Down with Monsanto

my desire to grow food started about three years ago. i’ve always been huge on hospitality, and serving good food to people developed out of that. i immersed myself in literature and began to fall in love with and learn more about the food growing process.

that being said, what i came to learn was greatly disheartening. the food system as we know it and currently interact with it is quite messed up. farmers no longer know the land the work, or the biosystems that surround it. in fact, they don’t even farm “real” plants…everything is genetically modified or covered in pesticide. small farms are laden with organic labeling standards or battles with big corporations. this just isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. i became more and more resolved to do something.
so i began shopping at farmer’s markets whenever possible. i read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and began to dream of the day that i, too, would live on a farm and grow my own food.
just recently i read a documentary called “The Future of Food.” it caught my attention because of it’s discussion of Monsanto. just two weeks ago i could not say that i honestly knew who Monsanto was. then i read an article about how they were suing a small farmer who’s land bordered one of their farms. Monsanto’s gmo-seed planted crops had cross-pollinated with those of the farmer and had begun growing on his land, without his permission.
because the seed was patented, Monsanto sued. the judge ruled in their favor, claiming that no matter how a seed came to be on someone’s land, if it didn’t belong there, that farmer was responsible. i was outraged to hear this story, as well as appalled and disgusted.
then i watched this documentary and my shock was elevated to pure hatred. Monsanto originally made Round-Up, an herbicide widely used to destroy weeds, that also will destroy any other living plant it lands on. including crops. using biotechnology, Monsanto’s scientists found a way to use a virus–usually E. Coli–to invade the cells of the seeds and rearrange its DNA to resist herbicide. thus making it “Round-Up Ready”.
then Monsanto spent a great amount of time/money buying up other seed companies so they would be the sole provider, thus making the money spent on both herbicide and seeds going to the same hands. they’ve also spent a great deal of energy crushing the small farmer, suing them for the natural cross-polination or transplanting of their seeds on other’s lands.
perhaps the greatest frustration with Monsanto is their insistence on lying about all these things. to visit their website you would believe them to be the purest company with the greatest intentions. they’ve painted their mongering exploits as supportive of the family farm, their manipulation of nature’s design as the true solution for starvation and crop destruction.
food growth is a slow process. it is our most important opportunity to be intimate with the land, to understand it and be a part of it. it is not fail-proof, cannot be manufactured to completely resist pests or herbicides or weather. to mess with that is to completely destroy the natural ecological systems that exist. and this comes with major ramifications.
my hatred of Monsanto goes so deep, that i’ve actually begun to explore ways to protest them altogether. for instance, GMO corn goes toward high-fructose corn syrup. therefore, i hope to give up anything with that ingredient. i’m also opposed to anything they create: Round-Up, etc. there are better ways to control weeds.
the good news is, their are better choices we can all make. community-sponsored agriculture is one. this allows a person to partner with a local farm financially and get fresh fruits and vegetables all throughout the harvest season. another is to grow your own food, or partner with friends to do so.
my roommate and i have begun to use Farm Fresh Delivery, which partners with the most local farm to provide organic produce. we plan to begin shopping at the farmer’s market in a couple weeks, then to grow our own throughout the summer. we are looking to have nothing to do with GMO seeds.
our farm, which is just a backyard garden at this junction, will be GMO free, organic and earth-centered. i call it a farm because deep down i dream of it growing to be that big. we’re toying with names and my fav is big blue marble farms. i just happened to plug “earth” into the online thesaurus and “big blue marble” came up, and what a great way to describe the earth.
there will more to share, i’m sure, the more i learn.
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