Spring is getting closer, so of course bloggers the country over are planning their gardens. People on this diet or that debate relative safety/goodness of different foods, and if it will help you lose weight or strip your innards of good bacteria, poison you, or kill you. Tin foil hat people think it is a conspiracy between giant corporations and the government to control you. What is it? Anything you want to rail against.
Those things have a common overlap: anti-GMOness in all forms, explicitly and completely. Never mind that most people writing about GMOs don’t know what it is, what it does, and how it has an effect on your body. (And they can’t know what the effect will be…there are many different kinds of GMOs and they all do different things to the plants, and if they do in fact have an effect on your body, the effect of each will be different.)
I have read quite a few blogs that say to make sure you buy your seeds for your garden from specific seed houses so that you won’t inadvertently get GMO seed from “any other (bad) seed house!!!” that the blogger isn’t affiliated with. That is complete and utter bunk. Bullshit, if I can be brutally honest.
Let me tell you, Monsanto is very proud of their GMO technology. Very proud. They are so in control of their patents and seeds that when you buy field crop seeds that are Roundup Ready, you have to sign an agreement that you won’t keep the resultant crop, and you won’t sell it yourself for someone else to plant. The dealer you bought it from has to report to Monsanto your name, address, Monsanto ID (which you had to apply for before buying), quantity, date, invoice number, salesman name, and if you return it, they have to account for that too. For some products, you even have to give them the GPS coordinates of the field you are planting (!) Monsanto isn’t interested in giving their technology away. They are interested in making money off of their innovations, and sneaking it in somewhere to a gardener’s broccoli seeds doesn’t bring the dollars in.
Speaking of GMO broccoli…um, there isn’t any. Here is the complete list of GMO plants:
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Argentine Canola (Brassica napus)
Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)
Creeping Bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera)
Eggplant (Solanum melongena)
Flax (Linum usitatissumum L.)
Maize (Zea mays L.)
Melon (Cucumis melo)
Papaya (Carica papaya)
Petunia (Petunia hybrida)
Plum (Prunus domestica)
Polish canola (Brassica rapa)
Poplar (Populus sp.)
Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.)
Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Rose (Rosa hybrida)
Soybean (Glycine max L.)
Squash (Cucurbita pepo)
Sugar Beet (Beta vulgaris)
Sugarcane (Saccharum sp)
Sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum)
Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.)
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)
Wheat (Triticum aestivum)
“Ah ha!” you triumphantly say. Beans, Eggplant, Melon, Plum, Potato, Squash, Beets, Sweet Peppers, Corn and Tomatoes grow in my garden! Yes, grasshopper, but look at the links. Beans = only available in Brazil. Eggplant = Bangladesh. Sweet Peppers = China.
These have authorization to be grown in the U.S.: Melon, Plum, Squash, Tomato, Potato. So, I challenge you: Find me some of those to plant. Find some so I can put them in my garden – especially a squash plant that repels squash bugs. You won’t be able to, because none of them are commercially available. There is literally no GMO seed available to plant for those 5 types for the home gardener.
Corn is another matter. BT corn and Roundup Ready corn is available, mostly field corn, but some sweet corn is now commercially available. I’ve been looking just to see if I could even buy some for my home garden, and came across this:
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency requires that Seminis® Performance Series™ sweet corn only be purchased by growers signing a grower license that contractually obligates compliance with the Insect Resistance Management (IRM) program and does not allow the sale of seed to small roadside or home growers.
Just as I thought…you have to sign an agreement with Monsanto. And it isn’t available to home growers.
Another side rant. There is no GMO wheat available to plant in the U.S. either. There just isn’t. It was approved for the U.S., but Monsanto stopped development on it. So if someone says they are avoiding wheat because of the chance of GMO contamination, well, they are idiots.
So why? Why is this such a common theme on garden blogs? Seed sellers? Health nuts? Because it is good marketing for the seed sellers. Like labeling bottled water “gluten free”. I think that most people don’t know what GMO means, how it is tested, and what is actually available as seed to put in the ground, and they are scared. So they buy the hype and look down their noses at rubes who don’t worry about it.