GMO/GE Update: Harvard Professor in Public Policy and a whole lot of farmers and corporations think world regulations are too strong. ..
The latest newsletter from ISAA says that the American Soybean Association has joined up with the Illinois Soybean Association to push for biotech crop approval. They met in Washington, D.C. A quote from the Chairman of the Illinois group, stated, "It is critical that agriculture let policymakers and regulators in Washington know how much farmers need biotechnology to sustainably produce food for the world's population." As if millions do not continue to starve. As if soybeans were the answer.
I know that various colleges and universities are actively involved in advancing policies and changes that make a lot of people cringe, but reading that the public policy professor acts as an advisor, (they wrote "adviser," to global food and agricultural organization, and that he emphasized that preventing biotec in poorer countries deprives the people of food.
Funny. The reports from farmers in poorer countries are that they want nothing to do with genetically-engineered crops or animals.. Readers really should subscribe to that newsletter.
Put aside your Stephen King and your dystopian novels. While states struggle with the question of mere labeling of GMO foods, you need to take a look at the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Application (ISAA).
I subscribe to the newsletter, but can only read it intermittently, due to the incredible force and power and infiltration of these methods.
In any event, you can judge for yourselves, and that's always best. If you're feeling courageous today, you can read up at www.isaaa.org Yup. They're an "org." And hold on - they're messing with the genetics of cattails, too.
From where I sit, seed-saving could not be more precious than it is now. It's a good thing that folks like those at the Belfast Food Co-op encourage the practice.
We're not talking minor hybridization here. Here's a little snippet indicating the scope:
"BEIJING (Feb. 13, 2014) — The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) today released a report which indicates more than 18 million farmers in 27 countries planted biotech crops in 2013, reflecting a five million, or three percent, increase in global biotech crop hectarage. 2013 also marks the first-ever commercial plantings of drought-tolerant biotech maize in the United States.
Global biotech crop hectarage has increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to over 175 million hectares in 2013. During this 18 year period, more than a 100-fold increase of commercial biotech crop hectarage has been reported. The United States continues to lead global biotech crop plantings at 70.1 million hectares or 40 percent of total global hectares"
So. What to do with this information. Purchase organic seeds. Save seeds. Hold onto those old roses and apple trees. Lobby against the U.S. being a "world leader" in this particular arena. and ask politicians running for office where they stand on the issue.
Post Script: Ignorance sure isn't bliss. Not wanting to take rotted pumpkins to the landfill, and figuring if I put them in the ground something will grow, I deposited the pumpkins in the ground at home. Well, they surely did grow, but the fruit varies widely, reverting back as it has, I think, to some version of the parent plants. I'm not sure if I've inadvertently created a monster, or destroyed one. It gets better. I planted heirloom pumpkin seeds, but due to the open breeding habit, the genetics were altered and I'm not sure just what I've got here, other than it being a relative. This two foot square bit of seed planting has the capability of altering the genetics of squashes over great distances. That's 2 square feet. (I'm sorry).
Pumpkins are a native plant to North America. A food staple, getting people through harsh winters, they were a food that saved many lives. They weren't "décor." The decorating pumpkins we see now are not food.
This on pumpkin history from Colonial Williamsburg: http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Autumn09/pumpkins.cfm
I take no comfort in my ignorance. Bigger and better and more uniform, and just "more," was always a part of my science education. But even as a child I knew that the true plants were the best. My mother knew it. My grandparents knew it. And, by default, if not by wisdom and observation, I knew it. When did I go to seed? And no botanist, I. When autumn comes, will I be able to resist purchasing Jack-O-Lantern-bred pumpkins for decor, or be content with the 'monsters' I hand a hand in creating. One thing is certain here - the visible proof of the influence of 2 square feet on genetics.
I must add that I'm not happy with what I read on some of the heirloom seed websites. World food domination and more fear and people fighting over true seeds sure isn't helping matters. And why should organic seeds and vegetables be so much higher in cost, for large producers, (not the small grower trying to survive), making it so tempting, and necessary?, to purchase monster foods. I mean, in balance, they grow well, and the expense is less because fertilizers and all that rot aren't purchased. Then, too, "organic," or "grown using sustainable methods," often does not guarantee origin. Plant tags and labels used to indicate origin or hybrid level. I don't see that now.
Another confession. I allowed myself to be swayed by the outstanding beauty of an Echinacea. I saw that it was "proven," and knew to stay away from it, but I talked myself out of caring about its origins. I mean, it's Echinacea - a very old plant. Not this one. Buying it was akin to the pretense surrounding knowledge of the poisonous and beneficial uses of tobacco - as if that hasn't been known since the beginning of human communication. This Echinacea is a perennial, which means that if I leave it, it would be, I'm guessing, generations before it would revert to origin. I'm pulling the plant now. An intentional reinforcement gesture, if nothing else. Just as I know that in life, in a good life, accepting perceived failures on equal terms with perceived successes gives balance, a mega, guaranteed flower is a deception. No "super" plants for me.
I hadn't known about the protests earlier this year pertaining to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on plants, often sold as bee and butterfly attractors. Lowe's, Home Depot, and WalMart were given as examples of stores selling the pesticide-inoculated plants, (and, fortunately, I bought none this year), but it's reasonable to assume that other nurseries, which sell the same "winning" plants are - well, they're selling the same garbage. Research is fairly conclusive that the pesticides are directly contributing to the death of the world bee population. Without pollinators, there are no crops. Making matters worse, it is written that the pesticides stay active in soil and will infiltrate wild and organic plants - for years.
Here are two websites for further research. Note that The European Union banned the three most widely used neonicotinoids . Why hasn't the United States?
I think the researches also need to take laundry product toxic exhausts into consideration.
Pig farmers take notice:: I'm switching to lard. But lard without BHA and BHT is running $20.00 a pound...so maybe something to save for.
A newly-found website: todayyesterdayandtomorrow.wordpress.com/ on GM foods and politics, leading to other unfortunate stories that may X the use of the few processed foods I use, including a spaghetti sauce, and my favorite crackers. And for a list of verified non-GMO foods - not every non-GMO food producer is listed here: http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/search-participating-products/