Thursday, October 30, 2008

Featured Member: SparkleJess!

Congratulations to SparkleJess for being the very first featured member of our team!

SparkleJess deserves some special recognition for bringing GMOs and this documentary to the attention of the Honeybee Helpers Team:
The World According to Monsanto

From the website:
On March 11 a new documentary was aired on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural tv channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, The World According to Monsanto - A documentary that Americans won’t ever see. The gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years.

According to Jess, "EVERYONE should see [the documentary]. This will be the biggest change to the worlds food supply, in how it is produced, and the chemicals put into our earth, any generation has ever faced."

(Thanks also to team member SturmDM for posting the link from Jess!)

Jess creates dog toys, fabric art, and eco friendly photography in her Etsy shop. Her shop name is SparkleJess, but she also has a 2nd shop, . Sparklejess dog toys are eco-friendly and ethically sourced from non-toxic materials: organic cotton Harmony Art fabrics, filled with organic cotton or untreated Canadian sheep wool. Hand made in Canada, SparkleJess dog toys are stuffed with wool *(unless stuffed with organic cotton!) from the family farm in the BC Chilcotin Valley, from sheep raised on organic pastures, without flea dips or powders, taken to a small wool processing shop, and batted on a 100 year old machine. This wool has not been put into chemicals to burn off the vegetable matter like conventional wool, and dogs love the natural lanolin smell!

We asked Jess a few questions:

How long have you been crafting?:
Since I was little! I grew up without a television for most of my life, so I spent my spare time creating.

How did you become interested in eco-friendly crafts?:
I became interested in eco-friendly crafting about four years ago. At the time, I was working in the costumes department in the film industry, so I was spending 24 hours working with fabrics! I worked with a Costumes Designer who only used natural fibers: linen, silk, and lots of organic cotton, and it was then I began see a difference between these natural fabrics and the synthetics I'd been used to working with.

Around the same time, another person I worked with taught me about how toxic fabric dyeing is, and about fabric finishes: anything with a stain guard or non-wrinkle label on it has been chemically treated. Then, a very sweet grandmother working as a cutter at my local fabric store, happened to mention that the fabric I was buying (and all the fabric the store carried) was sprayed with insecticide before it was shipped, and I should pre-wash it before I used it. Well, I never did use that fabric! I started buying organic fabrics online and haven't looked back, now I use organic cottons for 95% of my sewing.

When did you hear about CCD?
Earlier this year I saw the PBS documentary "Silence of the Bees". I couldn't believe my eyes, that there are areas in the world where bees have been wiped out due to over-use of pesticides, but more frightening, something called CCD is affecting hives in many parts of the world: and it can't be explained why bees are dying. I posted photos on etsy called "save the bees", of bumblebees in my neighborhood, only to discover that there was an Etsy Bee Team with the common concern over CCD and the bees!

Recently, I happened to catch a greenpeace conference on my local cable channel. Percy Schmeiser was speaking about GMO's. Percy, a 68-year old Saskatchewan farmer, is well-known to Canadians for fighting Monsanto, a huge company that produces genetically modified seed. The company of Monsanto had sued Percy and his wife because they found their GMO seed on his land, even though Percy Schmeiser had not put the seed there.

What I didn't know, though, about GMO seed was what Percy Schmeiser was saying in this televised conference: that GMO seed contains a terminator gene, that renders the seed unusable for the next growing season, so that the seed companies can make money on their seed every year. I immediately wondered about the connection between this terminator gene and the slow disappearance of the bees: after all, the areas where bees are disappearing are areas where non-organic produce is being grown!!

I did more research: I watched the documentary "The World According to Monsanto". The sad thing is that the GMO seed also requires MUCH more pesticide use than organic seed does, but that GMO seed threatens to take over organic seed, due to the wind/how pollination happens. Since scientists have documented that bee populations are affected by pesticides, I'm very concerned about what will happen to our bees if the GMO seed takes over and crops become monoculture.

I think we can make a difference in our everyday purchases. For example, 95% of canola seed is now GMO, due to how seeds pollinate, carried by the wind. The chemical that HAS to be used on GMO canola in order to make it germinate, is agent orange. Therefore, if you only choose one organic product to buy, buy organic canola oil. It helps that tiny amount of organic farmers that are still producing organic canola, and you know that you are helping the earth the seed is grown in, the people who harvest the seed, and most of all, you give our bees a fighting chance!
Thanks so much, all the best,

See SparkleJess for organic dog toys and bags at the Vancouver's "Green" Christmas fair, Sunday, December 7th, 11am-6pm at the Cambrian Hall on Main St!!


Harmony said...

I heard Percy speak a few years ago in the town north of us and was appalled by what I heard! The World According to Monsanto is a definite MUST watch!

Thanks for the info about Canola! I will definitely buy organic!

Keep up the great work Jess. It is an honor to have you using our organic fabrics.

tiger said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.