“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
~Thomas Jefferson, 1781
I’m sure you’ve heard about the controversy surrounding the possible approval of Monsanto’s genetically modified Round-Up ready alfalfa. The approval of yet another GMO crop is very troublesome to me. I know a lot of people who own small organic farms and the approval of GM alfalfa will affect their way of life. They may no longer be able to find organic hay and may lose their organic certification because of gene pollution.
I’m pretty outspoken about my concerns with genetically modified crops both for health and environmental reasons. They don’t reduce the use of chemicals and have wide genetic pollution results and other environmental concerns. Here in Ohio we now have 6 superweeds thanks Monsanto’s Round-Up ready GMO crops, read this article and check the map to see how many super weeds are in your state. Click on the map below to go to the New York Times page where you can see the progression of superweeds in the country over the past 10 years. (image from NYTimes.com)
If you’re concerned about the approval of genetically modified alfalfa please contact Tom Vilsack or President Obama right away as the decision is supposed to be made in the next couple of days. You can head over to Food Democracy Now and send a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. You can also email the USDA about this issue at: firstname.lastname@example.org and you can reach the White House at 202.456.1111. In addition I’d recommend that you encourage your Congressperson to contact House Agriculture to express support for Secretary Vilsack’s coexistence option. Find your Congressperson here (there’s a great letter in the comments here that you can copy and paste).
I have my doubts that this will do any good, since Vilsack seems to be on the side of BioTech. (why do I say this? ) As Iowa state governor, he originated the seed pre-emption bill, that blocked communities from regulating where GMO’s could be planted. He was the founder and former chair of the Governor’s Biotechnology Partnership, and was named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the biggest biotech group. As part of the Iowa Values Fund he gave 9 million dollars and 6 million in tax relief to TransOva to help develop cloned dairy cows.
I have my doubts that writing him will make any difference, I personally don’t think that politicians (left or right) are on the side of the citizens but rather the corporations that pay for their campaigns and give them high-paying jobs when they leave office. At least sending a letter makes me feel like I did something, even though the outcome may not be the one I was hoping for. What else can I do? Besides of course not buying anything that contains GMO ingredients and supporting small local farms, especially organic ones. That’s really the best way, vote with your dollars!
Are you concerned about genetically modified crops?
Some Links for Further Reading:
Organic Consumers Association: Six Reasons Why Obama Appointing Monsanto’s Buddy, Former Iowa Governor Vilsack, for USDA Head Would be a Terrible Idea
Radio Iowa: TransOva given nine-million from Iowa Values Fund
Bio.org: Iowa’s Vilsack Named BIO Governor of the Year
GM Watch: Supreme Court’s Ruling on Monsanto’s GE Alfalfa
Grist.com: Supreme Court’s ruling on Monsanto’s GE alfalfa: Who won?
Co-Op Stronger Together: Background on the GE Alfalfa Issue
Reuters: Lawmakers ask USDA to deny Monsanto GMO alfalfa
Food & Water Watch: Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Industry Spends More than Half a Billion to Influence Congress
Denis Kucinich on GMO’s & food labeling
Stonyfield Farm: We Can’t Let GE Alfafa Ruin Organic Dairy