Monday, December 29, 2008

Up with GMO and Down with Local???

I woke up this morning with a couple of articles from the current issue of Organic Gardening Magazine on my mind. Even though I had tried to talk myself out of the futile effort of writing a letter to the editor (they never run my letters), I felt compelled. Perhaps by sharing my response with you, Dear Reader, the effort will be less futile, and together we can encourage intelligent thought, if not dialog, on the issues at hand.

The article I found most disturbing was called Organic + GMO? Here’s my response:
Organic + GMO? NO!

When I first read about genetic engineering to produce virus resistant crops, papayas in Hawaii were being discussed. My initial reaction was that it was a good thing. However, the more I thought about it, the more fool hardy that “good thing” seemed. If we utilized small farms to grow plots of intercropped and genetically diverse foods (and plants that attract beneficial creatures) the pests, diseases, and viruses would never get the upper hand. Genetic engineering, even when it is done for the “right reasons,” contributes to large mono-crop plantations, orchards, and mega fields. These in turn are easy prey to viruses, diseases, and pests. Once these problems adapt to a single plant, they have adapted to the entire genetically identical planting. At a time the planet is facing massive climate change, desertification, and crop failures—the prudent thing would be to encourage genetic diversity, regional and cultural varieties, and experimentation with underutilized food plants. Valuing the products of genetic engineering takes our personal food security out of our own hands and places it in mega-corporations back pockets. The result of this trend is increasing hunger around the world. Corporations may have a slick sales pitch, but we still have the power and intelligence to resist.

The second article, called Menus Matter More Than Miles, is a very misleading attempt to take our attention off of where our food comes from and direct us towards eating less commercial produced meat and dairy products. The reality is that we need to do both. I posted my response to this article on my little Harvest’s Thoughts page:

If you would like to add your two cents to either of these topics, please feel free to use the comment or reply feature!

For more on all these issues, please request that your local library add Food Security & Sustainability for the Times Ahead to their circulating collection. You will be glad you did.

Just in case you wonder what else I think about, you can check out my recent post on Native Literature here:

And here are some winter photos from around my place: