thrive on.

Germany is shifting that paradigm.

Last November the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) scandal forced the resignation of the German agriculture minister. He was replaced by Green Party activist and lawyer Renate Kuenast, who has enthusiastically set herself to change Germany's agricultural system of mass production farming (AcresUSA, July 2002).

BSE, Kuenast says, is a symptom of disastrous agricultural practices that have led to overproduction of food crops, poor food quality and problems in animal and human health. The present "public revulsion" towards these practices has resulted in a 60-per-cent drop in beef consumption in Germany in the last year, while consumption of organic products of all kinds has increased exponentially.

Quality instead of quantity, from field to plate, is what Minister Kuenast is working toward. She says it is a path of "trial and tribulation." The co-operation of all sectors of society is essential: farmers, politicians, the animal-feed industry, the food industry, merchants and consumers. She will establish minimum food production and animal husbandry standards, the use of medication only to cure disease, and a complete ban on antibiotics in animal feed! She calls on consumers to change their buying habits and be willing to pay higher prices for whole organic food but says the program will only succeed if the retail sector is willing to stop competing on price. Food quality should be the basis of competition. Kuenast is currently working with large retail food chains to get them to give more shelf space to organic products and promises that the German government will ensure that such food is affordable!

Could that happen here?

It appears that the nose of our agricultural ministry is now firmly in the trough of mega-agribusiness. The Liberal government's front men are heavy promoters of genetic engineering of food crops. And while little Germany is on a program of going back to the basics of good land and food production management without chemicals, Canada, with millions of sections of farmland, gives only a nod in the direction of correct soil management and chemical-free agriculture.

While Frau Kuenast was on her political platform pledging government support of organic agriculture, Prime Minister Jean Chr?en travelled the country offering a $5.2 million farm aid program but only for farmers who are locked into the chemical/agricultural industry. No mention of organic growers. No mention of regulation of humane animal husbandry or animal health.

Certainly nothing about competing on the basis of quality rather than price!

The Canadian government will not recognize the need to change food production from the ground up in order to support human health through nutrition. The food industry is profit motivated. The farmer is captured by the high yields promised by chemical agriculture companies. The retailer is watching his price competitor down the street.

It's up to consumers. We have to put our money down for what we want. Real food will eventually yield the most profitable crop. Good health!

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