GENTECH archive


Attack of the Food Worshipers!

Attack of the Food Worshipers!

Native Americans have found a new way to increase their income. Borrowing one
page from the organic industry and another from the outcrossing scare recently
orchestrated in Mexico, they are protesting against research into wild rice at
the University of Minnesota that could improve production.

Winona LaDuke, former vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader on the
Green Party ticket, is spearheading the effort. She says: “Commercial wild
rice is totally different from the rice we [Native Americans] harvest, and it
decreases the value of our rice when marketed as authentic wild rice. We’ve
been working for several years now to increase the price of the rice we gather
from fifty cents per pound to a dollar per pound, green. We are trying to
market our rice ourselves. We try to capture the “value added” in our
community by selling it ourselves. We went from about five thousand pounds of
production on our reservation to about fifty thousand pounds last year. This
is our strategy for economic recovery.”

There's more to the strategy, though.

The economic incentives have led LaDuke to adopt the organic industry strategy
of trashing science and improvements in food production.

And she’s also trying to start an outcrossing scare to bolster her efforts,
like the one Greenpeace helped Chapela start in Mexico. Only this time it’s sacred rice
instead of sacred maize.