I confess – I have never been much of a gardener, and probably will not become one in this lifetime. I applaud those of you who do grow good food every year, and I am the fortunate and very grateful recipient of lots of very fine produce every summer – the gifts of several friends who are enthusiastic and generous gardeners.
One of my concerns these days, though, is the “takeover” of too many American fields by big companies, more interested in profits than in the health of our citizens, and the proliferation of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops. There are arguments on both sides of the issue, of course – the proponents of GMO farming maintain that the nutritional value of the foods they grow is every bit as high as those whose genetic composition has been left intact. On the other side, there does seem to be a growing body of evidence suggesting that GMO grains fed to lab animals cause a variety of deformations and other disturbances in the animals, and that, basically, the jury is still out on whether or not GMO foods are actually good for people to be eating.
It’s encouraging to me to know that there is a groundswell of farmers and gardeners alike who are actively choosing non-GMO seeds for planting. Recently, for example, a question was submitted to Cheryl Long about where to buy non-GMO seeds for this year’s planting. Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a group of editors which produces high quality content, such that MOTHER EARTH NEWS is rated as one of North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kansas. There she manages a large organic garden, and was a former editor at Organic Gardening magazine for ten years before her present position.
In answer to the question about where to buy non-GMO seeds, Long wrote, “So far, only a handful of common garden crops have genetically engineered, and, as far as we know, no garden seed companies are knowingly selling genetically modified (GM) varieties at this time. Additionally, many garden seed companies sell Certified Organic seeds, and the certification rules prohibit genetic modification. Even if new GM varieties enter the market, as long as you choose Certified Organic garden seeds, you’ll be avoiding genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”
This is comforting news, as I see it. Two mail order companies that offer only Certified Organic seeds are High Mowing Organic Seeds and Seeds of Change. Certified Organic, GMO-free seeds are usually labeled as such in seed catalogs and on racks.
What is not as comforting is that unlike garden seeds, major farm crops – corn, soybeans, canola sugar beets, alfalfa, and cotton – are now predominantly GM, and 70% or more of foods in regular grocery stores directly or indirectly contain GMOs. The fact that growing numbers of people are exhibiting allergic reactions to these crops is cause for concern, if not alarm.
So, blessings to all of you wonderful folks who are doing a good job feeding your families and friends like me with good, clean, unadulterated food. Have a terrific year of planting, growing, and sharing of your bounty!
Tell us what you’re growing this year. Go to my facebook page, Abundant Raw Life, and share your answer. You will encourage others, and we’ll all be better off with your encouragement to choose seeds and food well!