That is the question …
And ultimately it is up to you and you alone to answer.
control the food and you'll control the people."
Henry Kissinger (1970)
I have chosen to avoid GMOs. Why?
Well first off, the biotech firms (like Carghil, DOW, Syngenta, Okanagan, Genective and Monsanto to name a few) that are “owners” of the genetically modified seeds, DO NOT allow anyone outside their own industry to perform any studies, yet alone true, documented, scientific studies. Oh they do have some rather ‘intense’ excuses as to why they do not allow this … from corporate espionage fears to convoluted copyright laws and the like. Then, to make matters worse, what studies these seed companies do publish DO NOT contain all the parts to a true scientific experiment (The Research Question, The Hypothesis, The Procedure [and process], Parts of an Experiment [variables & controls], Materials, Results, The Conclusion), yet alone what is needed in a study vs experiment.
So, to me, ANY entity that is NOT willing to let scientists and students from around the globe perform their own independent (a true scientific) study on their product – is “bad” or “suspect science” and not worth more than the paper it is printed on. It’s a huge red flag that these studies and experiments CANNOT be quantified. Pure and simple – Why on earth would ANY entity be afraid of a non-biased, independent scientific study?
Second, I don’t like the shysterism that these biotech firms use with their “farmer contracts”. When I read these contracts it reminds me of the US Welfare system – a TRAP and nothing but, as well as an economical heyday only for the biotech firms, NOT the farmer and most certainly not us consumers.
but actually, it is insane not to."
Thirdly, one set of facts these biotech firms cannot hinder is that those farmers that get stuck planting their GM seeds continue to NEED fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Yet, isn’t that supposed to be some of the stuff these GM seeds and plants are supposed to reduce? - At least according to the studies published (only) by these biotech firms.
first of all in facts and in values — the facts of individual diversity and genetic uniqueness and the values of freedom, tolerance and mutual charity, which are the ethical corollaries of these facts."
(Brave New World Revisited)
Fourth, the recent droughts in the bread basket of the US have proven, in the real world, that these so-called drought resistant GM seeds are just as susceptible to lack of water as non-GM and in some areas, even more susceptible.
Fifth, since because of Reason 1, all the studies to date on the effects of GM food products on humans is at best “tainted” and that is IF it is possible to find one NOT funded by (and hence controlled and manipulated by) the biotech firms. This leaves a huge hole that we can fly a fleet of Starship Enterprises through!
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the lives of my loved ones and me – I will error on the safe side! Hence I am 100% behind clear and concise labeling of ANY and ALL GMO foods and ingredients. This labeling will help us decide for ourselves if we want to consume these things, which is the basic principle behind ALL of our founding documents – Freedom of Choice (within the constraints of the 10 Commandments or the Golden Rule).
Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)
On top of the GMO threat, we in America are also facing the scourge of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers that our food products are washed in, grown in or sprayed with and food animals are injected with other chemicals, antibiotics and hormones; many of which are labeled as poisons!
Other things are done to our foods like dyes in beef and salmon, along with saline solution injections for “plumping” and other “aesthetic treatments” – just to get us to buy the product. (The 6 Creepiest Lies the Food Industry is Feeding You http://www.cracked.com/article_19896_the-6-creepiest-lies-food-industry-feeding-you.html)
On top of all of that - Very little of this is labeled; we don’t have the foggiest idea that we are consuming these chemicals!
As goes California, so goes the nation!
Shortly, California voters will have a chance to exercise their Freedom of Choice on an unprecedented bill in their state congress – Proposition 37 (GMO Labeling requirement). I hope the voters will choose in favor of the labeling to allow true Freedom of Choice to all of its citizens and set the precedent for other states to follow suit.
Below is a list of the top 10 contributors to the No on 37 campaign, which is trying to stop GMO labeling in California: (This is another red flag – What are these corporations afraid of?)
1) Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO, $7,100,500
2) E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co., Washington, DC, $4,900,000
3) BASF Plant Science, Research Triangle Park, NC, $2,000,000
4) Bayer CropScience, Research Triangle Park, NC, $2,000,000
5) Dow Agrosciences LLC, Indianapolis, IN, $2,000,000
6) PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, NY, $1,716,300
7) Nestle USA, Inc., Glendale, CA, $1,169,400
8) Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta, GA, $1,164,400
9) ConAgra Foods, Omaha, NE, $1,076,700
10) Syngenta Corporation, Washington, DC, $1,000,000
Corporatism or oligarchy (marriage of our government with corporate backed political parties) plays a major role in incomplete and inaccurate food labeling, the shysterism of “agribusiness” and the downfall of good old fashioned agriculture.
All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land."
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
As of April 2012, 10 companies that own most of our food-grocery products and Organic Operations Accounted For Less Than 1% of Total Crop Acreage in 2008!
Keep in mind that in the United States:
- The term “Natural” does NOT have a legal description or any regulations for use.
- The term “Fresh” does NOT have a legal description or any regulations for use. However, the food industry generally “accepts” that as long as only refrigeration (and air circulation, including gassing) was applied and the item arrives at the point of sale in under 5 weeks, that the item is considered fresh.
- The term “Local” to the Fed generally means anything up to and including 400 miles from where it was grown/raised and farmers generally consider up to 50 miles local.
- The term “Organic” in the US is the one of the most loosely defined by law of ALL the nations in the Codex Alimentarius. IE: Much of what the US terms organic would not be considered so in many other nations.
- The terms “Natural” and “Organic” are NOT interchangeable.
- The average distance from the farm to your table is 1,500 miles for “fresh” produce and a typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table.
- In 1866; 1,186 varieties of fruits and vegetables were produced in California. Today, California's farms produce only 350 commercial crops.
In 2001 the US imported:
- 68.2% of our fish and shellfish
- 27.3 percent of confectionary products
- 21.4 percent of fruits, juices and nuts
- 15.5 percent of vegetable oils
- 9.3 percent of red meat
- Hawaii imports 90% of its food.
- According to a report by USDA in 2007, US fresh produce imports have exceeded exports starting in 1990.
Now add us consumers. How much do we know about what it takes to produce our food? Most of us don’t understand the basic intricacies and inter-dependencies that bring foods to our grocery stores, restaurants and tables. There is nothing really wrong with that. What is wrong is when we let others have us believing that “just this one little thing” is the problem or the solution.
Reality is that it is NOT JUST the farmer/rancher, government or corporatization of our agriculture; it is NOT JUST meat eaters or dwindling bio-diversity.
How many of us know what is actually produced in the U.S. or imported and what is seasonal or not in our area?
Do we know what products are GMO, what are sprayed or injected and the like?
Do we demand and hold accountable the food processors and our government as strictly as our food producers or do we “let someone else worry about it”?
How many of us actually know what we consume in a week?
Ultimately we the Citizen/Consumer have the power to hold the government and corporations accountable. We have the power to read the labels on our food, purchase local and in season; avoid GMO’s and demand honest labeling. Other countries are doing this, so we can darn sure do it too!
the best shares are plow shares;
and the best banks are the fertile banks of a rural stream;
the more these are broken the better dividends they pay."
Henry Ward Beecher
Benefits of Buying Local:
- Communities reap more economic benefits from the presence of small farms than they do from large ones. Studies have shown that small farms re-invest more money into local economies by purchasing feed, seed and other materials from local businesses, whereas large farms often order in bulk from distant companies. Large factory livestock farms also degrade local property values because of the intense odors they emit and other environmental problems they cause.
- In the U.S., a wheat farmer can expect to receive about six cents of each dollar spent on a loaf of bread—approximately the cost of the wrapping.
- Farmers' markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer over 5 to 25 cents of each consumer dollar via supermarkets and grocery stores.
- About 1/3 of all U.S. farms are located within metropolitan areas, comprising 18% of total U.S. farmland.
Eugene F. Ware
The Farm Bill 2012 aka Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2012
The bills in the House and Senate that comprise this bill have been in debate since 2011. That is because in late 2012 the previous bill of 2008 expires. There are all kinds of innocuous “riders” and “clauses” in the 2012 bill, ranging from energy usage, to corporate exemptions, to climate change. We must watch these bills and be sure they are for the family LLC farmer/rancher and NOT just for the corporate farm/ranch.
Now most of us may think that this bill only affects farmers and ranchers – WE ARE WRONG!
This bill determines all the emergency funds allocated to farmers and ranchers, like say for this year’s drought; Farm/Ranch subsidies; School Lunch programs; the Food Stamp program, subsidies, corporate exemptions (not LLC but Big Business) and a slew of other “programs” that affect each and every citizen of the United States!
What Can We Do?
- Buy in season
- Buy Local
- Read the Label
- Plant a vegetable garden, change your yard to edible landscaping
- Use only open-pollinated seeds. (Remember that all Heritage/Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated but NOT all open-pollinated seeds are heirloom.)
- Question the purchasing manager at your local farmers markets and super markets and let them know how you feel about imported, GMO and non-organic items.
- Let your government officials know you want truth in labeling
- Tell the government that you want the corporatism to STOP
- Don’t settle for the “lesser of evils” and vote accordingly!
As you can see all these different things are all related and inter-dependent on each other. It’s no wonder our food system, not to mention, food quality is rapidly declining.
To find out how to read PLU (Price LookUp number) codes, nutritional labels, Proposition 37, Farm Bill 2012, what is in season or not-imported or not and, about GMO food products, avoiding pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other chemicals in our food, as well as legislation around the US and the world go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/106962269/To-GMO-or-Not-to-GMO