Shifting Focus to Soy

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

Jetlagged and back in Amsterdam, I wanted to announce an issue that will be one of my primary focuses for the rest of the year. After a very good experience speaking about urban farming at the Last Hope Conference, where I received alot of enthusiastic and warm responses, I’m now looking to tackle something more difficult, that I feel warrants my attention as well as yours.

That topic is the soy industry.? You’ll recall the podcast a few months ago on Responsible Soy, which not only opened my eyes to alot of facts that I had not previously considered but gave me alot of leads as to who to talk to and what rocks to look under.? And when we’re talking about the soy industry, there are plenty of creatures players hiding under the preverbial rock.

From organizations to corporations, from trade unions to government agencies, from activists to scientists, I intend to look at how soy is grown, processed,? and ultimately distributed in your part of the world. Because this industry is much larger than I ever imagined and engaging in practices that have gone without sufficient criticism or scrutiny.

Besides podcasts, I hope to present this issue and my investigation at my most favorite annual gathering in December, the Chaos Communication Congress (25th edition this year).

Why make such an announcement? Because this site is not only dedicated to reporting and commentary, it is also a place where I can present ideas like a drawing board. Only this is a drawing board that is open to you the readers and listeners, where you can know and observe how these ideas develope and (should I be so lucky) you can also suggest tactics or ask questions that will become part of the process.

Visited ASeed

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

While much of Amsterdam was outside enjoying yes another day of sunny spring weather, I ventured over to the zoo neighborhood to visit with Nina at the ASeed offices.  Aseed is a nongovernmental organization that focuses on issues related to agriculture in Europe and throughout the world. My interest in meeting them today was to discuss the soy industry and what is going on in terms of who is doing most of the soy growing and what is its effect on the environment and society in general.

When I arrived at the building I realized it was a familiar squat (or former squat at this point) where I, in the past, had visited the wonderful artists of pipslab.  The kind of  building where the doorbells alone indicate that in this place, very creative, unique, and possibly crazy people- work. Naturally I felt welcome and most certainly in my kind of place.

Nina greeted me and led me into a large former auditorium of some sort, which let in lots of natural light, making it easier to see the large signs on the ground.  The signs were being prepared by the Aseed people for an upcoming summit in Bonn, which I’ll be watching for developments that I might bring to you.

From the 19th to the 30th of May, Bonn, Germany will host a global summit on biodiversity.  Though eventually 5,000 participants will make their way to Bonn, many activists, farmers, and concerned citizens will also be converging on Bonn.  The issue is as important as ever; fighting for the rights of small farmers versus the mammoth multinational agribusiness corporations, and questions surrounding genetically modified crops and food – the growing lobby at the EU level, and much more.

In my few hours at Aseed Nina did sit down with me and we recorded a podcast on the Soy industry.  She also informed me about alot of related topics which I hope to pursue in the coming weeks and months.  Look for the podcast at the end of the weekend.