Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time to Speak Up

It is time to speak up!
I grew up in a farming community in Central California. My Dad worked for a two major produce companies, so I feel a bit rebellious and traitorous going organic and speaking against big corporate produce companies. However, I do feel that it also gave me a front row seat to what actually goes on within these companies and the "research" that is behind many of the genetically engineered foods. I am not sure how many consumers are aware of how genetically modified our food really is these days. I am not speaking about cross pollinating cauliflower with broccoli to make it more frost resistant. But, the adding of Round Up in corn to keep weeds out of the fields for easier harvesting. Fish DNA in strawberries to keep them frost resistant. Heavily, used herbicides and insecticide used in the fields to prevent weeds and bugs. Growth hormones and antibiotics in milk. The continuous cross breeding of Cornish chickens to make them grow so fast that they can't live past 9 weeks. Beyond 9 weeks they die of lung diseases and broken bones. This is the variety of chicken found in the grocery stores. Do I need to go on? Where are all the bees?

Bottom Line: Produce companies are not growing food to feed the nation or the world. They are in the business to make money. Growing produce is a risky and expensive process. Anyone who has tried to coax a tomato plant to produce a juicy tomato knows how much energy and time goes into this process. Now times that by several hundred acres. Speaking of tomatoes; tomatoes are harvested green and then "gassed" to turn red. That is why there is such a huge taste difference between home grown and grocery bought. The produce companies also acquire huge incentives and deals to grow produce for other countries. The cherries grown in Oregon and Washington are mostly shipped to Japan and Asia. Produce companies like, Dole and Monsanto, create genetically engineered produced for quick growth so they can sell it overseas.
This is the scarey part... Dole and Monsanto are behind the Round-up engineered corn and wheat grown for forage. But, that forage grain isn't solely used here in the United States. It is sent to Mexico and else where. I am sadden and angered to hear that many Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's) in the Midwest are not growing the heirloom corns and wheat for fear of cross pollination with genetically modified corn and wheat. In addition to this insult, Monsanto has "acquired" the legal right to sue farmers for "patent infringement" if the fields are cross pollinated. Now, keep in mind that corn is pollinated by the wind, so is wheat. If an heirloom field is planted in the vicinity of a genetically modified field the pollen of the two fields could mix in the air and created a whole new variety. This changes the worth of the grain and the potential worth. Many of these CSA's are "Mom and Pop" farms or small family farms and can't afford to fight against a huge corporation like Dole or Monsanto.
Current research is starting to show that genetically modified produce is having an effect our people. Research is pointing to the increase of Autism, allergies, and other health impairments as the effect of these genetically modified produce.
This is where "We the People" need to step in and support our local CSA's and CSA's in other states. Money speaks louder then words at times.
Support your local CSA's, buy only heirloom variety plants and produce and animals, and if you can or inclined to, support your local meat farms. Write letters to the politicians and activists in support for research in long term safety of genetically modified produce and animals. We should push for laws, like the ones successfully passed in Ohio, to label products containing genetically engineered ingredients. Support through, as one farmer friend of mine put it, the "pocket book" is a loud support.
Lets not let Dole and Monsanto dictate what we can and can not eat.

"If we have a dead ocean, we have a dead planet."~ Paul Watson

Bless Bless

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