With all of the publicity given to the California ballot initiative on GMO labeling, I have seen little if nothing mentioned about an initiative in my little community that would ban GMO crops within the boundaries of our island county. And the truth is, while there are few places in the world that could remain effectively GMO-free, the San Juan Islands in Washington State is one of them.
If passed in November, an initiative measure in our county will prohibit the cultivation of crops, livestock and other organisms that have had genes intentionally modified in a way that did not occur by mating or natural recombination. We would essentially become a safe zone for non-GMO crops which in turn will preserve our ability to grow and control our food supply for years to come.
So why is this important and why is this being shared on a website that promotes prepping? I will get to that but first, a simplistic and easy to understand primer on GMOs.
A Brief Primer on GMOs
There are a lot of issues surrounding GMOs. Alas, many people recognize that they are “bad” but have not taken the time to learn why. Or perhaps they have taken the time but have had their eyes glaze over when faced with technical terminology or activist falderal.
Let me make things simple with a very brief explanation of what GMO’s are all about.
GMOs are organisms that have been created through through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology, allowing DNA from one species to be injected into another species. By taking the genetic material from one organism and inserting it into the permanent genetic code of another, numerous weird and obscene creations, such as potatoes with bacteria genes, “super” pigs with human growth genes, fish with cattle genes, and tomatoes with flounder genes have been created.
These same creations are often bred with genes that not only allow them to tolerate weed killers but to also generate their own insecticides. These in turn are released into our environment, affecting our farmlands as well as our food supply. Did I happen to mention our health and the health of animals as well?
Examples of genetically modified crops, which have been commercially planted since 1996, include soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa, papaya, summer squash, potato, tomatoes and sweet peppers. In addition, a genetically modified grass has recently been approved and the approval of genetically modified apples and salmon are pending.
With their ties to major corporations and the almighty dollar, the USDA, FDA and EPA are planning to fast track further approvals of GM crops, cutting the approval time down to just 18 months. GMOs, if you have not figured it out, are big business and a money scam pure and simple and for whatever reason, an alphabet soup of US agencies are in on it.
This is all happening in spite of a growing body of research indicating that GMO food products have adverse effects upon animal and human health. Scientists as well as whistleblowers within the GMO industry itself have produced evidence that GMOs are more toxic, allergenic and less nutritious than their natural counterparts. For a real eye-opening experience, take a look at the movie Genetic Roulette (available free online until October 31st and possibly longer). You will be sickened by what you see.
Why are preppers concerned about GMO crops?
Of course the problem, as it exists in most communities, including my own, is that contamination of traditional crops by genetically modified crops is generally acknowledged to be unavoidable since cross-contamination from nearby genetically modified crops can not be controlled. And so therein lies the need for entire communities to be GMO-Free, thus mitigating the effects of crop and seed cross pollination and contamination.
Do not underestimate this contamination issue because it presents a huge dilemma to those who prefer or who must grow their own food. Preppers, that group of motivated individuals seeking self-reliance and independence from big business and government controls, want to grow their food from heirloom type seeds that reproduce faithfully from one year to the next, thus insuring a steady stream of reliable seeds that can be harvested and planted in subsequent years.
Most preppers, myself included, cook their own food, bake their own bread, concoct their own DIY cleaning supplies and know how to build and fix things themselves. Added to that list is the growing of food – fruits and vegetables – in a sustainable and productive manner.
For all of us, it is important that we control the food that is produced in our gardens. We want our seeds to be viable and to reproduce themselves as nature intended. After all, we recognize that the time may come when our gardens become out a major source of sustenance. And that, over and above everything, is our concern.
Do we want fish or antibiotic laden tomatoes in our gardens. No. Do we want plants that create a chemical pesticide and then spread that toxin to other plants and perhaps to ourselves? No.
As far as I can tell, the only way to eliminate these issues is to grow non-GMO crops and to prevent our neighbors crops from contaminating our own gardens and fields. Which gets me to where I started at the beginning of this article; this is what we are attempting to do in my community.
The Final Word
There are those that will say that prohibiting and policing the growing of GMO crops is impossible. And yes, that may be true on a global scale. But still, as with our prepping activities, each step we take as individuals to stop GMOs becomes an important one.
Whether enforceable or not, I hope the rest of the world will keep their eyes on my little community at election time. In some small way, if we do become GMO free, we may help change the world.
Gaye Levy, also known as the SurvivalWoman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable, self-reliant and stylish lifestyle through emergency preparation and disaster planning through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. The SurvivalWoman speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of mayhem swirling around us.