What does GMO labeling mean to you? Perhaps you are tired of the term and the cooling passion is slipping the item towards the back burner. Not so for some, but for some of us, it seems it needs to be someone else’s problem for a while. We’ll do the best we can, support the local real food movement and deny big Ag from getting anymore of our paycheck than we have to, but to take it to the real source seems beyond our reach.
Recently, at Monsanto’s general meeting in St. Louis, a resolution was presented by approx 150,000 shareholders to force the company to take the lead on GMO labeling. Another approach was an ad in a St. Louis newspaper urging the company to disclose GMO risk. That was at least an effort by shareholders themselves but it was soundly rejected as a bad idea and perhaps as an admission of unsafe practices.
I get the big ag newsletters that go out each week showing some of these topics and the responses that go with it. There are a few authors who write heavily in favor of GMO’s, who get extremely upset over this controversy. They proceed with a bit of name calling and rant about the unfairness of those of us who are supposed to know better than to challenge the intelligence of a company so big and so salvational to feeding the world that it cannot possibly be wrong! It seems to be just too unfair to assume that our government would fall so far as to let some discrepancy over a few dollars worth of grain.
The big AG sector is realizing their need to interact and build relationships with the consumer community. Suggestions are out there to get on Facebook, Twitter, and any social media that can be useful to bloggers and build these relationships and hopefully get the public emotionally involved in their favor.
It is wise to communicate. Good communications solve a lot of problems. There a few people who I do not communicate much with since they choose to demand things I cannot do. That doesn’t mean my demeanor and focus is against them. I wonder how this will go. It is probably in our best interest to continue to ask for a better explanation for GMO’s than what we have already received. Expert science on the integrity of altering genes. Feeding the world is the boasted excuse but not the fact.
Is it possible that Monsanto and like companies, would not have gotten so far into this GMO mess if the relationship between the farmer and the consumer wouldn’t have disconnected. Farmers lost their sons and daughters to the city from the 1940’s on. Food became a cheap commodity to be produced by those of us who aren’t smart enough to work on cars and computers and enter the "real world". In more recent years and a newer generation, this disconnect is producing a dissatisfied palate that explores new, or old, options that brings the palates back to the food sources. The mega grocery stores just cannot answer some questions. Inteligent consumers are now taking it on themselves to find out what real food is and where to get it. When they forgot its was their responsibility, quantity became the focus, and quality died.
It is only fair to say that agriculture needs consumers and consumers need agriculture. You and I wouldn’t argue that but perhaps there are those of us who are uneducated who do not realize the potential harm our ignorance creates in the community. Multiply us times a million and it might do some harm. Let’s think long and hard before giving up real food. That shouldn’t take long. Then connect with a farmer who enjoys digging in the dirt with his fingers more than dialing gears on his tractor. He’s the farmer who wants to grow good food for you. And today, for some good meditations, read Psalms chapter 1. Farmers like myself need a lot of daily spiritual food that is unaltered! Perhaps this is the real world!
Eldon Hooley @ Rosey Ridge Farm