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GMOs Then, GMOs Now.

My dad has been talking about GMOs for a long time. I dug up this newsletter from October 2000. Enjoy! ~Andrew

The Genetically Engineered Foods (GEF) debate appears under other names like Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Frankenstein Foods. GMOs are around today primarily because of a societal problem: DEPENDENCE and SHORT SIGHTEDNESS. What do we do when we’re sick? We run to the doctor. We do this because we are hoping for some cure-all that will take care of the problem NOW! Never mind that we have been abusing our bodies with a poor nutritional diet for years.

We, as a people, have long forgone the ability to think for ourselves. If it is in a package and says “low fat” or “natural” and the picture is appealing we will put it in the shopping cart. It doesn’t matter that the manufacturer has added a huge amount of sugar to make the flavor palatable or some sort of chemical to replace the natural fat. We trust a product just because it says natural, without reading the label. And when we pass through the checkout stand another vote is tallied for nutritionally poor food. After all, the USDA and the FDA have assured us that if it is in the store it is good for us or if it is in the pharmacy it is safe to use. I’m afraid that the GMO products are no different. Many will pull them off the shelves, trusting the government for their health.

GMOs are the panacea for poor farming practices that have plagued this country for 60 years. In the beginning of this petro-chemical age, around the early 1940s, there were a few farmers experimenting with chemical fertilizers. The chemicals were used as “vitamins,” if you will, to provide a boost to the plants, and they did. However, the reason that the chemicals provided the boost was because the farmers had been adding compost and manures back into their fields maintaining its fertility levels.

The problem occurred when the farmers decided to forgo sound farming practices and just start using chemicals to grow crops. This type of thinking is similar to living on vitamins only. After a few seasons the health of plants started to deteriorate (and so did their nutritional value) and the pests arrived to feed on these unhealthy plants.

What was the solution? Was it to return to farming organically? Unfortunately, not. Instead, pesticides were developed. We also decided that we needed herbicides to chemically control weeds. Can you see the parallels in the American population due to poor food, easy living, convenience, etc? The farmers pressed ahead; after all, the USDA said the chemicals were safe to use, the universities said they were safe to use, and of course the fertilizer sales people said they were safe to use. While the farmer is partially to blame for using the chemicals, the government, industry, and the consumers are equally to blame. Today many farmers are trying to switch to better farming practices, now that they have found their land basically dead, with no microorganisms left.

It sounds a lot like people. When a life-threatening disease occurs, it is usually then that we decide to eat more naturally and become motivated to change our lifestyle. Each small step we take towards a healthier lifestyle the easier it becomes and the more satisfying life is.

Together, we are making a choice for a better, healthier food supply, for now and for our future.


Tristan Klesick