Ginger and patented broccoli

One of my favourite tasks upon receiving my weekly organic box is choosing from the array of ingredients to make my daily juice. Knowing that I don’t have to worry about any nasties makes it that much more enjoyable. Ginger is one of my key ingredients. I am always amazed at how much juice is produced from a small nodule.

Commonly called a root, it’s actually a rhizome (the underground stem), and it takes its name from a Sanskrit word meaning “with a body like a horn”. Its origins are in India and China and it’s held in high regard in the Koran and the writings of Confucius. Being one of the first spices commonly used in Western Europe, it was a popular article of trade during medieval times, and was widely used as a treatment against plague. In English pubs and taverns, barkeepers would put ground ginger out to sprinkle on beer, this being the origin of ginger ale.

It is the first thing I pull out of the fridge when any one of my family appears to be coming down with a cold. Blended with garlic, lemon and chilli, it makes for a potent flu buster! Also, the onset of nausea is quickly settled with a healthy dose of ginger.

Meanwhile the campaign by corporations to gain control of our food supply continues. In Europe, the European Patent Office is preparing to make a decision that has far-reaching consequences. Can ordinary (non genetically-modified) food be patented? In this particular instance, it’s broccoli, but if this is approved, the floodgates will open. Genetically-modified plants have been patentable in Europe since 2000. With consumers having turned against GMO’s the corporations are now trying to extend their grip by potentially being able to patent all types of food.

So why are patents on plants a bad idea? The main reason is that patents severely limit the rights of farmers, who cannot save their seeds, and instead have to buy each year from the corporation. A disaster for biodiversity, since local varieties are inevitable ignored in the massive economies of scale, and a huge risk to food security.

Visit http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org to find out more about the campaign to stop this.

In the meantime, head on over to www.ethical.org.za to order.

The Co-op team