Friday, May 31, 2013

I just want to be a farmer

Do you eat packaged food in America?  If so, you are most likely eating a fun thing called GMOs.




I am sure all of you at some point have heard of GMOs in recent years aka genetically modified organism.  Just in case you haven't here's a quick definition:



"...GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights...."



I always remember this quote and honestly, it scares me.  "We are no longer eating foods.  We are eating food like products."  I don't want to wonder what I am eating, I want to know that a carrot is carrot, that a cow is a cow, that pasta is actually pasta.  This is not a game, this is my family's health, their well-being.

The major problem I have with GMO foods - I don't TRULY know which ones are and which are not.  The United States does not have a requirement to label these science experiments.  There has been a lot of work to hide them as well by corporations due to growing US fear.  However, a lot of national attention is trying to change this, but so far we are not getting anywhere with the movement.  I was very hopeful that when Obama was elected, this would change.  However, it hasn't...here is a great example:


Obama appointed Michael Taylor, former VP of Monstano (leading in GMOs) to Deputy Commissioner of the FDA.  

I have no words.

The worst part is how far behind America is at banning the use of GMOs in our food.  Nearly everywhere else in the world, GMOs are banned or restricted.  Here's a look:
"Africa: In Africa, both Algeria and Egypt have laws restricting GMO foods. In Algeria, both the planting and distribution of GMO foods is illegal, while in Egypt, GMO foods must be approved before they can be distributed. 
Asia: In Asia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Japan and the Philippines all have laws limiting GMO foods. Both Sri Lanka and Thailand had bans on imported GMOs as early as 2001, while the rest of the countries have had more recent bans. 
Europe: In Europe, Norway, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Luxembourg and Portugal have put in place GMO restrictions. France made an important step in the no-GMO movement by specifically defining exactly what "GMO-free" means when it comes to food labeling. Ireland has banned all growing and cultivating of GMO foods and the European Union -- a governing coalition of European countries -- has considered a Europe-wide banning of GMO foods. 
The Middle East: In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has banned the growing of GMO foods and the importing of GMO wheat. 
The Americas: While the United States still largely allows for the growth and import of GMO foods and does not demand food labeling, South American countries such as Brazil and Paraguay have restrictions on GMO foods."



So here we are America...behind the curve of health, of our substance, our survival.  Why you may ask?


Big Business...

Profits...

Corporate America.

So, let's learn a little about Monsanto, the US leading biotech company:
"Monsanto was among the first to genetically modify a plant cell, along with three academic teams, which was announced in 1983, and was among the first to conduct field trials of genetically modified crops, which it did in 1987. It remained one of the top 10 U.S. chemical companies until it divested most of its chemical businesses between 1997 and 2002, through a process of mergers and spin-offs that focused the company on biotechnology. 
Monsanto was a pioneer in applying the biotechnology industry business model to agriculture, using techniques developed by Genentech and other biotech drug companies in the late 1970s in California.[7] In this business model, companies invest heavily in research and development, and recoup the expenses through the use and enforcement of biological patents.[8][9][10][11] Monsanto's application of this model to agriculture, along with a growing movement to create a global, uniform system of plant breeders' rights in the 1980s, came into direct conflict with customary practices of farmers to save, reuse, share and develop plant varieties.[12] Its seed patenting model has also been criticized as biopiracy and a threat to biodiversity.[13][14][15] Monsanto's role in these changes in agriculture (which include its litigation and its seed commercialization practices[16]), its current and former agbiotech products, its lobbying of government agencies, and its history as a chemical company, have made Monsanto controversial."

What happened to the days our food sources were controlled by the average American family?  Farmer's working all day, dirty hands, pride, and information passed down from generation to generation.  We are at the point in America where we are allowing ONE COMPANY to manage our entire food source. Biotech companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMOs therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States.

I don't even want to get into the issues of power, market cornering, and overall ETHICS.   Best part is? Monstano is taking over our food source without you knowing.  They have been slowly controlling the seed distribution, ensuring Monstano seeds are grown and distributed in YOUR local grocery store.  These modified crops are also sprayed with harmful chemicals and protections in order to kill off pests.  As well as killing our bee populations.


Those farmer's who are avoiding these concerns, growing safetly and in a healthy manner?  They are having to pay numerous fees and certifications in order to become certified organic.  Making there crops cost more than the poison filled GMO products.  How does this make any sense?  


I could go on and on for days on the health issues, corporate issues, and so forth.  However, I just wanted to give you an quick informational post about what you are buying.  I encourage researching your foods, finding ways to avoid GMO projects and please, vote to label GMOs.  Make your loved ones aware.  If you'd like some information, check out these sites:




Educate yourself.  

Grow a small garden with GMO free seeds.  

Know what you are putting in your home for your family to eat.


2 comments:

  1. The very last quote is the zinger.

    If we only KNEW, we could make educated, wise, careful decisions.

    But we are being intentionally kept in the dark.

    Truly disheartening, and makes me want to go all Little House On The Prairie with how our family lives sustainably.

    Good post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I had to do a 101 for people still in the dark. I'm working hard to make my family as free from GMO as possible. A lot of awareness has been helping me bridge the gap but we need to beat this!

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