I could have an easier life.
I farm because I want clean nutrient dense food for my family. That is all.
I’ve been watching the conversations go round and round arguing the case for GMO technology as the best way of improving productivity and ‘feeding the world’.
I’ve also watched as people trained in the sciences abuse others for thier ‘lack of capacity to mount an argument of measured evidence’ in trying to express their reticence about accepting the stated benefits of GMOs and their clumsy but very legitimate articulation of an alternate view.
Genetic modification can be as simple as identifying desirable traits in a plant and breeding them into a crop, sometimes forming a new species. Humans have been doing that in a simple form since Mesopotamia.
So why the hub bub and rhetoric from many countries, in particular via import bans throughout the European Union?
What many markets fear, particularly Europe and parts of Asia, is the impact of recombinant DNA on the human body in ways we haven’t yet understood. That includes the potential for desirable traits in one species to transfer to another species, where the trait would be harmful.
This is true of herbicide-resistant wheat and alfalfa.
If such herbicide resistance were accidentally to slip into the DNA of a weed, for instance, it could form a superweed, impossible to kill with modern methods.
Sobering thought. Think cane toad, think rabbit and then put this possibility into an Australian context- introduced to help solve a production issue and now a scourge in this land. Do we really want to take another risk with what’s left of our biodiversity- and our arable farmlands?
The question for me is not the economic imperative but simply why take the risk with ANY unproven technology, especially one that manipulates nature herself, when already the signs are there of unintended consequences and community disquiet.
I don’t know the full scientific breakdown of the pros and cons of GMOs. I’m not a scientist (but even if I were – could I know every fact or possible outcome? I don’t possess the arrogance to think so…)
Why are there rising levels of glyphosate residue being found in human urine samples across more than 18 European countries?
A proclaimed ‘simple, effective and environmentally harmless’ compound developed to make monoculture agriculture machinery-friendly and profitable, and ‘gifted’ in the 70’s to home gardeners- surely the reporting of glysophate in all food chains including meat tissue and milk products is just greenie, tree hugging, frogshit propaganda??? (See articles and study’s at Glyphosate and GMOs)
Why, after destroying the traditional cultures of African nations in the 19th century to give them the gift of ‘modern’ society did we not consider, observe and learn from what was done? In forcing them to become urban societies we took away their capacity to feed themselves through sustainable farming practices dating back millennia, only to leave them dependent on Nestlè and other corporations to feed thier children while Royal Dutch Shell destroyed arable land across Nigeria just to pipe oil. Have we learned nothing?
So it’s right that Europe is showing leadership and hesitating before accepting GMO imports.
Africa, South America and Australia are all historical examples of typical environmental destruction through careless stewardship .
So then why are we prepared, as an international community to accept that corporations such as Monsanto have the nutrition of the human race as thier guiding principle in developing and pushing GMO technology?
For me it’s no different to pondering why we are at war, even at the farm gate, over oil or gas or coal – it has NOTHING to do with democracy or freedom to live or even food. Nothing.
We are too many on this planet now to wind back ‘progress’; but I for one am not sitting back waiting for governments to legislate or regulate to protect me and my family’s food supply.
I trust the cow – not the laboratory -so I will eat butter.
Knowing that my cattle eat native pasture and that I’ve sourced good forage to supplement them in hard seasons I will use the cows poo pats to improve my vegetable patch and give thanks for what I can grow on my piece of country.
I will continue to raise hens and pigs -for us-in as sustainable and light a way as my simple brain can think through.
I am aiming for a closed system small farm, not an economic bonanza.
I want to take responsibility for my own and my family’s health and well being.
I just don’t want to be forced to accept ANY process that I haven’t gone into willingly with my eyes wide open.
Why should any farmer be the collateral damage of a new technology, anymore than war or economic growth or land acquisition for mining or ‘development’ be allowed to displace indigenous populations.
People we’ve already given away too much of our autonomy and individual capacity to make a difference in any way other than grass roots action.
I don’t know any other way, and I for one will just keep plodding along my chosen path until – well, until I just can’t anymore…