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Posts Tagged ‘heirloom plants’

Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, mosquitoes are biting…yep, it is springtime in Missouri!  Best of all, though, it is gardening season.  I love this time of year.

For me, there is little to compare with the thrill of planting a seed and watching it grow into a big, beautiful plant that provides my family with beauty and food. This is one of the reasons that we went in the direction we did on our farm, Tranquil Haven Hollow.  Yeah, I know, you know all about it, but I’ll tell you once more…just to make sure.

I love Heirloom varieties.  Flowers, herbs, veggies, fruits…it doesn’t really matter what it is.  I love the history that comes with these beautiful standards.  The thought that each one carries with it a story.  Something from the past that carries forward for all of these generations.  They have roots!  Ha! Like the pun???

However, there is so much more to it than that. They are pure.  Nobody has tampered with their DNA.  Nobody has added pesticides or herbicides or any other -cides.  In flowers, maybe it isn’t such a big deal, since few people even realize that a lot of flowers are edible.  Around our farm, though, almost all of our flowers are quite edible and are consumed regularly.  Not only by us humans, but by our animals (yes, my dogs eat flowers and we’ve been known to break up dog-fights that started over left-over salad), and by the local wildlife, which includes deer, rabbits, squirrels and turkeys.  We eat those, too.  With the flowers.

If you follow me on twitter or Facebook, you know that I like to post any articles I can about natural living, evil medicines and the super-villain Monsanto.  I really hate Monsanto.  Which is why today I shared a photo off a friends’ page that was talking about Monsanto’s new corn seed.  They are so proud to have finally created a seed that contains both the Round-Up Ready formula plus Bt toxin.

First of all, if it has ‘toxin’ as part of it’s official name, I think it is completely safe to assume that it may be toxic.  As a rule, this means don’t eat it, drink it or smear it on your skin.  It probably means you shouldn’t sniff it or smoke it, either.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it most likely means you shouldn’t inject it into our food source, either.  Right?

Well, yes and no.  Didn’t expect that, did you?  See, here’s the thing.  Bt toxin is actually a natural thing.  It is a soil bacteria that, by itself, poses no harm to humans; just to certain insects.  However, start putting it directly onto your (or into) your food source and you begin to have problems.  Allergies, auto-immune disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease are just a few of the problems caused by ingesting Bt toxin.

I know this can all get a little confusing, so let me help clarify.  Plant seeds are, in many ways, like a fetus.  They are this little tiny package that contains all the elements that will one day form the whole.  Color, size, flavor, texture, disease, resistance to disease…it is all contained in that seed.

Even the most amateur gardener knows that plants, especially food-bearing plants, are susceptible to disease and insect infestation.  In the past, us gardeners have tried some rather interesting ways of keeping our plants bug and disease-free.  Monsanto came up with the ingenious idea of simply altering the basic DNA of the plant by adding  agents that make the plant more resistant to disease and insects.  However, just as big pharma has done with vaccinations, Monsanto has created a monster.  A very big, very dangerous monster, and you eat it several times a day.  It has made the resulting plant resistant, but it has also made it sterile, poisonous and susceptible to new types of predators.

Here’s the real problem.  The agents that they inject into the seed remain in the resulting plant, which is then fed to the animals that we eat or set on our supper table, where it is directly ingested.  While some of the toxin is lost somewhere between sprouting and ingesting, not all of it is.

This newest Monsanto monster is the biggest monster of them all.  On top of being injected with the standard Round-Up Ready, it is also getting a big ol’ dose of Bt toxin. One of the seriously troubling aspects of this pairing (besides the obvious) is that, while the FDA based its approval on testing of each of these deadly products and declared them ‘safe for human consumption’, they did not test them when used together, or in conjunction with any of the other hundreds of chemicals that are found in our food supply.  To simplify, they don’t know if the GM Bt toxin corn you feed your kid for dinner tonight is going to react with the HFC syrup he puts on his pancakes in the morning and trigger some deadly disease.  They are willing to use said child as their experiment, apparently.

If you are trying to justify any of this with the idea that small quantities of this aren’t really going to cause that much damage, keep this in mind; Monsanto provides more than 90 percent  of all US-grown corn, soybean, canola and sugar beet crops, and all of them are made from one of Monsanto’s patented genetic modifications.  Get up and walk to your food cabinet and pull out 5 random items.  Doesn’t matter what it is…canned soup or veggies, cake mix, cereal…anything will do.  Okay, now read the label.  Does it say corn? Soybean? Canola? High Fructose Corn Syrup? If it does, then you are quite likely holding a by-product of the Monsanto Chemical Company, aka, a handful of poison. Each one of those adds up.  Daily.

To add insult to injury, you can’t save Monsanto seeds, either.  Back in the day, farmers saved some of the seed from each crop to replant the next year.  Monsanto’s seeds are engineered so heavily that this is no longer an option.  They grow great on their initial planting, but try planting a corn seed next year from that plant.  It won’t grow. It is sterile.

Another insult?  If some of the Monsanto-seed farmers’ seed happens to blow over into your organic, heirloom garden you better pull it quick. If Monsanto finds out it is growing in your garden or field you can be sued for copyright infringement. They have a very long, very successful record of doing exactly that, effectively putting many large and small-scale farmers into bankruptcy.  Pretty clear whose side the government is on here, huh?

There is hope!  The Institute for Responsible Technology has an absolutely awesome sight that lists many companies that have pledged to remain GMO free.  They list ingredients to beware of (did you know that soy has several aliases?), seed suppliers (like me, although I don’t think I’m on their list…), shopping guides and tons more.  You should totally check out their site!

So, I’ll wrap it up with this:

Take a stand!  Don’t let your family dinner table be the laboratory for Monsanto and any of their products including seeds or pharmaceuticals (yes, they manufacture many prescription and non-prescription drugs). Buy non-GMO and maybe someday we can put Monsanto out of business and the small farmer back in it!

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