[permaculture] Insights into the SSE debate by knowledgeable insiders.

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Tue Jan 22 02:27:16 EST 2008

Michael Pilarski wrote:
> I have a few contacts here and there who know bits and pieces of what is going on. When those pieces are put together, a very ugly picture emerges. I will post what I found and you can do your own due diligence to determine whether this is accurate or not. Please understand that I can't be 100% sure of this.
Thank you, Skeeter, for reminding us that there are two (or more) sides 
to every story, and for carefully saying that you cannot be sure that 
what you cite is 100% true. We also have no way of knowing whether all 
that Kent, or anyone else, has said is true. I have served on enough 
boards to know that inevitably there are coup attempts on non-profit 
founders, and that some are totally justified while others are power 
grabs. After initially siding with Kent--and who wouldn't, since saying 
"Monsanto" is like saying "child molester"--I'm going to climb back on 
the fence and gather more data before I jump to a conclusion again.

And in the interest of balance, those who are ready to demonize SSE 
board member Amy Goldman might want to note the distortion in the below, 
something Lawrence re-posted but I'm not sure where from:
> NOTE that Amy Goldman was the keynote speaker and celebrity of a 
> conference featured "biotechnology solutions"
> http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/cucurbits/#biotech

This was a conference by U of Florida on Cucurbits. Over four days, it had a total of one hour on biotech. That session was not called "biotech solutions," just "biotech," and was mostly about tissue culture of cucurbits. The above link does not link to her, but to that biotech session, which she was not part of. Her talk, in a different session, was called "Melons for the passionate grower." It looks like a smear to make a connection between biotech and Amy that does not exist. Something smells here.

Read her bio at
Hardly that of a corporate monster. She's a seed saver and melon geek. 
If anyone knows more about her, I'd like to know, too, but I see no link 
with corporations or FDA. Let's do a little more fact-finding.

And yes, it is currently almost impossible to patent a public domain 
plant. Pardon my leap to a scary place. The picture is not so clear with 
heirlooms that have not been formally and legally put in the public 
domain. As someone who used to work in medical biotech, knew our patent 
lawyers well, and followed a lot of the early genetics patents, I think 
anything is possible. It was once impossible to patent a living being. 
It's not anymore. That's a much bigger jump than the one from registered 
public domain heirloom to registered private brand.


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