December 15, 2008

Coexistence? Maybe not...get the bully off the playground

Despite a Mexican Government moratorium on transgenic corn, corn fields deep in the State of Oaxaca and in the corn belt of the south have been contaminated with GMO. It is possible the contamination arrived via the corn seed of Pioneer, a large seed distributor which was found to contain 1/3 transgenic contaminates. Monsanto has succeeded in lobbying to prevent labeling this seed.
Read about it in the Organic Consumer Association. Or in the translation of the Le Monde article.

How realistic is it to keep our planet's corn and canola genetic heritage free of transgenic contamination? What far flung corner of it would one have to farm in, or save seed in. Is the contamination intentional? Will this happen systematically to all our food? This is significant. We're not talking crossing between varieties or species. This is cross phylum, cross domain. It is tragic because we don't know the long term health and environmental consequences of viral, bacterial, fish, etc genes in our basic food plants. An earlier similar study was met with an industry attack that discredited the research and quickly silenced public debate. I believe the full out attack on this kind of research conceals the real motive - profit through control of food and genetic resources. It is vigorously imperialistic, deviously clever and certainly not ignorant of the fact that many of the world's food crops cannot coexist with transgenics.
Biosecurity means taking the power away from the Big Gene companies. A handful of Western Governments with Canada, the US and Australia particularly culpable, have so complicitly bestowed ridiculous license to bully, harass, contaminate and control the bread of life and those who produce it. Perhaps the economic tsunami will provide the opportunity to resculpt the free trade agreements that have penalized small indigenous farmers in favour of industrial corn for feed or ethanol. Perhaps Obama will have the wisdom and independence to appoint a new Ag Secretary that has some integrity and objectivity. Perhaps a coalition of the left and willing will sweep Canada in the new year. My sinking feeling is however, that the alienation of the masses from the life of the land, of sun and rain, soil and seed, buries deeper those human genes that understand the horror of a food supply composed of intertwined domains, and mourn the loss of a right to grow what has been our human heritage for thousands of years.

photo from: Revolution of the New Commons


Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,
The concept of coexsistence was discussed in an article in Grain as a means to gain acceptance of GMOs by focusing the work on containing the contamination rather than banning it. worth a look. And a great site.

Bishops Homegrown said...

They are slowly and effectively eradicating pure strains of our one of our most ancient and sacred grains, they should be tried for bio-terrorism for tainting the stocks of Oaxaca, the home of corn. Very few seed savers are really even working with this ancient and diverse crop and it really is a shame, more people need to move into the preservation of this crop and prevention of cross pollination by way of GMO's. We can't allow this to continue, we must somehow find a way to fight this.