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Cooking Teacher

Here Comes the Sun, Baby!

I told you these days would come. The birds are chirping; the sun shines brighter each day; buds are popping everywhere!

We’re thinking about planting, signing on with a CSA to ensure we have fresh food all summer long, right from the farm to your table.

We smile easier; we feel relaxed. Our shoulders aren’t up around our ears as we brace against the cold. We open, like flowers to the sun and warm our winter-weary bodies.

We all lose our minds just a little in the spring, as we imagine our summer days to come. At least I do.

But before we get lost in the romance of the season, we need to talk. Sorry to rant…again, but this needs our attention.

Most of you are aware that Monsanto, the parent of the monstrous GMO revolution seems to have little concern for us or this fragile planet. They care simply for profit. There I said it. They care not for the farmers they have ruined (despite their avowed love of the family farm); not for the children they poison; not the planet they trample upon. I read on their website recently: “Why Does Agriculture Need to Be Improved?” They answer in pure, slippery, silver-tongued style:

“…it’s important to note: the world doesn’t just need more food. It also needs better food that’s more nutritious. And it needs to find ways to make the process of growing food more efficient and aligned with our environmental needs, so farmers use less water and land, and better utilize things like fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides (which they produce…talk about a win-win).

Right now, there is a big debate over how agriculture should work, and we understand why. Agriculture affects all of us, directly and indirectly. It affects us directly through the food we eat and it affects us indirectly through its relationship to the environment, the use of natural resources and the global economy. Even though farmers grow a lot more than food (such as cotton for clothes and corn and grass for fuel), we think it’s a good thing consumers are increasingly interested in understanding where their food comes from. It’s the first step to understanding how agricultural systems work, and what’s at stake.”

If what they say above is true, then I have an important question to ask…a question I have asked for years now…a question we all should be asking. If they think it’s a good thing that consumers are interested in where their food comes from, why would they spend millions of dollars in each and every state that has GMO label laws on the ballot for consumer vote? If biotech agriculture (the phrase most often used on the Monsanto site as opposed to GM or GMO) is so great, so safe; can resolve world hunger; help farmers produce more food, more nutritious food; if water can be conserved and used more efficiently, why would you fight like hell to keep consumers from knowing these ingredients are in their foods?

Why don’t they want GMO’s on the label? Heck, I’d be so proud if all they say is true.

Nearly $6 million in Washington State; more than $9 million (along with Du Pont) in California; almost $11 million (along with the Grocery Manufacturers Association or GMA) in New Hampshire; the list goes on and on. If GMO’s are so cool and groovy, what’s all the fuss with putting them on labels? Why waste all that money? Those dollars could be putting to better use, right? Helping the poor, establishing better agriculture practices, helping family farms…saving the planet! Instead they spend millions covering their own lies with distorted and out-of-context facts.

The trade group known as the GMA works hard to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes and shield their members from any bad press. Their marketing tactics have not resulted in widespread consumer confidence in GMO’s, so they are taking their fight to the next level.

They are in the works to lobby Congress to create laws that would prohibit states from allowing GMO label laws to even reach the ballot. I guess that’s one way to achieve acceptance: if you can’t keep people from all that pesky voting and you’re worried you can’t influence their vote…well then, just move to take away states’ rights to even bring it to the ballot.

How’s that for democracy?

With Monsanto marketing a new line of natural vegetables and fruit; (tastier versions of nature with the sugar levels hiked up to increase flavor), produced by their subsidiary Seminis, they have all their bases covered: natural, organic, GMO. Who knows what the outcome will be of this, but it concerns me to think that only a few companies have the potential to determine what we eat and how it’s produced. Any monopoly concerns me. We could lose the right to know what is in our food; the right to pure, natural food; the right to a healthy planet. I am concerned for diversity.

It’s spring, the time of year when we think of gardens, with fruits and veggies right from Mother Earth. It’s time to keep a sharp and vigilant eye on those who would control and manipulate nature for profit. Get involved. Educate yourself so you make the best choices.

Together we can turn the tide and ensure that our food remains…well, food.

Love,
Christina

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