There's a lot of confusion about GMOs and we so often hear those that are firmly against and others who firmly stand and say they are not a problem at all. Here is an layman's description for why we avoid them - it may not be the reason you think!
In an interview with a Genetic Engineer in this month's Mother Earth Magazine, we learn more and more about GMO’s and their impact, directly from a genetic engineer. This is of critical importance to us as we first learned about it after some challenging health issues of our daughter’s – which ultimately led us to a farm to grow our own food.
This is of such critical importance to us that we wanted to share just a few things about it with you.
WHAT ARE GMO’s and WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Without getting into all the details of how they actually work (you can google it to find many details on that!) we wanted to share a few facts about GMO’s and why we work tirelessly to avoid them on our farm. It isn't the GMOs themselves...
First we must start with glyphosate. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup. Glyphosate was originally invented as a descaling agent, because it binds to all sorts of minerals and makes them unreactive and strips them easily from pipes. In biology they call that type of agent a “chelator,” and the binding of minerals is called “chelating.”
Someone figured out quickly that glyphosate kills all bacteria and plants, and that there is a lot more money to be made using this chemical as an herbicide rather than as a descaling agent. So that is when Monsanto bought the rights to it and patented it in 1969 as a nonselective herbicide.
In the 1980’s, someone figured out that they could engineer agricultural crops to be resistant to glyphosate. (Enter, GMOs). When crops are engineered to be glyphosate resistant, the weeds can be sprayed and the plants/crops can survive. A handful of major crops are now glyphosate-resistant and developers trademarked them as “Roundup Ready.” Farmers in the U.S. used this glyphosate-resistant soybeans on 93 percent of all planted soybean acreage and on 85 percent of all corn crops and cotton as well is at 82 percent. But in recent years, many species of weeds have adapted to this and are now resistant, which means they now must spray higher and higher quantities of glyphosate to be able to kill the weeds. This spray is hitting the resistant crops (aka: our food) many times during the growing season.
This is similar to when we over-use antibiotics in our bodies - we know that we can create "super bugs" that are no longer resistant to the antibiotic, rendering it useless. This is what is now happening with glyphosate.
RISING AMOUNTS IN ALL OUR FOOD
The current allowable amounts of glyphosate in food and water has risen from 10 ppm to as much as 400 ppm over the last 15 years, depending on the crop. Residue levels that were once considered extreme, are now presented to us as “normal” and "safe." 400 ppm of this is being sprayed on our food supply. That is astonishing to us!! The FDA continues to raise the "safe" limits as this new reality sets in.
A large number of published scientific studies – mostly done outside of the U.S. – show that as little as 1 ppm of glyphosate will kill almost all bacteria – particularly beneficial bacteria – in the gut of animals; that endocrine disruption starts at 0.5 ppm; and that even just a few ppm can cause oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, DNA damage, and many other disruptions in the mammalian organ cells and tissues.
All of our organs and tissues are at risk. The genetic engineer interviewed stated that he believes the most immediate concern is glyphosate's damaging effect on the human micro biome. The place where all health or disease begins. He also states that all of the research he's seen has been sponsored by the very industry who stands to gain from it's use. So of course they make lots of reassuring claims about it's safety.
Thierry Vrain is a retired genetic engineer and he says this, “I call glyphosate an antibiotic masquerading as an herbicide.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO AVOID THIS?
The best way to avoid glyphosate is to steer clear of all processed foods (which typically contain soy and corn of some type) and buy ingredients that are either clearly labeled “USDA Certified Organic” or come from a trusted local grower who doesn’t use herbicides. Certified Organic crops can’t be sprayed with glyphosate at any time.
NOT ALL LOCAL FARMERS ARE EQUAL
If we fed our chickens GMO or non-organic feed, they would be spreading it on our fields via their waste, making our land anything but "natural."
While there are many good farmers around us, you can’t be sure you are avoiding GMOs and pesticides unless you ask the right questions. For example, a farmer may say they use “natural practices” and they may not spray their garden or crops. However, ask them what they feed their livestock or their chickens. Do they feed non-GMO and organic feed? If not, then those animals are ingesting the glyphosate and then their waste is going into the soil on that farm. And perhaps even into a compost pile that then gets turned into their garden. Chickens ingesting it will have traces in their eggs. Cows or goats eating it will have traces in their milk.
The best way to avoid it is to know your farmer and ask the right questions.
We believe there is something better than the USDA Certified Organic seal: farmer transparency. Come to our farm and visit, look at our feed, look at what we have on the property. We are happy to show you and share what we have learned, and are still learning.