Author Topic: Crop apocalypse?  (Read 1841 times)

Offline mangyhyena

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Crop apocalypse?
« on: August 17, 2013, 11:32:15 AM »
I'm writing an apocalyptic fiction series and need your best guesses and predictions about GMO-induced apocalypse.

There are folks who claim the honeybees are dying out due to genetically engineered crops and the pesticides used on them.  Could the use of GMO's cause a world wide famine?  How, exactly?

1. What would happen to food production if the honeybees die out?  What crops would continue to produce without them?  Where would we get our food if they all die out?
2. Would they attempt to pollinate crops using another method?  What methods would they try, do you think?  Engineered bees capable of withstanding the pesticides?  Pollinating machines?
3. Could this lead to world war?  Seems like other countries might get ticked off if they have to rely on/buy engineered crops exclusively due to a corporate-caused inability to grow natural food.
4. How likely is a world wide famine due to engineered crops?  How far off in the future would it happen at the rate we're going?
5. Are GMO crops as big a threat as they seem?


As you can see, I'd like to set up the apocalypse as being caused by GMO products.  If a world wide food shortage happens, I can easily see countries reacting in ways that would add to the apocalyptic effects.  What would those reactions be, do you think?
I want to kick these big companies who produce GMO seeds right in the nuts, along with the governments who wholeheartedly support and protect them.

So, lay it out.  Tell me how you think the apocalypse could go down from a GMO problem as maybe the first toppled stone in a domino effect, or in and of itself the main apocalypse.  I'm looking for a 10% survival rate for the post apocalyptic world afterwards.

How would survivors begin growing food for themselves once the dust settles?  Alternative edibles like cattails, dandelions, berries, or some other crop Monsanto didn't screw with?

This seems a bit more realistic than a zombie apocalypse, at any rate.  If this is a believable possibility, I'd like to use it.

Have fun.  Looking forward to your thoughts.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 05:00:10 PM »
Maybe Monsanto and its competitors aren't as big a threat as they've been made out to be.  In a total collapse, their crops are designed to be out of the ecosystem within a few growing seasons, since they have that terminator gene that bars reproduction.

Would have made for a fresh and interesting catalyst to an apocalypse for a fictional book series, though.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2013, 05:25:42 PM »
Oh.. so don't even get me started on this. It would be longer than War & Peace and I don't have time to write it all out this time of the year.

You want me to talk your ear off though, PM me your cell number.

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Offline soupbone

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2013, 07:42:52 PM »
And as background information, watch the movie / documentary King Corn:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/king-corn-you-are-what-you-eat/

It's an eye opener.

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Offline quickbear

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2013, 08:43:44 PM »
I like the idea of a GMO triggered crisis. That should make an interesting story.  If enough terminator seeds of different food staples were planted all over the country/world in the same season then  through genetic drift and cross pollination it could have a big impact on the next seasons crops.  Basically a case of agricultural terrorism that could be perpetrated by either a company or rogue employee or actual organized radicals or whatever.  There would still be lot’s of leftover seeds from previous seasons that were  not  infected, but it would pinch the food system for sure. In a worst case scenario maybe the pollen from those terminator crops makes it so the bees no longer reproduce. 

Or

What if seed stock was genetically altered to kill anything that ate it,  and then secretly introduced into the seed supply effectively poisoning an entire season of food staples and animal feed, thus causing an economic tipping point for the fragile US economy…
I know these are both far out ideas but thats one of the fun things about fiction.  Good luck with your book.
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2013, 10:00:33 PM »
also, a name: Cropocalypse
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Offline fred.greek

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 12:38:47 AM »
Concur it's a viable plotline, suddenly there is not enough food for the current population, but all of the weapons and technology is there…
1. What would happen to food production if the honeybees die out?  What crops would continue to produce without them?  Where would we get our food if they all die out?
Flowering crops can be pollinated by other insects, the wind, or by hand.  But such as no where near as effective as the willing bees.   Without the bees, production of pollinated crops would plummet.   For the home garden, you could continue with quite a number of plants.  For calorie crops, such as yams/sweet potatoes can be "cloned" by cuttings and grow the tubers without above ground pollination. 

2. Would they attempt to pollinate crops using another method?  What methods would they try, do you think?  Engineered bees capable of withstanding the pesticides?  Pollinating machines?

3. Could this lead to world war?  Seems like other countries might get ticked off if they have to rely on/buy engineered crops exclusively due to a corporate-caused inability to grow natural food.
You can bet there will be war(s).  The sheep will demand the politicians rescue them.

4. How likely is a world wide famine due to engineered crops?  How far off in the future would it happen at the rate we're going?
VERY likely.  Once the tripping point is reached, the collapse is one growing season.

5. Are GMO crops as big a threat as they seem?
No, it is worse that the media shows.
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Your 10% survival rate is, to me, too high.  Unless it is just the "first" survivors.  While the world might have been able in the past to feed around a billion, too much farmland is dead, and is being killed by the chemicals.  Further, while the bulk of the population survives, they will consume whatever grows… Even if a billion was sustainable, until the other 5 or 6 billion die, in a low food situation, all will fight to eat something…
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Offline BillyS

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 10:43:24 AM »
Okay, I'm not familiar with the science, but here's what I see happening in the near future, non-fiction:

1. Bees keep dying, corporations keep lying. Govt. steps in and "protects" the bees, essentially nationalizing beekeeping. They mess with the bees to make them resistant to pesticides. This probably has negative results (worse than Africanized)

2. Since the die-off is a "mystery" the govt attemtps to ban certain crops, especially home-grown crops, and/or requires the use of chemically or genetically altered seeds to "protect" the pollinators. Home gardening becomes effectively illegal.

3. People and animals begin to die off. Nobody knows why. Cancer spreads despite tobacco reduction and "healthy" eating habits. Govt cracks down on drink sizes and fat content in foods. Autism, ADD, skin problems, depression, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. spreads. Plants look good, but are pure poison. No crop failures needed, just poisoned food.

4. Starting in the poorer neighborhoods, unrest. Poorer countries, unrest. In revolt, people begin to burn fields of GMO foods. People realize what is causing the malaize and a massive global revolt against govt and corporations ensues. Govt cracks down, fields burn, shortages ensue.

5. In the aftermath of partial collapse, world food supply is crippled and completely controlled by govt and military. People starve. Unrest grows. Economic collapse imminent.

6. "Survivalists" and "Preppers" labeled domestic terrorists, traitors, etc. As with the intellectuals in Cambodia, anyone with any knowledge of "traditional" gardening is rounded up and shot. Knowledge lost, GMO reigns.

7. Pollinators dwindle, GMO collapses, mass starvation, world conflict, govt collapses, disease, etc.

8. 10% survival is a bit low, but you'd still have a story.
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Offline quickbear

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2013, 11:48:41 AM »
@mangyhyena -I just came across this research and it sounded like it could fit into your scheme:

http://gmoevidence.com/dr-wang-gm-crop-weed-hybrids-set-to-destroy-genetic-diversity/
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Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2013, 04:32:18 PM »
Cropocalypse!  I am using that, for sure.  Might have to name a character who uses it after you, Morning Sunshine.  Sounds like the sci-fi channel's movie of the week.

So, it looks like its possible for a massive GMO failure to occur and screw up the world's food supply.  To me, the most likely scenario would be the mass die off of honeybees due to GMO insecticides.  That would screw up normal crops as well, adding to the food shortage.  Follow that up with Frankeinstein bees that don't act right to finish off the remaining bees through infecting the gene pool, and you have the makings for a world wide famine.  That would probably cause a domino effect, leading to civil unrest and war.  Viola, cropocypse to full blown apocalypse in a few short years.

You all scare the heck out of me with the lower than 10% survivor estimate.  I thought I was being dramatic with 10%. :o.

Okay, so cropocalypse it is, then.  I'll take the apocalypse into the future a bit, when GMO crops and animals are even more widely used, throw down with unintended consequences, and roll out the fall of civilization from there.

Now for the hard part.  What does farming and gardening look like 10 years after the cropocalypse?  Does nature recover due to terminator genes killing off the GMO strains?  Do natural corn and wheat make a comeback, or are they forever screwed by GMO genes cross pollinating them?  You all mentioned potatoes as a crop that wouldn't be reliant on bees.  Any others?  What will our survivors grow for food?
These questions have more to do with the farming & gardening techniques used after the fall by small towns/villages and the crops they are able to grow.  I want to present something realistic in this situation.

Thank you very much for your thoughts on a possible cropocalypse.  I was starting to think I was off base with GMO's being this big a threat.  I won't mention Monsanto and competitors by name in my books, but you can bet the company names will be similar to them.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 09:32:53 AM »
http://www.nationofchange.org/gmo-could-have-killed-nearly-all-life-earth-1364308786

If I understood this article correctly, they very nearly released a GMO version of a common soil bacteria into the environment.  This bacteria was designed to produce alcohol from biomass.  The GMO version kills wheat.  The GMO version can also infect common soil bacteria,  turning them into crop killers as well.  The field trial was stopped just weeks before it was scheduled.  Had this bacteria begun to infect other soil bacteria, it might have spread around the globe, rendering farmlands incapable of growing crops.

I find this deeply disturbing.  These scientists do have the ability to destroy us all.  I'm not at all off base about GMO's possibly leading to our destruction.

My last question remains.  If GMO's get out of hand, what can the survivors grow to feed themselves?  How will farming and gardening have to change after that?

Offline Cedar

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 11:03:17 AM »
I find this deeply disturbing.  These scientists do have the ability to destroy us all.  I'm not at all off base about GMO's possibly leading to our destruction.

Ok.. I have a few seconds here before heading out for the day and the small child is sleeping so I can collect my thoughts.

Look back into history. Research the "Lumper" potato. Never heard of it? Every hear of Ireland's Great Famine? You know the one where 25% of Ireland's population died? The monocropping of the "Lumper" potato is the cause of the whole thing. Well, that and the economy was hooped so only the rich could eat anything besides potatoes. In Ireland at the time, a person ate about 11 pounds of potatoes a day if they were a hard laborer. Potatoes also fed livestock. In short, the 'Lumper' potato got a bacterial blight and died out.. since man and beast were dependant on the potatoes, they too died in mass amounts.

Research "Ug99 Wheat Rust".

Famine is no stranger to any country. You don't hear of them much in the US, but they existed. During the Great Depression, the "Dirty Thirty's", so many people died from starvation, but you really pretty much only hear about the economy part of it. I think they did not keep stats on starvation, but hunger was widespread. And left people open to diseases they died from. My own grandmother as a child moved from Oregon for a bit up to Canada for her father to find work and food for their family. Except for the rich, a whole nation was hungry.

Ever hear of "State-Sponsored Famine"? Look up "The Great Leap Forward"/"Great Chinese Famine". Starvation estimates range from 18 million to 45 million. Also look up "Holodomor".

Now, those are 'natural' famines and learn what a ruckus those caused (and there are 100's of them).. Now get the "Frankenscience" involved. Why do you think so many people are so against GMOs?

I will start with wheat. There are a couple thousands varieties of wheat historically, but commerically only a handful of those are grown. When I was in high school, my AG teacher told me there were only 5 main wheats grown (in the 1980's) and if anything happened to any ONE of them, we could easily have a famine. That was pre-GMO. The one which worries me the most is "Terminator Wheat"... I think Solient Green on that one. In a nutshell, "Terminator Crops" are plants which are genetically modified to kill off their own embyro so that they cannot reproduce. Period. That is all fine and dandy.. IF it stayed with that plant. But since it is wind pollinated, if say "Terminator Wheat" crossbred via wind to another variety of wheat, it will turn ALL of the wheat into "Terminator Wheat". So if enough years go by and enough wind comes by and enough non-"Terminator Wheat" becomes "Terminator Wheat" and kills off its embryo and cannot reproduce.. so long wheat bread. The world used to be diversified in its grains... but when travel/shipping became easier, most of the world became wheat dependent. http://www.banterminator.org/The-Issues/Introduction

GMO crops have already started to show problems. This might be helpful to you http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.pdf

Most GMO crops are not studied long before release. Not the way that new crops used to be done long long ago. They generally have been putting 3 gene slices in, but now they are working on 8.. which has never been done before and the USA tends to be the guinea pigs for the 'frankenscience'. Just like no labeling is done for GMO foods, what if something happens worse than peanut allergens get into the tomato, where only those allergic to peanuts will get ill or die from having the peanut genes in it? More people think that gluten intolerace is from GMO corn and wheat.. what is the next thing they put in which could sicken all humans? And beast. For instance say it is corn or wheat.. both humans and animal feed have both in them.

What about epic plagues of ... insects or something of the biblical type? They have been putting GMO 'bug killers' into crops to keep the pest from wanting the plant or outright kill it. We are eating those poisons too. Only the bugs are becoming resistant to it, which in turn is keeping other things from preventing issues too.

Or, how about RoundUp Ready crops? The plant has had glyphosate (RoundUp) pretty much put into the genes of the plant and when you eat that RoundUp Ready Corn, RoundUp Ready Soy, ect. A study by the Seralini lab published in 2005 found that glyphosate interferes with aromatase, an estrogen biosynthesis enzyme, in cultures of human placental cells and that the Roundup formulation of glyphosate had stronger such activity. In other words, Endocrine disruption. Various studies suggest that glyphosate may be mutagenic. A study published in 2005 found a correlation between an increase in the infection rate of wheat by fusarium head blight and the application of glyphosate.

There is a huge gene pool and biodiversity in Open Pollinated plants. Some in hybrid plants which are F1. It saves us as if there is an issue, there is genes out there which we can draw from to help breed plants or select plants which are resistant to diseases. But with the petri dish science of buildings plants, there is a narrower gene pool. I believe that there is a natural protection, such as in animals which is called a "Species Barrier" which prevents huge issues. Such as "Scrapie" in sheep has existed as long as sheep have existed. And it caused no issues other than sheep scraped their wool off. UNTIL, man decided to cross the 'species barrier' and fed 'downer sheep/dead sheep' back to cattle as a cheap source of protein for the cattle. Cows do not naturally eat sheep in real life, until man got involved. That Scrapie disease that sheep get is a type of Spongiform Encephalopathy.... and when it went into the cattle through the ground up sheep in cow food, it mutated and became Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, which you would know better as "Mad Cow Disease". Then when people eat the infected cattle with BSE, it then in turn becomes variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob (vCJD) in humans. Which is incurable and you die.

I believe that "Frankenscience" with the GMO crops is crossing the "Species Barrier", just like feeding dead sheep to cows.

I do not ever believe any of the lab results from Monsanto and friends. On two occasions, the United States EPA has caught scientists deliberately falsifying test results at research laboratories hired by Monsanto to study glyphosate. This has happened over Agent Orange, Aspartame, etc. as well.

If you are serious about writing a book, contact University College Dublin’s Cormac O’Grada, an expert on the history of famines.

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Offline Cedar

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 11:39:13 AM »
What does farming and gardening look like 10 years after the cropocalypse?  Does nature recover due to terminator genes killing off the GMO strains?  Do natural corn and wheat make a comeback, or are they forever screwed by GMO genes cross pollinating them?  You all mentioned potatoes as a crop that wouldn't be reliant on bees.  Any others?  What will our survivors grow for food?

It will depend on locale. It will depend on climate. It will depend on pockets where GMO couldn't reach (this and my last farm are probably not 100% safe from GMO, but about as close as one could possibly get I think, since I was deep in the mountains and 7 hours+ from commercial farms).

It will depend on how many people have open pollinated plants which are resistant to disease and GMO. To " Will natural corn and wheat make a comeback, or are they forever screwed by GMO genes cross pollinating them?" all depends on if all GMO of that crop is not planted. So instance I have 14 varieties of corn of these 5 main types: Flour, Flint, Dent, Sweet, Popcorn, Shoepeg. But all of the GMO corn pollen could cross into them depending on where the wind blows.

Yes, we are hooped if honey bees died out, but there are alot of other pollinators as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crop_plants_pollinated_by_bees

Without honeybees, you would not have: Apples, Onions, Avocados, Carrots, Mangos, Lemons, Limes, Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Zucchini, Summer squash, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Celery, Green onions, Cauliflower, Leeks, Bok choy, Kale, Broccoli, Mustard greens, no almonds,  no citrus fruit, peaches, kiwi, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and other melons....  More than 85% of the plant species on earth require bees and these plants include some of the most nutritious parts of our diet. Honeybees alone pollinate 120 different crops.

You said potatoes do not require bees? No, they don't as they are a clone of themselves, but what if they get a potato blight again? Phytophthora infestans is what caused Ireland's Great Famine. This disease can also infect tomatoes and others in the same species.

Survivors will grow anything which will grow and they can get seed for. Is there any other issues such as economy? Weather? Do you know of the "Year without a Summer"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer I know of this as I grow "Roy's Calais" corn which is one of the few crops that survived that summer. People in New England were eating things one would think was inedible that year. During one of the Chinese Great Famines, people ate grass, dirt.. anything to fill their bellies. Read a few chapters (better to read the whole book) of Pearl S. Bucks "The Good Earth".

Cedar

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Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 12:37:08 PM »
Now for the hard part.  What does farming and gardening look like 10 years after the cropocalypse?  Does nature recover due to terminator genes killing off the GMO strains?  Do natural corn and wheat make a comeback, or are they forever screwed by GMO genes cross pollinating them?  You all mentioned potatoes as a crop that wouldn't be reliant on bees.  Any others?  What will our survivors grow for food?

One thing to keep in mind is that natural reproduction is a semi-random process.  So even if GMO crops cross-pollinate with heirloom varieties, that's not a guarantee that the GMO traits are the ones that will pass down to the next generation.  So even if you had GMO contamination of a field of wheat or corn, you could in theory breed out those genes in several generations of selective breeding.  Or, in the case of the "Terminator" gene, you'd have drastically reduced yields in the F1 generation, but some of the seed would have been pollinated by its non-GMO neighbors, so you could recover your seed stock, given enough time.  You could still have a massive reduction in the food supply and widespread starvation, but GMO contamination doesn't necessarily mean that everything that is cross-pollinated is immediately and irretrievably ruined.

In a scenario such as you described, I would imagine that survivors some years after the peak of the crisis would be hard at work on breeding programs to clean up the gene pool of the remaining food crops.  "Pure" seed would be extremely valuable, possibly even used as currency.  As for plants that can be grown on a small scale without bees, most plants with a "perfect" flower can self-pollinate, so many varieties of tomatoes, peppers, peaches, plums, peas, oats, sunflowers, rice, and barley can survive (in some cases with reduced yields, however) without insect pollinators.

Or, how about RoundUp Ready crops? The plant has had glyphosate (RoundUp) pretty much put into the genes of the plant and when you eat that RoundUp Ready Corn, RoundUp Ready Soy, ect.

Just a minor correction:  Roundup Ready crops are modified to be resistant to glyphosphate.  They don't actually produce it themselves, the way Bt corn produces the Bt toxin.  I'm not sure it makes much difference in the end result, whether the plants are producing the stuff themselves or if they're doused with it at ridiculously high levels, but I thought I'd clarify that. 
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 01:49:55 PM »
Just a minor correction:  Roundup Ready crops are modified to be resistant to glyphosphate.  They don't actually produce it themselves, the way Bt corn produces the Bt toxin.  I'm not sure it makes much difference in the end result, whether the plants are producing the stuff themselves or if they're doused with it at ridiculously high levels, but I thought I'd clarify that.

Yes and no.. it is part of their genetic makeup now apparently.If it was initially or not, evidently it is now. Before Monsanto said RoundUp was not on or in the plant when it went to the consumer.. apparently that is wrong information from them....
In June of 2013, the Medical Laboratory in Bremen published a report that glyphosate was present in human urine samples from 18 European countries. Malta showed the highest test results with the chemical showing up in 90% of samples and the average for all countries was 43.9%. Diet was stated as the main source.

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Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 03:33:52 PM »
Yes and no.. it is part of their genetic makeup now apparently.If it was initially or not, evidently it is now. Before Monsanto said RoundUp was not on or in the plant when it went to the consumer..

It's in the plant when it reaches the consumer because it's absorbed by the foliage when the fields are sprayed with it.  There wouldn't be any purpose to engineer the plants to produce it internally.  If it were produced inside the soy (or corn) plant, then it wouldn't do any good against the weeds growing in the field, which is the whole point of the Roundup Ready system - you can spray a broad-spectrum herbicide on the field after everything's sprouted, and kill everything but your crops (possibly including your customers who buy the poisoned food from you, but Monsanto doesn't promote that in the literature...). 

Also, from Monsanto's point of view, it would be a bad business move.  If you engineered the plant to produce Roundup, you wouldn't sell as much factory-made Roundup, which is exactly the opposite of their goal.  With Roundup Ready, they get the farmers' money twice:  once for the seed, and again for the herbicide.
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2013, 03:43:43 PM »
It's in the plant when it reaches the consumer because it's absorbed by the foliage when the fields are sprayed with it.  There wouldn't be any purpose to engineer the plants to produce it internally. 

Ok. this is true.. I originally meant, it was IN/absorbed by the plant when it got to the consumer.

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Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2013, 10:45:46 PM »
The more I read about this, the more obviously screwed up this whole GMO program seems. What really confuses me is that no one I know thinks terminator genes or severly limiting biodiversity are good ideas, yet it seems no one is going  to stop them.  Heck, most people don't believe corporations have the right to own Mother Nature.  Only the corporate maggots and their political whores (President, Congress, Senate) seem to support GMO's on a large scale.  Is the population really so willing to be led to slaughter like this?  It doesn't take a genius to see where we're headed.
Maybe the human race will get exactly what it deserves.  If we let these maggots do this to us, then maybe we're not worth saving in the first place. 
Sure doesn't say much for humanity.

Another thing.  After reading how fragile our food supply system is on a worldwide basis (even without the complication of GMO crops) anyone who doesn't build up an emergency food stock is an absolute fool.  It is so easy and affordable to get long term storage foods right now.  If the human race really wanted to ensure its own survival, we would focus on food security and clean, renewable energy production, for starters.

In these books, when characters old enough to have watched the collapse talk about us, (us being the population before the fall) they're not going to be very charitable.  To their way of thinking, we allowed this apocalypse to happen.  It's our fault they have to struggle because we did nothing about it when we (almost 7 billion people) could have so easily stopped these GMO companies and solved our own problems with food distribution, clean energy production, ect...

Offline Cedar

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2013, 10:48:29 PM »
Another thing.  After reading how fragile our food supply system is on a worldwide basis (even without the complication of GMO crops) anyone who doesn't build up an emergency food stock is an absolute fool.  It is so easy and affordable to get long term storage foods right now.

Ta-Da!!!!

Cedar
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Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2013, 10:21:07 AM »
Don't get me wrong.  I've been well prepped for years.  Just didn't realize a worldwide famine could happen so easily until I looked into it specifically.

The world's economic system is at odds with food security, big time.  Shortages or limited supplies of a product mean opportunities for big profits.  Law of supply and demand.  Food security means ensuring a large supply of food over and above what is required to feed everyone for a year or more.  Food security=little opportunity for big profits.  Ditto with renewable energy.
If food becomes scarce, big money can be made selling off the limited supply.  If our energy comes from a dwindling source, ever-higher prices can be charged as the supply becomes scarce.
Hence, renewable energy and food security must not be allowed on a meaningful scale or profits might fall.
Because of this, corporations are the people's enemy.  It is their mission to put us at risk and harm us.  The law demands they put shareholders first, even if that means putting the population at risk or actively harming us.  We can easily see this with food production, energy supply, and pharmaceuticals.  There's a reason our main energy sources are not renewable, our food production is actively being limited, and diseases are no longer cured, only managed.
The check on this power is supposed to come from government.  Yet, our government is composed of political whores who prostitute their services to the highest bidding corporations---lobbies.

If We-The-People ever catch on to this game, as a whole, the relatively weak power corporations and governments wield will be crushed in the face of almost 7 billion pissed off citizens looking to tear them apart.

For all that, these corporations and the whoring governments who serve them seem pretty safe from that fate.  The sheeple are too stupid and apathetic to even bother trying to understand this, much less do anything about it.  We will eventually pay the ultimate price for our apathy.  This more than anything else is why I prepare for the worst.

I'm probably just as stupid to think young people can learn this from a series of books, but it's the only thing I know to try.  All I can do is attempt to show them what we have now and what we could possibly have if We-The-People can ever work together.

Offline fred.greek

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2013, 10:24:51 AM »
Who (only the author) knows, some idiot might also release the alcohol fuel producing soil bacteria, or something close to it…
The crops that have been genetically altered might take a long time, and lots of work, to be reinstated as viable. 
Can nature, as a fungus, be the hero?  Something to consider, as I read in nature, fungus has a lot to do with successful, healthy ecosystems.  Fungus can be your enemy, or your friend.  They can exist in "small" batches, or cover square miles.  They can digest or infest whatever they encounter, but can also use their digestion to "aid" other organisms with which they establish a symbiosis.  As a "goo", they can enter an organism thru any opening in the protective membrane, or they can be an airborne spore.  The spore can remain dormant for a long time, perhaps only becoming active when the infected entity dies and the "immune" system is no longer there to fight the spore in its attempts to mature.
A lot of plants can be propagated (cloned) from cuttings, or smaller.  You local library should have cutting info, and for "test tube" (yet "natural") approaches see the book:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0881923613/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=23067010307&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=s&hvrand=186717131278301071&hvpone=23.76&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_8jwdjymljx_b
Plants from Test Tubes: An Introduction to Micropropagation Hardcover – Illustrated by Lydiane Kyte (Author) , John Kleyn (Author)

Micropropagation is something that can be done "at home" once someone gains the knowledge & supplies.
Who knows, the survivors might even come up with a collection of crops that is a much healthier diet than our commercial farming shoves out today.  Consider the Moringa tree. 

SOME places might have natural plants that have been spared "infection" due to a sealed environment, perhaps at a location such as the Biosphere II project, north of Tucson, or the University of Arizona CEAC (Closed Environment Agriculture Center)?  Then there is the seed vault somewhere up near the arctic,

For "other" crops outside what have been modified:   

The folks at Plants for a Future point out that "...Just twenty plants provide the majority of food eaten, yet there are thousands of other useful plants which have not reached mainstream attention. You can find details of many of them by a search of the database here...."
http://www.pfaf.org/

The folks at Leaf for Life indicate, "...Over 1000 species of plants bear leaves that are eaten, to some extent by humans. We've chosen 16 of these as "our favorites" and 50 others as "honorable mention." Our favorites are plants that we feel have, by virtue of their botany and history, shown great potential for providing food for humans in a sustainable way..."
http://www.leafforlife.org/

Purdue presents what may be even more "different" food crops:
www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/faminefoods/ff_home.html
Famine Foods Database: Plants that are not normally considered as crops are consumed in times of famine. This botanical-humanistic subject has had little academic exposure, and provides insight to potential new food sources that ordinarily would not be considered.

With the collapse of industrial foods, expect the collapse of the rest of industry.  Fossil fuels, fertilizers, and pesticides already present a sustainability challenge, as does any other destructive use of a finite resource.

Expect food to be really localized, to the extent that multi generation family homesteads "recycle" the human effluent to the home crops. 

Check Future Fertility, Transforming Human Waste Into Human Wealth, John Beeby

I opine that if you want the community to maintain higher tech skills, you need a local community of around a million. 
Sustainable Civilization:  From the Grass Roots Up online at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/11849883/Sustainable-Civilization-From-the-Grass-Roots-Up

__________
Retired, but still working in the garden...

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2013, 01:38:27 PM »
Who (only the author) knows, some idiot might also release the alcohol fuel producing soil bacteria, or something close to it…
The crops that have been genetically altered might take a long time, and lots of work, to be reinstated as viable. 
Can nature, as a fungus, be the hero?  Something to consider, as I read in nature, fungus has a lot to do with successful, healthy ecosystems.  Fungus can be your enemy, or your friend.  They can exist in "small" batches, or cover square miles.  They can digest or infest whatever they encounter, but can also use their digestion to "aid" other organisms with which they establish a symbiosis.  As a "goo", they can enter an organism thru any opening in the protective membrane, or they can be an airborne spore.  The spore can remain dormant for a long time, perhaps only becoming active when the infected entity dies and the "immune" system is no longer there to fight the spore in its attempts to mature.
A lot of plants can be propagated (cloned) from cuttings, or smaller.  You local library should have cutting info, and for "test tube" (yet "natural") approaches see the book:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0881923613/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=23067010307&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=s&hvrand=186717131278301071&hvpone=23.76&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_8jwdjymljx_b
Plants from Test Tubes: An Introduction to Micropropagation Hardcover – Illustrated by Lydiane Kyte (Author) , John Kleyn (Author)

Micropropagation is something that can be done "at home" once someone gains the knowledge & supplies.
Who knows, the survivors might even come up with a collection of crops that is a much healthier diet than our commercial farming shoves out today.  Consider the Moringa tree. 

SOME places might have natural plants that have been spared "infection" due to a sealed environment, perhaps at a location such as the Biosphere II project, north of Tucson, or the University of Arizona CEAC (Closed Environment Agriculture Center)?  Then there is the seed vault somewhere up near the arctic,

For "other" crops outside what have been modified:   

The folks at Plants for a Future point out that "...Just twenty plants provide the majority of food eaten, yet there are thousands of other useful plants which have not reached mainstream attention. You can find details of many of them by a search of the database here...."
http://www.pfaf.org/

The folks at Leaf for Life indicate, "...Over 1000 species of plants bear leaves that are eaten, to some extent by humans. We've chosen 16 of these as "our favorites" and 50 others as "honorable mention." Our favorites are plants that we feel have, by virtue of their botany and history, shown great potential for providing food for humans in a sustainable way..."
http://www.leafforlife.org/

Purdue presents what may be even more "different" food crops:
www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/faminefoods/ff_home.html
Famine Foods Database: Plants that are not normally considered as crops are consumed in times of famine. This botanical-humanistic subject has had little academic exposure, and provides insight to potential new food sources that ordinarily would not be considered.

With the collapse of industrial foods, expect the collapse of the rest of industry.  Fossil fuels, fertilizers, and pesticides already present a sustainability challenge, as does any other destructive use of a finite resource.

Expect food to be really localized, to the extent that multi generation family homesteads "recycle" the human effluent to the home crops. 

Check Future Fertility, Transforming Human Waste Into Human Wealth, John Beeby

I opine that if you want the community to maintain higher tech skills, you need a local community of around a million. 
Sustainable Civilization:  From the Grass Roots Up online at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/11849883/Sustainable-Civilization-From-the-Grass-Roots-Up

__________

 :o :o :o

Wow.  Now, that was exactly the information I needed in order to present farming and gardening methods after a cropocalypse.  With that knowledge, I should be able to show how biodiversity can be used to get humans back on their feet after a major killing event like the one described.

Later in the series, our young survivors will take the knowledge they gained and hit the road again, this time attempting to help these scattered communities with the knowledge they gained from earlier in the series.  Knowledge is king would be one moral of this series, along with sustainability and renewable energy practices.  In the end, I hope to show a better world than the one we live in now, or at least the possibility of that.

I don't know if the co-authored non-fic companion manuals/books which detail the technologies seen in the series will sell or not, but it's worth a try.  How cool would it be if some fans of the series also got the technical manuals to actually apply the different techniques and methods and made use of them?  If I can write this as an entertaining series, I might just be able to get the word out on some of the cooler aspects of preparedness, survival,and permaculture.  If just one young adult grows into a non-sheeple adult, I'll consider my efforts writing it to be worth it.

Thanks again, all.

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2013, 05:00:57 PM »
I have a more cynical view, just brainstorming here, but maybe you'll find some of it useful.  Were I to outline a book on this premise, this would be the beginning:

• Crops altered to create an addictive dependency, introduced for export to other nations. This to create a dependency on the continued exports, and thus give a severe political advantage.

• Addictive food staples produced in South America (fewer regulations, cheaper labor, experience running addictive substances across the borders) by an extremist regime with an agenda.

• Modified crops discovered and ultimately banned, but only after causing a huge upset to the political structure of today's first-world nations. Orwellian plot averted after 20+ years of slow but meaningful progress. The story begins in the aftermath of this.

• Remnants of these crops are found growing in the US. Quarantine Slash and burn squads annex huge parcels of land with little oversight to "secure it", displacing the owners, families, wildlife, entire towns...

• The effects of the crops on Wildlife are intoxicating. Deer browsing in the fields may intentionally run into on-coming traffic under the influence of psychoactive compounds in the crops, irregular migration patterns for animals, higher level predators push into human-inhabited areas in unprecedented numbers. Bears going through trash cans in the city, wolves attacking suburban pets, all to get "untainted" meals.

• Paranoia sweeps the masses.  Some "purists" (a radical, back to nature faction) break off with their own political agenda and guerrilla tactics to make it happen. Think "skinny tree-hugging vegan Rambo".

• Another International group, "scientists" intend to use GM methods to reconstruct some of the tainted species and re-establish a native population that cannot cross with the tainted crops. They are funded by corporations and a corrupt government left in disarray after the collapse, so there is strife within the organization.

• Hippy Rambos fear the consequences of more genetic tampering, and begin bombing research facilities, abducting scientists, etc.

• Scientists need untainted plant samples which are currently in the possession of the hippy Rambo faction, who distributes "Purified" (Genetically non-viable) processed food to their clans from an undisclosed growing location, like a hydro-farm in an old salt mine... leading to a sub-plot where scientists, using the military and private security of their sponsors must claim samples of these plants from the other faction.

• The Hippies maintain an almost religious belief that if these crops are not cultivated anymore, nature (a praised, anthropomorphised mother figure) will remedy the plague genes in a few short generations. There may be some scientific data to back that up, but for most its held more like a prophecy.

• The problem with the hippy prophecy is that the tainted crops were addictive, people still grow them in secret where they cross-pollinate with the healthy crops. It's a drug epidemic as well. Hence the burn squads.

• Where people used to mow their lawns and spread fertilizer, suburbanites have traded in the mower for flame-throwers to burn the grass out, and traded the fertilizer for rock salt,  fearing that an "Organic uncertified" plant may sprout around their homes, causing an inquiry from the burn-squads.

• Those found to be growing the tainted food are punished by tribunal, harshly. To avoid this, The colony collapse issue with the bees is encouraged by the masses to prevent cross-contamination.

• Healthy food is very expensive and tightly controlled. Tainted food that can satisfy the addictions is even more expensive and difficult to acquire. Most eat whatever they can find, as poverty is a growing problem for most people. More expensive than that are the mandatory medications to alleviate the symptoms of addiction.

• As with any faction story, there are idealists and true-believers, people using the faction to gain power, manipulators, radicals, and dissenting opinions on both sides, and all the people caught between them.  Neither side is entirely correct from a logical or ethical perspective. Both are composed of people who have their own sense of ethics and align with the side that best suits their own objectives.

• Sea resources being untouched provide the majority of the food. Fish, Kelp, Shrimp etc.  This shifts economic power to many small fishing islands who previously weak compared to large countries. There is fear of the Japanese Empire (the current global Super Power), built on their economic superiority as the major provider of food. They control most of the South Pacific now.

• Antarctica is a highly contested land-mass.  Beneath the ice lies Oil and natural gas, and fertile soil protected from the contamination. The long days make it and ideal growing area for large scale production. In heated glass domes The Scientists work out their plan.

• The Hippies control Yellow Stone Park and other formerly protected wild-life habitats around the world where agriculture was unable to move in close enough to contaminate the region.

• Following the collapse, as information about genetic modifications was beginning to become available to the masses, Governments across the globe began changing, or  "securing" the internet with the implementation of encrypted networks that replaced conventional network switching and storage devices.  Only those who had completed the "approved" education were allowed access to the internet (the scientists).  The rest have fallen back on short-wave radio and hard-copy books. This makes unified action among the hippies difficult. They act more like cells, independent of one another, each stronghold having it's own unique culture and power structure.

• The Japanese Empire is threatening the strong-holds of both the hippie in Australia and South Africa and the Scientists in Antarctica, as either of their solutions may pose a threat to the Japanese rise to power, as they now control the majority of the worlds food.

• The "Burn Squads" are not evil. They have a "Just Fix-it" attitude, and are specifically targeting incidents of further contamination, and those who seek to further the contamination through marketing of the contaminated crops. They are taking the "Chemotherapy" approach, kill enough of the infection to make the rest manageable. They are suspicious of Japan, and within their organization, there is a strong racial bias against anyone from South America who are blamed for starting the problems. They do however over-step their authority often, and are not empathetic to the people affected by their actions.


There's a setting for a story. Obviously needs some characters, a plot, a beginning, middle and end... But it's a start, lol. Just let your mind run down that tangent for a while, and you'll think of a million other possibilities.  To Summarize:

Where would contamination come from:
 I choose Colombia, as it's a huge food exporter to the world, has very little regulation, a volatile government and a fragile economy that would see some short-term gains from using GMOs.

What's the problem:
 Addictive crops. Too many plot possibilities with that, and every one understands what addiction is. Explaining something like a marked decrease in available potassium in food just isn't as fun.

The Factions:
 Hippies
   I know, they need a real name.  People are familiar with the fanaticism some of the eco-crap creates in people. Given a legitimate global crisis, it stands to reason they would rally and have their own agenda for the world, and gain a lot of support in doing so.

Scientists
  If Technology can create the problem, many will turn to technology to solve the problem. As a structured and specialized education are a prerequisite to being a scientist, and labs cost money, they will be backed by those with money and power, mostly governments and large corporations.

The Burn-Squads.
  Like knights in the dark-ages, self-assembled and organized bands of thugs given just enough authority to control the masses, but not the financial resources to compete with the leading class.  This posse makes sense under the circumstances.

The Japanese
  Of all the countries, they would likely be the first to recover, having a substantial fishing industry, relatively small (and thus easier managed) land mass for agriculture. They have a government in place that can micro-manage resources already, where as the US would have a huge cultural back-lash should a government try to do that here, even in a crisis. They have the diplomatic connections, economy, and technology required to rise to the top during these events.

The Strong-holds are a prerequisite of any substantial power. Japan, as I said can be salvaged. Antarctica makes sense if you have the finances to exploit it. The Nature preserves in the US, Africa, and Australia are very well suited to the hippies and would be uncontaminated. The Burn-squads are mobile, setting up wherever they need to be at the time, living within the chaos and trying to manage it rather than escape it.

If you borrow the faction idea, just do me one favor. For the love of God, don't do anything so cliche as having one person from each clan come together and work for the mutual good to the salvation of the planet. Better the world should burn than be saved that way.

Good luck.
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. – Ronald Reagan

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2013, 07:03:04 PM »
That is one heck of a story.  Reminds me of the MSG controversy in fast foods from a few years back.  There were accusations that MSG is addictive.  I don't eat fast food, so I wouldn't know.
If they figure out a way to grow food crops with narcotic effects, we would have a huge problem on our hands.  Home gardeners would become suspects overnight.

I toyed with idea of writing a novel featuring the ruling elite as the main characters, so we could get an Alex Jones view of their activities behind closed doors.  LOL.  No good guys to come to the rescue in that one.  I would have shown them managing the "unwashed masses" and winning.  I'm sure the reader would have been insulted at the way the ruling elite view us normal people, but that would have been the point.  Hannibal Lector starred in a novel, after all.  No reason I couldn't feature these psychopaths as the main characters.  Alex Jones' theories sound crazy enough for a fiction novel where the bad guys win.  In the end, the population is reduced to half a billion, living in walled cities, doing as their told and working for the homosuperior elite.  The elites enjoy total freedom and benefit from the advances in technology, exploring space and colonizing other planets while the animals stay behind and toil for them.  The end.

I figured a YA series set in a post apocalyptic world would be more fun.  At least it has hope for a better world, along with opportunities for action and romance.

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2013, 02:54:39 PM »
Found this link posted in another thread...

http://www.nationofchange.org/gmo-could-have-killed-nearly-all-life-earth-1364308786

I do believe Dr. Elaine Ingham will be a speaker at Permaculture Voices.
Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.  That is why the grace of God appeared to men.  It teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior.  ---Titus 2:11-14

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2013, 03:58:50 PM »
Found this link posted in another thread...

http://www.nationofchange.org/gmo-could-have-killed-nearly-all-life-earth-1364308786

I do believe Dr. Elaine Ingham will be a speaker at Permaculture Voices.

Yes, that's the exact article I found.  Very, very scary.  We owe Dr. Ingham a huge thank you for stopping the field test, which could have spread this Frankeinstein bacteria all over the place.

At the very least, We-The-People should know what these psycho GMO freaks are doing.  I don't know about you all, but I didn't see this on my nightly news.  Considering the magnitude of this close call, that seems a bit strange; almost as if it were deliberately kept out of the news.  But, that's just crazy.  The news media isn't controlled in any way by large corporations or anything like that.  They couldn't be.  That would make them propaganda machines, not news reporting agancies.
Still, it is a little strange that it wasn't widely reported.  Hmmm.  Wonder what's going on there.

Offline fred.greek

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Re: Crop apocalypse?
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2013, 12:21:59 AM »
Please, pardon my babble, but a sample progression of a crop related apocalypse.

Aspects:

An isolated island colony of 6,000.  In essence it now grows just enough to feed the current population.

All year growing season, each month they can grow just enough to feed the population for the next month.  Each month is four weeks.  Calorie value of the crop is progressive, that is at the end of week one it has 1/8 of a food unit, week two 1/4, week three 1/2, week four full.

Each citizen consumes an averaged 2 bushels of food each month.  (1/2 bushel per week)  The colony needs 12,000 bushels each month.  With the crop capacity loss they now only grow 10,800 bushels per month.  (Enough to feed 5,400 for the next month)

The colony experiences a permanent 10% loss of growing capacity.  Some people have a little extra food stored, which whether voluntarily or at gunpoint is collected and distributed. Once any surplus is gone.

If 600 stopped eating/died (dictator, lottery, voluntarily, unable to buy food…) the rest could continue.  Those in charge insist all will be well.

Say 600 (volunteer/picked) went on a two week fast, then started to eat again, now from the still growing crops.

-    It being the end of week two with the calorie value being 1/4 of a full months growth, in that week for the 600 to consume growing crops equal to a half bushel each of the final crops, that would have growing crop that at the end of the month would have represented 1,200 bushels.
-    At the end of week three the 600 are still eating growing put more mature crops, their consumption of growing crops represents the loss of end of the month collection equal to 600 bushels.  (Ttl 1,800 bushels lost in the month)

For the 600 to eat for half a month off of growing crops the colony now has a 9,000 bushel harvest (Enough to only fully feed 4,500 for the next month.)

1,500 people now go on the two week fast, then eat growing crops.
-    End of week two they start eating growing crops, equal to 3,000 bushels now lost at harvest.
-    Still eating growing crops thru the end of the month, in the last week of the month they consume  the additional equivalent of 1,500 bushels.  (Ttl 4,500 bushels lost in the month)

The harvest for the colony for this second month is 6,300 bushels.

(Enough to only fully feed 3,150 for the next month)

2,850 people now go on the two week fast, then eat growing crops.
-    End of week two they start eating growing crops, equal to 5,700 bushels now lost at harvest.
-    Still eating growing crops thru the end of the month, in the last week of the month they consume the equivalent of 2,850 bushels.  (Ttl 8,500 bushels lost in the month.)

The harvest for the colony for this third month is 2,300 bushels.
(Enough to only fully feed 1,150 for the next month)
4,850 people now go on the two week fast, then eat growing crops.
-    End of week two they start eating growing crops, equal to 9,700 bushels now lost at harvest.
-    Still eating growing crops thru the end of the month, in the last week of the month they consume the equivalent of 4,850 bushels.  (Ttl 14,550 bushels lost in the month)

OOPS.  The entire growing capacity is 10,800.  There is no harvest, and in fact there was a shortfall in growing crops of 3,750 bushels.

*    1,150 made it thru the month fed.

*    Somewhere during week four, the 4,850 people who had already fasted for two weeks at the beginning of the month, ran out of growing food.  A number of these people had already fasted two weeks during preceding months.

There is no harvest to live on thru the next month growing season.

Retired, but still working in the garden...