Monday, November 5, 2012

on GMO labeling

As a farmer, and one interested in the economics of farming, I've participated in a variety of focus groups, concerned citizens, scientific meetings, farm conferences and over the table at farmers market conversations with a variety of people.

As farmers, we do not receive any direct funding from the federal government. We appreciate the help of Penn State Ag Extension, the Univ. of Maryland extension, the knowledge, facilities and support extended to us, but they do not fund us. Very few of our customers have purchased our food with Food Stamps or SNAP...less than $100 in the last 10 years. We are a registered business in the state of Pennsylvania, with licenses and regulators visiting our farm and farm stand every year. We pay real estate and school tax, as we are a for profit entity: so the options of getting Americorp funded volunteers is not available to us. Our farm is a business, and by any standards is considered a small business.

The Farm Bill has expired. It is a political hot potato that no one in our government wanted to tackle be fore this election. In general, the Farm Bill funds 3 agencies: the Food Assistance (SNAP, WIC, free lunch and breakfast); the conservation districts; and the part of our government that funds farmers that grow genetically modified grains.

Much has been written about franken foods, and test tube food and the like.

I'll just say this: There is science that points to damage done to the human system by the chemicals sprayed on the fields before the GMO crops are planted. These chemicals are poison to every single thing on that field. Plant, bug, bird, frog, mammal, rodent, and yes, the human who sprays them. On any farm, the person who applies these chemicals must be trained and registered as the administrator of these chemicals. And when they are applied to the field, everything dies. Everything except that one plant, genetically matched to deflect that poison. It grows, and no other thing does.

That is what is being asked to be labeled. That is what is being proposed in California, on proposition 37. The citizens are asking to be told when the ingredients of a food come from this farming method. That is all.

What is the threat? Why would the manufacturers, farmers, food processors, all join forces and contribute millions to stop this? The financial alarm has been sounded "It would raise your grocery bill $400 a year"! That is less than $8 per week. And the folks who are too poor to afford the $8 are the ones in areas that research has shown don't have access to real food...they live in the world of fast food and convenience store food...so it will not really affect them, they will continue to buy the worst food we as a planet produce, and continue to be the highest medical cost populations on this entire earth. So who is the target here? Who are they scaring with this sky is falling verbage?

I don't know. I know this, if these companies think these GMO grains, produced all over this country are so fantastic, so needed to save our planet, why don't they want it on their bags and boxes? Why are they fighting this information being made available to the consumer?

Please vote for prop 37 if you are a registered voter in California. The farmers working to help you have options in what you eat know it is a good law.

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