Saturday, November 10, 2012

The GMO Fight is Still in Full Force!

California’s Proposition 37 did not pass this week. At first I was disappointed, and now I am motivated to do more. My best friend and I decided we are going to collect seeds for a time capsule to pass onto our grandchildren to be able to plant wholesome food in the future. We were just joking on Facebook, and then I learned there are people who are actually hoarding Non-GMO seeds in deep freezers across the country!! It made me smile to know we are not the only ones thinking about what it will take to assure whole foods for future generations (and I do have a deep freeze that is in need of being filled…)

Then, another friend posted a comment on my Facebook page asking what the big deal was with GMO or Non-GMO labels? 

Well, the big deal is our health!

This is where the motivation comes in… Let the positive education begin!

Seed hoarding should not be the way we pass on healthy food to the future. The great thing about California and the masses heading to the polls with this hot issue is that there are now more educational tools, resources, and advocacy groups available for people everywhere to learn more about GMO’s.

Just in case you don’t know, GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. Scientists have discovered ways to make a seed durable enough to grow after pesticides are applied. So the insects and weeds die, but not the actual crop. National Geographic has a great little online article (Link #1 below) defining organic and GMO crops, and explaining the differences.

GMO’s are in everything. You name it, cereal, crackers, breads, and yes - even meats.
For years I have avoided GMO foods, mostly because there was no research on either side explaining what effects genetically modified foods may have on our body or our environment. 

People have made fun of me and called uppity, a hippie, and well…I just say I have been healthy! There is finally research on the effect of GMO’s. Sadly, it doesn’t look good for the human body. A group of scientists in France did a study on the long-term effects of GMO consumption. Natural news published some of the outcomes and the findings are overwhelmingly negative:

• Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.

• Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.

• Rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage.

• The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GM corn that's grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that's in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.

The study is entitled, "A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health." The pictures of the rats are horrible, and not ones I want to publish. It tears my heart and then makes me think of all of the sickness, disease and the high rate of cancer that we have right here at home. Eating organic just became even more important to me than ever before. 

I’ve daydreamed about winning the lottery and what I would do with millions of dollars. The funny thing is that I have been in non-profit way too long and I don’t imagine spending all of that money on myself. Instead, I would create and fund a nonprofit designed to advocate, support, expand and sustain organic farming. Not because I am a huger farmer, or come from a farming family. Rather, I see this as one of the ways to make the largest impact on so many of the issues facing the world today including environmental, hunger, and sustainability. 

Daydreaming is best in fields full of flowers
I would love to be able see farmland that goes up for auction purchased and put in the hands of an organic farmer (a lot of money would be invested in this). I know that some of the barriers facing young people (well people of any age) who would like to farm are the costs. The cost of land, equipment and for an organic farmer the licensing, training, and legal fees is exorbitant. Legal fees is one area where I have read organic farmers have the most trouble, especially when going up against corporate giants like Monsanto. 

My lottery-funded program would loan organic farmers acreages and provide monetary loans for equipment in exchange for supporting the other parts of the program. In exchange, farmers participating would help to train and support other young people interested in organic farming methods. After so many years the land is theirs, with the stipulation they donate back to the program with their time, talent, and wholesome food to help feed those in need. It is a daydream, but any time you want to buy me a lottery ticket, I promise the winnings would be put to good use!  

((And for people that know me really well, yes this is my secret plot to feed the hungry and change the world. This program would provide wholesome, healthy food, directly from farmers to those in need. Low-income families say that the price of fresh fruit and vegetables are too high and this program would go right to the source to provide these items to those people who need it most… Wouldn’t it be great to see crates of fresh vegetables shipped to the food bank in the poorest counties in the US? …Yeah, I think this program would rock!!!))

Back to reality from my millionaire daydream world….

While researching, I found the organization Cornucopia, which is already providing resources and support to organic farmers! Hooray!

Cornucopia is advocating and helping to educate the public on organic foods, the effects of genetically modified crops, etc. They are also helping to raise dollars to support organic farmers in large lawsuits!

I wholeheartedly recommend a nice long visit to the Cornucopia website. Become a member, donate, get involved, and make a difference. The only way we as Americans are going to be able to stand up to corporate lobbyists is through education and lobbying efforts for what is good and wholesome

And - Good news Iowa!! According to a USDA study, Iowa ranks #5 in the number of certified organic farms in the USA. That is a start, Go Iowa!! 

Now, the big question is: What do we do? What steps can we take to get regulations in place to label our food and help preserve natural farming methods?

How can we make a difference so the next time a vote comes up to label food, it is done?

Learn more:

National Geographic Link

Abstract of French Study, "A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health." :

Natural News – with review of GMO Study

Cornucopia Website

Iowa Dept. of Agriculture Release on Organic Farming