GMO Seed

The question we have been pondering this week: Which is the worse of two evils, using vehicles that run on oil or on Genetically Modified Corn and Soy? We are not happy with our vehicle situation right now, and as we discuss what other options we might have for our five person family, this question keeps surfacing, should we try to find diesels to convert to biodiesel or not. After two different incidents this week, it is hard to imagine using biodiesel when the production of this fuel is produced with crops that are grown with genetically modified seed (not to mention with what we consider extremely destructive farming practices).
The first was the number of comments I received about our purple beans at Farmer’s Market this week. Many people who were age 50-70 mentioned that the used to eat these as little children, usually referencing that they were grown by a grandparent of theirs. One comment like this wouldn’t have surprised me, but I kept hearing this all day. I began to think again about why we like to grow heirloom varieties. We love this connection to the past, to a time when our plates were not so limited. There are literally thousands of varieties of different vegetables, and our modern diet consumes regularly only about 30. The care with which people have always cared for and preserved seed is a concept that is lost of us today.
But this care was taken for a reason. We tend to take food availability for granted these days, and simply assume that the farmers will always have the seed to grow the food that we eat. The truth of the matter is that whole seedstock crops fail every year. Now that we have limited the kinds of green beans that are grown by the large portion of growers to only a few, we have greatly limited our ability to pull through crop failures. Biodiversity abounds in nature because it is essential to survival.
Now we have genetically modified seeds to worry about as well. In an after dinner conversations with fellow farm share members, we discussed the case of Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, whose canola fields were contaminated with GMO seed, and was then sued by Monsanto because their seed is patented. He lost this case. We can’t grow corn in our bottom field because our neighbor grows GMO corn, and whether or not we would get sued for “stealing” seed or not, we don’t want our corn to cross pollinate with this questionable seed. Whether or not these giant pharmo-chemical-seed companies intend to harm the world or not, these are serious issues. Seed diversity could be lost, small farmers could be finally shoved off the playing field. I love looking through the seed catalogs, choosing new , albeit old, plant varieties. I feel in my gut that these colors, these differences, keep us strong and healthy, and bring enjoyment to life.

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