What the Hell is GMO?

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Home Garden

I raised a question of would you want to know if GMO’s were in your food?  Of course, bypassing the obvious question of what are they?  Or what foods are we talking about?  The truth will set you free but is it from the right prison?  Overly deep end thought…

In the beginning, there was crops and they were good.  Then we bred two different similar species and got varieties.  Now fast forward crossing these variations with more and we get high yield producing plants.  Some inherit resistance to disease.  Some grow faster better for cold or dry climates.  Some are more heat tolerant.  Resist to pests is harder to control.  Similarities among varieties means one disease, blight, or pest kills large portions or affects large areas.  One farmer has many options.  Corn, wheat, soybeans, millet, sunflower, name your grain it’s been breed for specific traits.

Enter companies that produce wholesale seeds.  I choose Monsanto because they are large player in the field.  I even took a couple of their posted answers to their seeds and the GMO question on labeling.  Because it is the question of knowing.  They are a major source of Genetically Modified Organisms, as represented by the seed.

Monsanto uses plant breeding and biotechnology to create seeds that grow into stronger, more resilient crops that require fewer resources.  

On GMO labeling

“..ongoing studies by independent experts such as the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association have shown that foods containing GMOs aren’t dangerous or inferior to foods that don’t. We don’t support mandatory labeling of GMOs, as we believe it will leave consumers confused about the safety and nutrition of the foods they enjoy every day.

Here is a full statement on GMO safety from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of the world’s leading sources of experts on this subject. We do support a voluntary labeling approach – it allows companies who make GMO-free food to reach customers who choose to avoid GMOs.”

In fairness, their seeds are used throughout the world.  Bioengineered seeds are not grown is some countries due to legistalive actions within that country toward this question.  Companies like Monsanto have engineered seeds for commercial production.  These seeds have been researched by the same company that produces them.  No evidence of damage to human cells have been presented from their findings.  There is no direct agency tasked with forcing this research.  They offer more information at http://discover.monsanto.com

The other shoe is of course not on the same pair of feet.  This is the other side.  Between the European Union, Australia, Japan, and forty countries concerns remain.  The pollen of GMO seeds leave residue in other fields.  Insects that have been exposed to these crops have been killed by toxins held in plant proteins.  These can be beneficial or pests.  It does not discriminate.  The resistance to disease and pests does not leave the plant.  The same plant that produces the grains that feed us.  And what feeds what becomes feed for us (cattle, chickens, commercial fish, pork, goat, lamb, turkey, cavas, etc.).  

I choose an impact estimate from the Non-GMO Project.  They are their questions.

How common are GMOs?

In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. For a current list of GMO risk crops go to http://nongmoproject.org

What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?

Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops are also responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs:’ which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture, and are developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

This is a narrow view.  You don’t have the time or patience to read everything on my little blog.  Ok, I’m only giving a taste of the issue.  I have a distant
past with chemistry (organic with some research involved-NOT expert).  If it can kill a bug in sufficient quantity it will kill you!  The problem is we don’t know ten year, twenty year, thirty year impact on us.  Small quantities of chemicals that are difficult for our bodies to process add up.  How much to cause an increase in cancer, altering the stomach acid production, interfere with insulin, or destroy DNA? No one knows?  We don’t know if it can happen.  We don’t know how many chemicals are retained in the chicken that eats GMO grain.  

The balance of feeding an overpopulated world with less disease and lower child mortality rates, and our healthy food supply will be a give and take proposition.  If you go by surveys 80-90% of us want to know what are food contains.  50-60% would not purchase a product they knew contained GMO’s.  The U.S. Government has passed legislation in the House of Representatives to deny the labeling of GMO containing foods.  Main reasons are cost to the manufacturers and lack of public outcry.  

I want to know what I’m eating!  Do you?  Leave a comment.  Take a stand.  You have an opinion feel free to share.

Tour of the Flower Garden

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A moon flower, gimpson weed, datura family member by which ever name comes out at night.

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The dahlias collection.  Beautiful blooms til frost!  Several colors and styles.  These are a few of nicer ones.

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Daylillies each day provide a new face.  Its bloom here for less than 24hours.  Tomorrow another.

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Although the common name is pink, its red variety is blooming better now.

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The edge of the property!   Out of the darkness, creeps escapees and wildflowers.   A hydrangea rescued from the woods.  Blooming on fresh growth, cutting back means more blooms next year.

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New York Ironweed at the beginning of its bloom. 

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Cardinal flowers pop up near water.  From one plant came a dozen.

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Boneset, Joe Pye Weed, abd cardinal flowers clump together.

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Begonias hid on the porch.

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An orb weaver minds his web.  He missed out on the Honeybee.  They sometimes break free.

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Other critters lurk in the ferns, no frog is safe.

Got Get Back to the Garden

Woodstock by Crosby, Stills Nash and Young

“Well I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road
And I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me:
Well, I’m going down to Yasgur’s farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, set my soul free.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

I was channeling this as I look yonder into the green beast lurking in the yard. It’s many arms tangle as the drag across the ground. Many individuals willing to hold down others. Crawl up the back of their neighbor. Others happily rise above the fray. Some show their true colors, purples, yellows and reds boldly announce their place.

Ok it’s a garden. And it’s been a couple weeks. There will be sweet corn. And if the tomatoes (maters, in more civilized country areas) learn to swim, they will follow quickly.
So the beast with eighteen tentacles looks a lot like this. ..
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The star of the show, maize the North American plant breed until it’s fruit left the tassels and formed ears. Resurrect an Aztec and they’ll pray to Xipec Tote. Because it looks nothing like the plant they knew.

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But wait here’s what happens a mere 600 years into breeding.

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My old Aztec friend wouldn’t think you could put enough blood to make a plant double in size. (Blood would add iron to the soil, probably want doing much for the person who “donated” it). But at the three foot part, lookie here. .

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In a couple of weeks, brown silk wlll sit on top of them. Now what would they think of yellow squash or purple Japanese eggplant? Would they be cursed or divine?
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How Does Your Garden Grow

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This thumbnail sized seed is now a flower the size of my hand.  The plentiful rain had given raise to some giants in the garden.

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The same zucchini and squash fight for garden supremacy with the corn.   They crawl wrapping their tentacles around the stalks.  But they aren’t the only one with a stake here.  The tomatoes have to be caged.  Still they push six feet tall.

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But there’s no whining here. Or sour grapes, well yet…

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But the first eaten goes to the Japanese eggplant.   Thin eggplants mean two bite pieces for eggplant parmesan.

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And who keeps the bugs under control?   Well, next week he won’t be a polly wog anymore.  His tree frog name, doesn’t mean he doesn’t like climbing plants.

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So how does your garden grow?