GMOs and Your Garden

3 years ago

GMOsIt's that time of year when us gardeners are "busy" daydreaming. We're dreaming of that first sunny day in the 40s when we can get some fresh air and do some late winter pruning. It's also the time to start planning layouts and ordering seeds for our vegetable gardens. Recently, I wrote a post about how to keep Monsanto out of your garden, but for me personally, the issue is even bigger than that.

Monsanto-branded seeds are not available to home gardeners and that's why it's sometimes confusing and difficult to know what you're getting. My previous article focused on how to avoid supporting Monsanto with your seed purchases by avoiding companies that buy from Seminis, the division of the corporate behemoth that is in the home gardening business.

In my daily life, I "vote with my dollars" whenever possible, shopping with companies that fit my personal values. For example, I do not patronize Trader Joe's because I know that it took tons of pressure from farm workers in Florida and buying consumers to convince the company that they should fork over ONE MORE PENNY per pound for fresh tomatoes. The increase was proposed to improve the substandard working conditions of the often exploited workers who toil each day to provide us with cheap tomatoes in the dead of winter. Even the best pickers make little more than $10,000 per year. I cannot knowingly support companies that think this is OK when there are so many other places to buy food.

It's not possible for me to know everything about every company I buy from, and sometimes, one slips by me. Like with my garden. This year, I bought a couple packs of seeds from Seeds of Change because I didn't see the specific varieties I wanted elsewhere. Seeds of Change sells lots of organic, open-pollinated seeds which is great. What's not so great is that they are owned by Mars, Inc., the purveyor of Milky Way, M&Ms, Snickers, Wrigley's gum, Uncle Ben's, and other trashy foods. Mars has contributed lots of money, along with many, many other companies of its kind to fight labeling of GMOs in our food. I don't want my money going towards this initiative.

GMOsIn general, I think labeling of GMOs is a good idea because people should know what they're buying and eating. I believe GMOs are not safe for our health, and big agriculture's use of them is detrimental to our environment. For me personally, labeling is not a must-have because I simply do not buy processed foods that are likely to contain GMOs. I buy organic whenever possible since they, by definition, cannot be genetically modified. I also don't plant GMOs in my garden, including those I bought from Seeds of Change. The seeds I bought are organic, open-pollinated and Seeds of Change does not sell GMO seeds.

I'm certain that as I sit here writing, there are products in my home that came from companies that don't share my values. I can only do my best, having to live in this world, and I am always learning and modifying my habits accordingly. I also hope to pass along my learning to you so that you can make smart choices that are right for you.

How about you? Have you learned anything recently that's changed your buying habits?

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