Sunday, June 20, 2010

Are GMOs in your garden?

I try to not be preachy to people about my food choices and why I do and don't eat certain things. One of the reasons is I don't like it when people preach to me and another is that I am not perfect in my decisions. Sometimes I don't do things for financial reasons, like I can't afford to buy everything I eat organic, and sometimes because I just don't wanna. I like syrup. Sorry. I do. I tried using 100% pure maple syrup, but it isn't the same. And sometimes I want waffles with syrup. I have cut back significantly, but sometimes I have a craving. Buuut, anyway, I was having a conversation with co-workers about how much we spend on groceries a month. Well apparently the Hubs and I spend more on groceries each month than some families of 4. This does not bother me because as they always say, you are what you eat. So when asked why we spend so much I went on and on about the dirty dozen and GMOs. It was then mentioned that you could avoid GMOs by buying local and from roadside stands. Well, that is not actually true.

Agrochemical multinationals (read Monsanto) are not just manufacturers of GM soy and corn, they are also in the vegetable seed business. And those seeds can be bought for your home garden. How did this happen? Well, agrochemical companies bought up seed companies. So over the last few decades we went from having hundreds of companies selling seeds to a handful. Yes there are some anti-trust questions that can be raised here, but this is more about the environmental and health effects.

So by having a handful of companies owning the seed supply, diversity is seeds has significantly decreased. This leads to increased attack from insects and disease, which then leads to increased use of pesticides and herbicides. But that's ok because the same companies that own the seeds also produce the pesticides. (That was said in my most sarcastic voice).

This basically means that if you buy conventional seeds or if you buy fruits and vegetables from the local food stand there is a HUGE chance that they could be genetically modified. You always have to ask. There is no benefit of using organic practices in your personal garden if the seeds you purchase are genetically modified. You will be wasting your time.

The best thing to do is buy organic seeds which by definition cannot be GM. Research the companies you buy from. And this part can be hard because companies are bought and sold all the time. But basically, it is all in the seeds.

For more information on this topic, go here. They also have a handy flow chart that shows which parent company owns the smaller seed companies.

...and now you know.

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