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GMO's

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Mistletoe Angel
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0 posted 03-10-2005 08:44 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

In recent times, one of the most serious issues also remains one of the least publicly known and recognized; the cultivation of GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms)

GM is a special set of technologies that alter the genetic makeup of such living organisms as animals, plants, or bacteria. Biotechnology, a more general term, refers to using living organisms or their components, such as enzymes, to make products that include wine, cheese, beer, and yogurt.

In 2003, about 167 million acres (67.7 million hectares) grown by 7 million farmers in 18 countries were planted with transgenic crops, the principal ones being herbicide- and insecticide-resistant soybeans, corn, cotton, and canola. Other crops grown commercially or field-tested are a sweet potato resistant to a virus that could decimate most of the African harvest, rice with increased iron and vitamins that may alleviate chronic malnutrition in Asian countries, and a variety of plants able to survive weather extremes.

In 2003, countries that grew 99% of the global transgenic crops were the United States (63%), Argentina (21%), Canada (6%), Brazil (4%), and China (4%), and South Africa (1%). Although growth is expected to plateau in industrialized countries, it is increasing in developing countries. The next decade will see exponential progress in GM product development as researchers gain increasing and unprecedented access to genomic resources that are applicable to organisms beyond the scope of individual projects.

Those in favor of GMO's believe this sort of cultivation will improve the quality, abundance and freshness of crops, and with the application of a genetic makeover, vegetables can be grown with additional vitamins, minerals and other benefits.

It may sound charming to you upon first impression.

However, some disagree, and find there to be a dark side to it.

*

Recently, Mendocino County in California passed its historic Measure H, abd with 57% of the votes cast, it became the first county in the United States to ban the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). More recently, Trinidad and Marin Counties, also in California, have passed similar bans, with Sonoma County soon to do the same. And similar measures are up for consideration in Oregon and Vermont.

Perhaps there is simply one big reason they have every right to be suspicious.

On January 24 of this year, Biotech giant Monsanto announced it is purchasing Seminis, the world's biggest produce-seed company. The $1 billion purchase is seen as a sign that Monsanto plans to eventually expand into growing genetically engineered vegetables and fruit. Seminis controls about one-third of the seeds used to grow fruits and vegetables found in the country's supermarkets.

In response to this, two writers of Oregon-based Alternatives Magazine had these strong opinions to say:

*

1) David Tomsic argues that no one should have to be force-fed genetically-modified food, and that GMO's could have untold massive damage on the world's health in his article, "GMO's Begone!".
http://www.alternativesmagazine.com/33/tomsic.html

2) Alex Beamer argues the extreme dangers of cross-pollenation among GMO cultivation in "Wat Culd Go Rong?"
http://www.alternativesmagazine.com/33/beamer.html

*

Another primary argument is that no one should have to be force-fed genetically-grown food for those who have a preference in shopping organic at Wild Oats, Trader Joes or Alfalfa's.

So, could GMO's truly be a miracle for agriculture in the future, or is it a Pandora's Box on traditional and organic farming?

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

SEA
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1 posted 03-10-2005 09:20 PM       View Profile for SEA   Email SEA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for SEA

I personally, would rather see organic farming, thrive. I don't like the idea of food being tampered with at that level...it's just a personal opinion, no politics involved in that...  
Alicat
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2 posted 03-10-2005 10:47 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

My maternal grandfather worked for the Soil Conservation Agency (Department of Agriculture) for a good 30 years, hand mapping large swaths of central Texas.  His maps are still in use, though he retired in the early 1970's.  He paid his own way through Texas Tech during the 1930's by sitting and tending experimental crops, as well as hand harvesting cotton, beans, and corn.  Much of what was going on then in agricultural studies dealt with what Noah has addressed, strains of common plants resistant to insects, plagues, and disease.  He wasn't against 'organically' grown foods, having kept a vegetable garden from 1968 until his death in 1997.  He did, however, desire for commercial agriculture to thrive, to encrease exports, increase production, decrease waste.

And that's what has been done in past decades: resistant strains of common plants to increase viability, nutrition, and production, without the wastes caused by insects, disease and plague.  Granted, some produce distributors have shady tactics, like using dyes and chemicals to speed ripening, or to give the appearance of being ripe.  I recall one bright red apple I used for a pie having a pinkish tint about 1/8 inch past the peel, caused by red dyes.  That isn't the fault of the producer, but the distributor.  And I'm not at all surprised of ultra liberal counties in California knee jerking and getting it all wrong in the process.  Instead of targetting producers, they should have targeted distributors.

Keep in mind that genetically enhanced vegetables and fruits are grown on a commercial scale.  'Organic' alternatives are still buyable, though generally more expensive for some odd reason.  Most likely from the cost of waste due to disease, insects, and plague by totally disdaining any 'unnatural' remedy.  Or it could be simply greed.  Anyhow, one can still get 'natural' seeds quite easily, even commercially packaged.

As far as I'm concerned, the 'progressives' are using nothing more than fear tactics based on mis/partial information.  Again, I'm not surprised.

And if one wants to see organic farming thrive, the solution is really rather simple: plant a vegetable garden.
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3 posted 03-10-2005 11:21 PM       View Profile for SEA   Email SEA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for SEA

and i do! I love having fresh vegies and fruit in my own back yard, tended to by my hubby though, I don't have a green thumb, on either hand LOL
Cloud 9
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4 posted 03-11-2005 11:28 AM       View Profile for Cloud 9   Email Cloud 9   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Cloud 9

**Giggle**

Mendocino County.....they do alot of their growing organically. I was suprised someone would put out a Measure on something that they have done for years. Good for them.

On top of that.....its beautiful up there.
Ron
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5 posted 03-11-2005 01:50 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Organically grown food and produce is great.

Unless, of course, you happen to be poor and hungry.  
Mistletoe Angel
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6 posted 03-11-2005 06:19 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Yep, Ron, I'll tell you, we'll know when we're winning or losing every time we see the cost of organic food to commerical supermarket food thins closer together or stretches further apart.

Anyway, Alicat, I wish it could be that easy for everyone to plant whatever they want with the comforting guarantee it will grow. Unfortunately, it's just not that easy.

Down in Arizona I understand you live in one of the more agricultural counties of the state. Maricopa's a big agricultural county too. I believe you get your water from the Colorado River, right, while some of the other agricultural communities gets it from the reservoirs.

To the north you have plateaus and the White Mountains and other mountains, but to the middle and south of the state it's lower elevation, more flat and arid with plains to semi-desert and desert climates.

But many dry spells occur down in the Grand Canyon State so I imagine it's proven to be difficult to grow certain crops during much of the year. The Colorado River has been wrestling with the dust bowl as of late so I guess the whole fate of the agriculture in your community rests upon the amount of water the river brings in.

Willy Loman from "Death of a Salesman" was never able to produce a single carrot sprout. Indeed this is a reality many face.

Again, I think the two main concerns here regarding GMO's are 1) cross-pollenation concerns and 2) corporate interests dominating the seed market.

I myself don't believe this science can't be done or accomplished, but we've got to be careful and reasonable here. This is virtually fresh-out-of-the-box technology, and we remain unaware if eating genetically-modified food can affect your health abnormally. If we just jumped the gun and tried it out and woke up one day to find millions ill, tha's a huge problem and areas which were pollenated could be an irreversible trend.

Don't get me wrong, it would be wonderful to see this fascinating science work. We already were able to make spinach and cauliflower cross-breed into a new popular vegetable that is critically-bashed by children but praised by health advocates. "Better safe than sorry" is just my thought to it right now, and at this moment I'd rather give a thumbs-down on this until a great amount of positive research results are accumulated.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Ron
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7 posted 03-11-2005 08:05 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
We already were able to make spinach and cauliflower cross-breed into a new popular vegetable that is critically-bashed by children but praised by health advocates.

Uh?
Mistletoe Angel
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8 posted 03-11-2005 09:51 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Oh, broccoli wasn't that cross-bred vegetable I was thinking of.

What was that vegetable again that was created combining two other vegetables?

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Alicat
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9 posted 03-11-2005 10:45 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

It is true that Yuma is a very large agricultural center, and it's not for nothing they hold the title of Lettuce Capital of the World.  I was floored when I found that out, since this is the freakin desert!  Sad thing is, the only local produce sold locally comes from private individuals who grow crops privately.  Everything else, everything from the many hundreds of fields, goes elsewhere.  All the groceries in the stores get shipped in!  We grow it here, yet it has to be shipped in from out of state?!

Back to your primary concerns, there's always going to be cross-pollination.  That there is one of the many miracles of Nature, which started Mendel on the path of heretidy by way of bean flowers.  And everyone, bosses and trustees as well, loved my father's peppers...except his kids.  See, he let them cross-pollinate willy-nilly, and the kids were the taste-testers.  There they would be, in a large enamal tub, glasses of iced tea and milk beside each of us, as Dad would cut a small slice from a pepper, pass it to one of the four, and ask about it.  There was no telling if a Sweet Banana was instead a Red Chili.  Sure looked like a Sweet Banana, filled with distilled fire.  That's why others loved em...you never really knew what you were going to get: a sweet and citricy jalapeno, or a very mild green chili, or a cherry pepper which could strip varnish.

Dad always did have a wicked sense of humor.  Were it not for cross-pollination, he would have never achieved his black tulips with deep purple striations.
 
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