If you’re a farmer who wants to grow any crops that aren’t owned by the biotech industry, you had better be ready to burn some money. At least this is what organic farmers are saying, who are trying to grow organic crops but can’t due to pollen drift and cross-pollination. That’s right: GMO crops are contaminating the organic crops we’re fighting so hard to keep.
The news is out that demand for organic food is one the rise – it’s expected to be a $35 million dollar industry soon, and keep exploding from there. The challenge that organic farmers face; however, and one that the US FDA refuses to address, is that even in the highly subsidized markets of corn and soy growing, Big Biotech has the upper hand.
Every time an organic farm is contaminated with genetically modified crops, not only do those farmers lose their very expensive designation as an ‘organic farm’ but they also are in the legal jaws of companies like Monsanto who has been known to sue farmers for patent infringement, even when it was their seed that happened to contaminate an organic farm, through no fault of the farmer.
According to the USDA, to become an organic-certified farm:
“. . .actual certification costs or fees vary widely depending on the certifying agent and the size, type, and complexity of your operation. Certification costs may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.”
It costs Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Syngenta, etc. not a red cent to be certified as “biotech.” Aside from the illegal funds these companies spend to keep the public in the dark about what is actually in their food, they could plant seeds doused in rat poison and feed it to the world without having to certify anything.
Due to this unbalanced and overtly biased agricultural model, supported by numerous infiltrated government agencies, many farmers have had to abandon growing organically altogether.
Meanwhile USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, a former Biotech Governor of the Year in Iowa, has continued to ignore requests to address the ongoing issue of GMO contamination.
Why would he? His pocketbook is lined with the greenbacks of his favorite industry tycoons.
Vilsack recently commented at a Food Summit event on agricultural coexistence:
“The one thing I am really tired of is division. This is about finding a path forward.”
That’s really easy to say when your ‘guys’ in the game run EVERYTHING having to do with agriculture, and the small, organic farm is running our of options.
When organic farmer’s requests to even the playing field concerning GM seed – requesting buffer zones, or other possible remedies in the very least – are completely rebuffed – what are they to do?
Biotech has managed (as was likely their plan all along) to make planting organic crops nearly impossible.
Once you’ve invested in an organic farm, and have it set up, bought your seed, taken the time to fertilize it organically, etc. and a single wind brings pollen from a neighboring GM farm to your own – you’re done for. GM farms don’t face anything like it.
In extreme cases, farmers have spent big money purchasing adjacent land just to have buffer zones to try to counteract possible cross-pollination. Once their fields are contaminated, their entire crop is rejected from the organic market.
Laura Batcha of the Organic Trade Association raised similar concerns at a recent event attended by Vilsack, arguing against pro-GM farmers, who even still admitted a growing concern about the public’s growing interest in organic foods.
The pro-GM crowd at this very same event also admitted that GM food might not feed the world – so what happens if that’s all there is – GM food – due to cross contamination?
The demand for organic is so strong, that Whole Foods executive global grocery coordinator Errol Schweizer, who was also present, said that his company is having a more difficult time finding enough organic goods to provide to the public.
Is it time to go small and local in light of these events? Are small family gardens and farms what will feed us when biotech’s mega farms are poisoning and cross-pollinating everything within a five-mile radius? One thing is for certain, the fight between biotech and the organic farmer is not a fair fight at all.
Photo credit: AltHealthWorks
||Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.