Well, My Take On It
While the sweltering summer heat seems to be setting in, it has not abated in the slightest on the GMO debate. For those of you who are unfamiliar, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are biological organisms that have had their genes manipulated or new genes introduced in a lab in order to produce a new trait within the organism to achieve any number of ends, the most common being insecticide production and herbicide resistance, but there are also genetic modifications for disease resistance, nutrient content, and to stave off spoilage. The process by which these GMOs are created involves extracting the genes from an organism of one species and forcefully introducing it into the DNA of another.
The role of the gene is to provide the instructions for the production of proteins within the body. Take Bt Corn, for instance. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a soil-dwelling bacteria that produces endotoxins that are toxic to certain insect species. Scientists were able to extract the genes from the bacteria that have to blueprints for the production of the toxins and introduced them into corn varieties to the effect that the corn would produce these toxins, killing pests that would feed upon the corn. This, of course, makes the corn farmers job easier, as he doesn’t have to spend the time or money applying insecticide to his crops. Some argue that if these toxins are enough to kill insects, what kind of damage could they be causing within our own digestive systems? Also, with messages being sent by new genes as well as the existing genes, new proteins, the likes of which have never been seen before on this planet, are being created, and no one can say or know for sure that these proteins are safe for human consumption or the health of the planet in general.
Another common GMO is the infamous “Round-Up Ready” crops that are resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Round-Up. This makes the farmers job easier because instead of weeding by hand, he is able to spray his crops with Round-Up and kill everything competing against the crop for sunlight, water and nutrients. This, however, has allowed for the excessive spraying of the herbicide. Glyphosate has recently been found to be carcinogenic, a poison, and when sprayed on the crops and the soil, it leaches into the very body of the plant and destroys the diverse ecosystem within the soil structure that regulates the health of the soil and the nutrient uptake by the plants. It also seeps into the groundwater and contaminates aquifers that feed into our drinking water.
I could go on and on about GMOs and what they are and the practices surrounding them, but I’m going to cut it off now. Here’s how I see it: we live here on Earth, it’s our only home, and as the “higher-intelligence” on this planet, I believe it is our duty to act as responsible stewards to protect and promote the health of this global ecosystem. I feel that the practices that we find ourselves participating in this day and age, most of which are motivated not by ecological responsibility or the common good but by the accrual of monetary wealth, are having evident detrimental effects on this our home. It may turn out that GMOs are completely safe and perhaps even necessary for the survival of life on this planet, but until that can be said with the utmost of certainty, I think nature is too fickle and too delicate to play around with, and we may not be able to afford any repercussions caused by our toying with it. But I digress…
Summer is picking up at the farm! I got my beans planted (finally!), squash and zucchini are starting to come on, the cucumbers and melons are vining, and the tomatoes and peppers are growing! There’s still lots to do (it never ends…) and, as always, I would love your help and company! I’ll be out at the farm all day Sunday, let me know if you’d like to come hang, I will definitely make it worth your while! An extra-special-super-duper thanks to Mike and Leah for coming out and weeding and thinning my beets on Memorial Day, you guys rock my socks right off!
It’s supposed to be a beautiful day tomorrow, and I know you know where to find me! I’ll be at the Rotary Square and Market, jammin’ with the veggies! I’ll have my guitar, and if you play your cards right, I’ll serenade you to your hearts content. Just don’t be surprised if you fall in love. Come on out for your squash, zucchini, green tomatoes, kale, broccoli and more! I can’t wait to see you!
We’ve started a weekly produce box at Lomax Farm. The box is $20, and a list of produce to pick from is sent out every Thursday, and you get to pick and choose what kind of produce you want in your box. This program is being headed up by my co-farmer-in-training, Cody, and more people are signing up every week! If you would like more information about this magnificent opportunity, contact me!
“More grass means less forest; more forest less grass. But either-or is a construction more deeply woven into our culture than into nature, where even antagonists depend on one another and the liveliest places are the edges, the in-betweens or both-ands… Relations are what matter most.”
-Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma