We’re Going Non-GMO (and why)

We’re going non-GMO … and here’s why.

Two reasons why non-GMO is important for consumers and farmers.

Hint: it’s not chiefly about health for us. (That may surprise you, so read on to see what sits higher than health implications in our book.)

But before we get to that, did you hear about this?

(Shop gift cards before December 15th to be entered to win!)

Now on to our main subject today…

There’s a lot of buzz among consumers and producers about non-GMO food. This is not a new idea, and you’ve likely already either deemed it important, concerning, fanatical, or irrelevant.

Whatever your camp, there are two issues tied to non-GMO foods that you likely haven’t considered before.

We’ve been committed to non-GMO for years but have lacked the storage capacity and local sourcing to incorporate it into our feeding regimen until now. (We want to be able to pronounce everything going into the feed rations for our animals so buying it pre-mixed has never been an option.)

There are plenty of articles and passionate people out there talking about the health implications of putting genetically modified organisms and their accompanying glyphosate (used in Roundup) pesticide companions into our bodies. Lawsuits have been won over the dangers of glyphosate, and there is a growing movement toward GMO-free food labeling.

While this is an important concern of ours, it’s not the chief reason why we’re moving to non-GMO feed on our farm.

We have additional reasons as farmers and providers, and they can be summarized under two main headings…

 

Freedom and food security.

These are issues of prominence post-2020 and not just as it relates to the pandemic.

When farmers buy patented genetically modified seed for their fields each year, they are doing so on condition that they only use that seed for one year. To save seed back from that year’s harvest to use for next year’s planting is illegal.

GMO seed producers can and do pursue legal action against farmers for reusing their seed without paying royalties.

The idea of any company owning an essential resource like food presents insurmountable ethical objections for us, on top of the restraints on freedom this type of patent imposes.

Gone are the days when farmers were self-sufficient, saving seed from year to year and benefitting from the natural adaptations these seeds developed in their local environment. This seed ownership ties farmers to seed companies year after year, ensuring that farmers stay dependent on these major corporations to produce grain for the national food supply.

There are, in fact, only four corporations who now control over 60% of global proprietary seed sales. That means that four giant corporations own over half of the global food supply (because that grain goes into processed food and livestock feed). These corporations have enormous financial resources and widespread inroads into governmental regulatory agencies.

This ever-expanding control over the global food market begs the question of food security.

Let’s consider biological questions: What if our food supply becomes so mono-cultured that one disease wipes out over half of the world’s supply of grain? (The same problem exists in our mono-cultured mass livestock production system as well.)

How do we protect conventional seeds from being contaminated by GMO cross-pollination? (Answer: we can’t. That means all seed could eventually become owned by these companies.)

What if companies like Monsanto decide to use their patented genetic modification technology, dubbed the “Terminator Gene,” that can sterilize seed? (Meaning it can’t be replanted to grow corn again it’s one and done. They’ve currently promised not to use it.)

The potential outcomes here are frightening when you walk out the possible scenarios a few more steps.

And what about economic and political considerations? Have large corporations proven themselves historically as incorruptible and trustworthy servants of the public good?

What happens when these corporations decide to place additional restrictions on the usage of their seed? We’ve already seen grocery stores, retail outlets, and entertainment venues place restrictions on access to their goods and services on the basis of mask usage and vaccine status. In our increasingly polarized society, it’s not a far reach to imagine a scenario in which access to goods is similarly gated based on your political, social, or religious views.

Sounds like a story you’ve read somewhere before, doesn’t it?

By using non-GMO feed in our small farm, we are taking our stand for freedom and food security for all of us. As consumers, we buy non-GMO as often as we’re able. That’s because we know that in a free market, our dollar is our vote.

We brought home our first truckload of non-GMO corn in October.

There’s a small retail shop in the Grand Rapids area that I love to visit. They have beautifully handmade jewelry, scarves, bags, clothes, and gift items. I buy there for myself and others as often as I can. But it’s far away, the prices limit what I can spend, and the hours are somewhat inconvenient for my schedule.

So why would I shop there?

Because the items sold in their store are made by women who have been rescued out of sex trafficking situations. This organization rescues these women, houses them, and gives them the dignity of doing work with their hands that they can be proud of.

So I plan ahead, drive longer, and spend more because I believe in what this organization is doing. I want to support these women, and my dollar is one small way I can help make a way for them.

It’s this kind of conviction that has led us to go non-GMO, even though it’s more expensive, harder to find, and very much against the grain (literally) in our local community. But it’s important for us.

And it’s important for you too.

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