Article posted on behalf of a Mothering supporter:
"As parents, the health of our children always comes first, and the food we eat, has some of the most significant impact. While many people are mildly aware that most food you buy in a grocery store typically has some sort of genetic engineering, or pesticides, etc, we tend to trust that the store has made good choices, and the produce is as healthy as it needs to be. But really, we know very little about the food we eat, how it was grown, and what was used, but this problem that goes much deeper than the purchasing director for a store.
Agribusiness giants like Monsanto (if you've seen Food Inc, same company) are tightening their grip on agriculture worldwide causing huge problems for farmers and even local gardens. Over the past decade, they have been buying specifically into the seed industry at all levels, owning the holdings of many thousands of varieties and perhaps most importantly their traits. There are thousands of articles and several documentaries about how terrible this is for the agriculture business, and how it has created vicious loops to fill a profit motive.
As this grip tightens, and as GMO's regardless of your thoughts about them become more prevalent, the question becomes one of who will have access to and control our common agricultural heritage? A few giant corporations or the public? Will it be used to increase sales of pesticides and herbicides, or to enhance nutrition and drought resistance? Right now, we are headed towards a path where we have less and less choice in the food we purchase for our families.
Rather than trying to fight these companies directly, a software engineer and agriculture enthusiast, Michael Bernstein is creating a project called Urbsly that will help create an alternative seed system that builds on open standards and data, enabling farmers and gardeners to freely and completely access information and compete on a level playing field. He is creating a comprehensive catalog of existing varieties of plants, regardless of their source, and make this information freely available (essentially, a universal-seed-catalog). This will allow for a whole new set of grower and consumer applications that will let you know all about what ingredients went into your food, both nationally and locally, how it was grown, and what kind of seed variety was used for what purpose.
There is much more to this project to check out, but it NEEDS help. Michael is trying to raise some introductory funds to allow him to cover the costs of creating this database, and that will push this long-term plan forward. Please check out his goal page and either support with your contributions, and/or share it among your social networks. The more people that know about this as an alternative, the better we can compete as a grower community!