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February 9, 2006 - "STERILE SEEDS"

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Seeds are the foundation of our food supply and the building blocks of culture, community and well-being. Seeds also represent an industry of which 50% of global sales are controlled by 10 companies. The patenting and control of seeds is already a reality, but the push is now on to introduce Terminator technology - plants that have been genetically modified to render sterile seeds at harvest. This technology will prevent farmers from saving their seeds for the following season and help protect the global seed industry. We will discuss the importance of seeds, Terminator technology, and the Canadian-based worldwide campaign "Ban Terminator".


Lucy Sharratt - coordinator of the Ottawa-based Ban Terminator international campaign, an initiative of the ETC Group. Lucy has been involved with the Polaris Institute and the Sierra Club of Canada.

Terry Boehm - Vice-President, National Farmers Union (NFU) - Saskatchewan. Terry is a canola farmer in Allan, Saskatchewan.

Devlin Kuyek - Montreal-based staff member of GRAIN - an international non-governmental organisation which promotes the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people's control over genetic resources and local knowledge. Coordinator of the Forum on the Patenting of Life (Canada), member of the Groupe de recherche: technosciences du vivant et société at the University of Quebec at Montreal.

Harry Collins - Vice-President of Technology Transfer, Delta & Pine Land Company - headquartered in Scott, Mississippi, has offices in eight states and facilities in several foreign countries. Holds three patents jointly with the United States Department of Agriculture. These were the first patents on Terminator. Delta & Pine Land is conducting greenhouse tests of Terminator; is the 11th largest seed company in the world; is the largest cotton seed company in the world and produces and sells conventional and GM soy and cotton seed.

Additional Audio

Devlin Kuyek

  1. Devlin explains how seeds determine the model of agriculture. LISTEN
  2. As Devlin has explained how seeds themselves determine the model of agriculture that is then used, here in North America where our culture has become a very commodity-based culture, seeds in turn are shaping the very commodities that are required to facilitate the industrial model of agriculture we see today. But throughout many parts of the world, culture still remains as it has for generations - Devlyn explains how seeds shape culture itself. LISTEN
  3. Devlin relates the connection that seeds have to culture, to here in Canada. LISTEN

Terry Boehm

  1. Terry further explains the stranglehold the industry has on the farmer. LISTEN
  2. When recent legislation was proposed that would have narrowed the rights of farmers through changes to the Canadian Plant Breeders Rights Act, Terry explains the response. LISTEN
  3. How are global indigenous populations affected by the seed industry? LISTEN
  4. The way the seed industry sells the message of industrial agriculture to indigenous populations. LISTEN

Lucy Sharratt

  1. Why Terminator? LISTEN
  2. Lucy speaks of US involvement in Terminator discussions and the Convention on Biological Diversity. LISTEN
  3. Who is representing Canada at the Convention on Biological Diversity Meetings? LISTEN

Harry Collins

  1. Harry responds to the physical contamination that as Terry Boehm explained can occur in the bulk handling processes of the agricultural industry. LISTEN

Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclips: - Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)

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UPDATE For November 17, 2006:


"Something's in the Garden", Phil Vernon (Salt Spring Island, BC)

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    Devlin Kuyek Papers
  1. "Stolen Seeds: the privatisation of Canada's agricultural biodiversity". The Ram's Horn, 01.04
  2. "The Real Board of Directors: The Construction of Biotechnology Policy in Canada, 1980-2002". The Ram's Horn, 2002


  4. "Moratorium on Terminator Technology reaffirmed, but with qualifications" - Third World Network, 01.29.06
  5. Backgrounder on Article 8(j): Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices Introduction. Convention on Biological Diversity
  6. "Iraq's new patent law: A declaration of war against farmers."GRAIN, 10.04
  7. "A Response to the Proposed Amendments to Plant Breeders Rights Legislation and the Seed Sector Review." Canadian Organic Growers
  8. "Granada's Grim Sowers Plow up Moratorium on Terminator, Clear the Path for its Approval at UN". ETC Group, 01.27.06
  9. "Global Seed Industry Concentration". ETC Group, 10.05
  10. "GM Contamination: Can biological containment work for crops and society". GeneWatch, 12.05
  11. Petition No. 108 - Human, social, and environmental impacts of genetic engineering. Office of the Auditor General of Canada. 2004
  12. "Seeds of Change: The Changing Nature of Seed Ownership and Control in Canada". Derek Masselink, 2005
  13. Seeds of Change: Seed Saving Threatened". Natural Life Magazine, 01.05.


Brave New Seeds
Brave New Seeds - Robert Ali Brac de la Perriere, Franck Seuret
Fernwood Books

Write to the Minister of Agriculture
Chuck Strahl
Sir John Carling Building
Floor 9, Room 945
Fax: (613) 759-1081


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