I read an article today on CNN that attempted to discuss obesity in American. One of the potential causes that the author seemed to carefully avoid was the impact of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) has had upon our food supply. Read the wikipedia article.. it is scary how much of our food is altered and has been since 1990’s (hmmm, about the same time that obesity started becoming an epidemic.. coincidence?)
I’m not going to attempted to discuss all sides of this issue (it’s my blog and I can do what I want :-), but I do want to throw in my two cents to the on-going discussion.
I was raised in a farming community in the mid-west. I have seen the wide use of fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals in traditional agriculture. I can remember in the late 70’s loading seed corn into the seeder for planting and how all of the seed was already coated with chemicals. We were told to “try not to breath the dust, it will damage your lungs”.
As an adult, I began gardening on a large scale for my families use. The first couple of years of gardening, I avoided the use of pesticides, but just bought any old seed, assuming it was all the same, thinking that I was doing organic gardening. I had okay results and assumed that I was providing good food for my family.
Then I tried heirloom produce that a friend had grown (organically, of course) and the taste was so incredible compared to what I had been growing. The following year, after shifting all of our garden produce to heirloom, I was amazed at how much less waste we had for several reasons:
1) It tasted better, so more of it got eaten.
2) Our health improved (I believe because we were eating less GMO food), so we were better able to tend the garden and process the extra food.
Recently California attempted to require the labeling of all foods to including whether the food contains GMO products. It was defeated by a small margin, with the defeat being financed by GMO seed companies and companies that widely use GMO products in their production. This includes several companies that label their food healthy and organic!
So, here is my suggestion: If the true organic, heirloom, companies begin to label all of their products as GMO Free, including on the label that the product is made from organically grown heirloom seeds, by default, anyone who doesn’t include the information GMO free, is be producing GMO based products. Simple, right?
Okay, some might argue, how will the companies be kept honest? Well, that is always a problem, but there is this law of Truth in Advertising. Yes, some will attempted play loose with the truth, there will always be liars amongst us. Eventually they are fined or sued or driven out of business. There was a problem for years that many companies used the term “organic” on their food when it was not. The legal definition of organic is that the food was produced with non-GMO seed, without the use of pesticides or fertilizers (generally speaking.. for the full definition, you can check out the wikipedia article). Which is why I recommend the use of the term heirloom seeds in the label. Fortunately, using the term Organic is beginning to mean what it is suppose to mean.
So that’s my rant: Grow your own organic, heirloom garden this spring and look for products that are labeled as GMO free. It will be hard to find them at first, but if we continue to demand them, more companies will begin carrying them.
BTW, I purchase my organic, heirloom seed from Baker Creek Seeds, which can be found at http://www.rareseed.com