GMO food dialogues : AKA sh*t that makes me crazy

Ok – fair warning. I feel a rant post coming on.

So, a while back I find myself supposed to be working, but I check in to twitter for the first time in ages and see a #FoodD hashtag with some interesting tweets.

Now, I’m totally out of the loop regarding the goings-on in agriculture in the great wide world at the moment. Usually I work hard to stay informed; right now I’m too busy trying to actually farm to keep up on arguments about farming. Apparently there’s a big panel discussion going on and they’re getting my goat.

You can watch the dialogue at Food Dialogues website here.


What the heck is the matter with people???? Seriously.

Next thing I know I’m madly tweeting my frustration to the world. Yep. I was one of those people.

Double GAH.

Here’s the thing. Prop 37 was defeated. I haven’t had the heart to read about the details why. It’s too depressing.

And here these folks are, saying GMO’s are safe, it’s just a personal choice, it’s too expensive to label and separate GMO’s from seed to table blah-blabbty-blah.

Here’s the problem with the dialogue about GMO’s.

I’m not going to get into all the gobbly-gook science and B.S. comparison measures they use. Let’s get to the core of it.

This whole “Food Dialogue” carried an overwhelming patronizing tone towards consumers who choose non-GMO foods. Like knowing parents tolerating a petulant child at the dinner table. It infuriates me.

The assumption (which I don’t think is actually their assumption, I think they know the truth, but this is a convenient position for them to take) is that we are only against GMO’s because we have this (mistaken) view that GMO’s are bad for our health if we eat them.

Not a single soul addressed the two real issues at the core of the GMO debate:

1) Should any private corporation, or ANYONE have the right to OWN genetic material?

2) These genes CANNOT be contained.

One tweep, clearly from the mainstream ag world, said us Non-GMO folks shouldn’t push our personal preferences on farmers or other consumers.

To which I replied – What about GMO crops contaminating farmer’s fields??? How is that not “pushing personal choice” on others??? And then turn around and sue him for patent infringement? I mean WTF????

The fact that neither of these issues even came up, despite the twitterverse hollering at the moderator at the top of our lungs, says a lot about the conversation and who controls it.

The whole paradigm held by the pro-GMO troop underlines for me the problems with GMO and modern ag in general – the main pro-GMO guy said: Agriculture is not nature.

Except that it is.

Although we fancy everything related to human existence as apart from nature, we know that is hubris. (I hope we know that is hubris, maybe we don’t.) We don’t live and farm in a bubble. These choices have implications which we cannot even begin to fathom.

We might be able to increase the production of certain crops for the short-term. We might also inadvertently reduce our long-term capacity to produce food by permanently depleting and contaminating the genetic code of our food crops.

I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know how we shift the conversation to the real issues. I think in the long-run, the best thing we can do is demonstrate that small-scale organic farming can be productive, build soil, sequester carbon and maintain genetic biodiversity all while feeding the world.

The only way to get rid of these guys is to prove them unnecessary.

7 thoughts on “GMO food dialogues : AKA sh*t that makes me crazy

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    GMOs? Yeah what a great idea – providing they don’t manage kill us all off first with their genetic “tinkering”. Talk about death by a thousand cuts, eh? I mean hey, how’s about we make changes that (might possibly) occur normally through natural selection over thousands of generations, have them all happen in just a matter of years, then throw in a little global climate change and see how we all make out?
    Really?? The colossal pomposity of it all just totally blows my mind! How can these people possibly think that they can outsmart Mother Nature? All you have to do is go look at the fields where “Round Up Ready” (copyrite) crops have been harvested lately to see at all of the weeds left happily behind, growing on without a care in the world, thumbing their noses at technology…

    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      So true. Superweeds didn’t come up while I was listening . . . Such a huge issue that gets largely ignored in the discussion.

      I also love how they compare genetic engineering to traditional plant breeding / seed selection. They say we’re selfish to ask farmers to wait so long for change and improvement…Gah.

  2. oceannah

    ugh, I am SO with you Stacey. I
    It’s not easy to find the balance between ‘doing’ the farming & advocating for clean crops. If you find the sweet spot please DO keep us posted.

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