Since we ate so much produce from our garden this year it got me thinking about food production in this country and how we have lost our farming heritage. Back in the Colonial days 90% of our population farmed for food. That’s a lot of farming. With modernized farming that percentage is now a sad 2%.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, enter Genetically Modified Organisms – farming that is done in a lab by chemical corporations.
The argument in favor of GMOs is that mankind has been modifying genes for thousands of years. And these corporations are asking: “Why the uproar now?”
Because GMOs have taken farming to a whole new level of gene manipulation. This is not just cross-pollinating or creating new hybrid plants (a system of removing the weaker strains). GMOs genetically join entirely different plant species, animal genes or even bacteria, to alter the genetic code of a plant.
And there have been some problems with this way of producing food. Let’s look at some of them:
· Food that is created in a lab and engineered to kill certain “pests” is not safe for humans to eat. There have already been serious health problems with every animal or insect that has ingested GMOs, like hamsters that had been fed GM soy, then lost the ability to have babies by the third generation. That’s no more hamster babies. Or rats that have had their stomach lining eroded from modified tomatoes. I happen to like and appreciate my stomach lining.
· GMO seeds sterilize other crops so farmers have to buy and become dependent on Monsanto GMO seeds. And this has lead to people actually ending their lives, like the 250,000 Indian farmers that killed themselves after going broke from being dependent on GMO farming. That’s a lot of dead farmers.
· What are considered “pests” and weeds are now becoming immune to the genetically modified pesticides and herbicides so even more chemicals are being used than before, as in 26% more pesticides. And of course these pesticides are made by Monsanto (I think that’s called “a racket”). That’s a lot more chemicals on our food. And these aren’t just sweet little chemicals. They are deadly toxic chemicals that cause neurological problems – but don’t get me started on that issue.
· GMO “terminator seeds” don’t regenerate like traditional seeds so farmers have to buy new seeds every year.
· It’s fatal to our natural environment and possibly to people.
I hope I’m not the only one that finds this terrifying. Oh wait, 26 other countries do, too. I guess I’m not alone. But apparently there aren’t enough reasons to ban GMOs in our country.
But how about the reason that I consider the most important of all? It’s never mentioned on a list of dangers or hazardous effects from GMO farming, but I believe it is a true casualty of modern “farming” practices. Ready for it?
Pride in growing. Pride in making our own food. Pride in knowing that it’s healthy and not harmful. In a country that was literally built on farming, this should matter.
Growing our own food brings our family together — both in the garden and at the table
Tell me where the pride is in having biotechnology companies make our food? Yes, the same companies that produce chemicals (Dupont and Monsanto) produce our food in a lab. Which I think is just creepy.
Not that I wouldn’t be proud if I “invented” a genetically modified item like the Arctic Apple that never turns brown (which is now on the grocery shelf, by the way). But I wouldn’t be proud if said apple would, in all likelihood, wipe out another species of insect or plant, and possibly cause new and unknown diseases in humans. Oh yeah, and probably alter the entire balance of our ecosystem in ways we can only speculate because there hasn’t been enough research on the long-term effects of genetic engineering (90 days of testing should be long enough to see if anything bad happens, right? Our FDA thinks so). But look at the cool apple I made!
The good news is that we can always grow our own food – even a small, indoor basil plant makes a difference – because it builds pride. When Lars gets to pick an enormous zucchini that he helped grow (enormous because of those strange natural resources called soil, sun and water), I know it makes him proud – and what is more important than that?
Maybe knowing that he won’t grow lizard scales.