The importance of seeds in agriculture cannot be disputed, and yet this basic component of our survival is at risk. In the last few decades, agriculture has undergone rapid changes. The creation and subsequent patenting of genetically modified (GM) seeds has changed the ways in which every farmer in every nation has gone about their work. The chemical companies that own the patents to these seeds make claims for higher yields, less chemical dependance, and elimination of the world’s hunger. However, each year it becomes increasingly clear that genetic modification of seeds has been a failure for the farmers and for the ecosystems, and has benefited only the companies producing this seed.
Here is the US, we’ve seen a huge percentage of our farmland turned into mono-cropped fields of GM corn and soy, and in Canada their endless yellow fields are now predominantly GM canola. In India, Africa, and Asia, the chemical companies promote the success of the GM cotton and rice seed to farmers, who see lower yields, increased debt, and damaged ecosystems. This has led to a global agriculture that is dependent on only a few companies who have gained control over all aspects of farming: seed development, seed distribution, fertilizers, processing, and selling. Many people are unaware that the food they are eating is made with such ingredients, that the animals they eat are fed these foods, and that this type of agriculture is destroying our planet.
We need to make educated choices about what we eat, and we need to vote with our dollars about how we wish global agriculture to move forward. In most European countries and others across the world, GM foods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are banned; if they are not banned, they must be labeled to let consumers know what type of food they are eating. The residents of California will cast a landmark vote tomorrow about the labeling of GM foods. Should this pass- which it seems likely to do- the rest of the country will likely follow suit. This will allow consumers to make an educated choice about which foods to feed their family.
Though many studies state that there is no difference between GM foods and their organic counterparts, the truth is that GM foods are destroying the health of the population and the health of the nation. But if you are not yet sure how to feel about GM foods- and not sure how you should vote tomorrow on Proposition 37- we encourage you to watch this beautiful film entitled Seeds of Freedom. Produced in partnership with The Gaia Foundation and Navdanya, Seeds of Freedom explains how genetic modification has changed seeds, “in farming and in our culture from a sacred element and the giver of life to a powerful commodity used to monopolize global food production.” Though the use of GM seeds continues to increase across the globe, this system of agriculture is proving to be less resilient, less sustainable, more expensive, and ultimately detrimental to the survival of world agriculture.
Please enjoy this short film, and encourage your friends and family to learn more about GM crops and organic farming. We hope that you, too, choose to protect agricultural diversity and ensure the safety of our food systems by choosing food and seed that is wholesome, sustainable, and nourishing for your body- and your planet.
For more information about Proposition 37, check out the links below from the Important Media team, or click on these links to find The Gaia Foundation, Navdanya, The Non-GMO Project, and Organic Consumers Association.