This is an extremely important article. I would like to warn you about something that is currently going on. You may not believe me, and there is a chance I am wrong, but protecting yourself from what I am about to share with you will only do good so rather safe than sorry right?
At the moment, most of our food is produced with hybrid seed. When you go to Pick n Pay, Checkers, your local nursery etc and you buy packets of seeds, these seeds are hybrid seeds and have been specially formulated to be very easy to germinate and produce high yields. This sounds like a dream come true – but the problem is that these plants usually fail to reproduce. If you save seeds from these plants, they will probably not grow very well. So every season new seeds to be bought. If you use heirloom seeds, you don’t have this problem. Heirloom plants reproduce faithfully year after year and produce healthy, hardy specimens. In addition, these plants adapt over the seasons to become perfectly suited to the climate. They are also very healthy so they have a strong “immune system” and often require less pesticides etc.
Currently, there is a huge push to get farmers to use GM seeds. The seeds are touted as the answer to our food shortage problems but in reality the yields are not that much higher than heirloom plants. Also, consider this: if I have 10 tomato plants and each plant produces 10 tomatoes, then I can take 2 tomatoes, save their seeds, and more than double the harvest next year. So I plant 20 tomato plants. I can then take 4 tomatoes and quadruple the harvest for the next season. Nature is designed to be exponentially bountiful – we should have no problem with food shortages! We have so much public land – the botanical gardens in every city could be community food forests, townhouse developers could plant more fruit and nut trees, these are just some ideas of how we can have an abundance of fresh healthy organic food.
At the moment, we have a less than perfect scenario: food is mass produced in farms far away from the cities and transportation costs to get food to the retail outlets can add a lot to the final cost of food. This food is sprayed with so many poisons because companion planting, which helps deter pests, has gone out the window and because of mono-culture farming, it is so easy for pests to spread.
And then we have the sinister part, where farmers are being strongly encouraged not to seed save, but to do the opposite – buy GM hybrid seeds every season. Huge global corporations like Monsanto are trying to patent most if not all our seeds and don’t encourage heirloom seeds and seed saving because they want to have full control over the world’s food supply. And we are seeing the same trend with animals – common farm animals are becoming more and more modified – and patented – and the average small scale farmer can no longer breed their own animals or save their own seeds as everything will be patented and owned by corporations.
Save our genetic diversity and economic sovereignty by going organic and growing your own heirloom organic foods. Support local organic farmers so that they don’t go out of business and leave a gap for the corporations to fill.
Going organic is more important than ever….
Genetically modified foods are not the answer. They produce higher yields at a cost of lower nutrients, even with chemical fertilizers because the soil is not looked after properly and many nutrients require the presence of soil microorganisms for uptake by plants. It’s like feeding someone only on vitamins and McDonalds – you get a fat malnourished person doesn’t matter how many vitamins you pop it’s not the same as getting them in their natural form.
Also (and this is biggest reason why GM is not the answer to the hunger problem) you can’t seed save with GM plants because their genes are too poor. So let’s say a farmer is poor he saves all his money and buys seed for planting. After the season he now has to spend his hard earned money getting more seed. If he could seed save he theoretically wouldn’t need to ever buy seed again and in fact his farm would grow EXPONENTIALLY. For example a small percentage of tomatoes can seed a whole crop for the season, and that percentage will grow with each season. It’s more complicated – you need to know how to seed save but it’s not impossible and it puts the control back in the hands of the farmers – not the large corporations. Instead of spending money on food aid poor countries need help with farming – give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish you feed him for the rest of his life, as the old saying goes.
We are losing natural genetic diversity in our food – we used to have hundreds of different apple varieties, different potatoes, different everything, but all these different foods are dying out and we are left with only a few varieties – where will it end? When our food is simply grown in labs and we are paying through our noses? Because you would think with all the genetic modification going on that we would have food coming out of our ears but we don’t. We need small scale farms surrounding cities and towns, and people growing food in their backyards. We need less parks and more policed community gardens where people can help themselves when they are hungry. We need seed banks, so that we can give seed to poor beginner farmers that want to start small.
I am all in favor of natural “genetic modification” ie natural selection and choosing plants with good genes for the next generation or cross breeding to create new varieties with the strength of both parent plants, this is more naturaland you can seed save with these plants if you are careful about cross pollination. Also, if you seed save you will get plants that are perfect for that soil and climate, improving in hardiness with each season, which can make them more drought resistant and not need so much input.
We don’t need solutions from the same corporations that helped create the problems in the first place…