Traversing Through Organic Farms, Genetically Modified Crops, Global Seed Vaults, and the Genetic Integrity of our Food
Organic farmers are turning to the Internet to connect with consumers and create a market for non-genetically modified foodstuffs, hooking up carnivores, vegans, and everyone in between with real, natural food.
The industrialization of farming, and the shift from small farm to agribusiness mass production has compromised the genetic veracity of most of the agricultural commodities we consume. In an effort to maintain the integrity of the foods we eat, projects like LocalHarvest.org are connecting farmer and consumer like never before.
Genetic diversity. It is arguably the most important factor in a healthy ecosystem. It’s the perpetual product of natural selection, and the healthy evolution of organisms ranging from sunflowers to beef cattle. Corporate interest, however, particularly from companies like Monsanto, are concentrated on creating and cornering a market for the genetic makeup of the food we eat.
Consider this: Farmers have been successfully sued and ordered to desist distribution of their crops, because naturally occurring airborne plant propagation from neighboring farms has led to genetically modified seeds ending up amongst their crops; What is the legal precedent here? Companies like Monsanto claim ownership of the genetic code that resides in those seeds that ended up in neighboring farms, and courts uphold the argument that the GMO is the intellectual property of the firm. That’s right, commercial interests have successfully patented the genetic code of plants.
“Many consumers in the US mistakenly believe that the FDA approves GM foods through rigorous, in-depth, long-term studies. In reality, the agency has absolutely no safety testing requirements. Instead the agency relies on research from companies like Monsanto, research that is meticulously designed to avoid finding problems.” – SeedsofDeception.com
The scientific community isn’t sitting idle by, however. The genetic integrity of our earth’s seeds is a crucial issue. As such, the government of Norway has implemented the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. A massive project on the Arctic Archipelago aimed at preserving the aggregate collection of the world’s seeds, the vault’s mission is to “provide a safety net against accidental loss of diversity.” One of their biggest supporters is the Gates Foundation, highly regarded as one of the most progressive and ambitious philanthropic organizations on earth.
Consumers aren’t left without options either. Projects like LocalHarvest.org provide a platform that connects conscious consumers with local farms and farmer’s markets, and allows users to get to know the farms they are buying from. And the best part, it is organized geographically, by commodity, or price, so it is easy to navigate.
Einstein once said, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Granted he was most likely referring to nuclear weapons technology, it still holds true regarding genetic engineering, which is a technology that can have detrimental ramifications without the proper oversight. Corporate commercial interest is NOT the proper oversight dynamic for this phenomenon.