Schell: Show your support for real food

Forbes Family Farm stand at the Kelowna Farmers’ Market. Steve and Gordon Forbes preserve the integrity of their organic foods. - Contributed
Forbes Family Farm stand at the Kelowna Farmers’ Market. Steve and Gordon Forbes preserve the integrity of their organic foods.
— image credit: Contributed

On Oct. 12, millions of activists from around the world are joining to March Against Monsanto—a unified call for the permanent boycott of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals.

Currently, marches will occur on six continents in 52 countries with events in more than 400 cities.  See more about the march and the issue at:

The local March Against Monsanto happens in Kelowna on Saturday Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. starting at the Parkinson Recreation Centre.  You can also join them on Facebook.

Many still do not know what GMOs are and why the international debate on whether they are safe or not.

Please take the time to read and research GMOs and about the history of Monsanto so you are able to come to your own conclusions, as this is a very controversial and important subject.

What are GMOs?

GMOs are the product of inserting genetic material from bacteria into corn or soy or sugar beet or whatever genetic material the ‘gene gun’ is haphazardly pointed toward.

This is called ‘transgenic,’ where genetic material from one species is transplanted into another, potentially creating novel proteins with which human metabolism has not co-evolved. The result is often an over stimulus of the immune system or allergic reaction or food sensitivity. (Some say this has resulted in the epidemic of allergies prevalent in today’s population).

Many countries around the world have banned GMO production and integration into their communities.

If not banning, other informed countries have imposed required labeling of GMO crops contained within food products. Do we not have the right to know what ingredients make up a product that we are consuming?

What is Monsanto?

Monsanto is an American company that is the leading producer of GMO seeds in the world, owning some 90 per cent of GMO products.

It is best known perhaps as the company that is the largest producer of glyphosate herbicides—Roundup.

GMO seeds are a hot topic; many believe that Monsanto and GMOs are taking over our agricultural world. The Global Research website says that: “When a corporation controls seed, it controls life, especially the life of farmers.”

Real food

Local farmer advocates, like Jon Alcock from Sunshine Farms, work passionately to save heritage seeds and, in turn, save the natural, historical varieties of plants meant for our human consumption.

Jon explains, “We believe that it is important to preserve the genetics of past generations—literally thousands of years of plant breeding and selection—and not allow them to be lost because the seed corporations see profit as the prime motivator in seed production. Most seed commercially produced and sold currently is for hybrid varieties, those that will ripen all at once, handle being mechanically harvested, sit on the supermarket shelf for weeks and taste nothing like the vegetable it is supposed to represent.

“No wonder kids don’t like their vegetables, the supermarket varieties are tasteless, they don’t really represent ‘fruits of the land,’ they are of some other land and not grown in fertile living soil, they are grown industrially, and virtually hydroponically with water and chemicals with the soil only as a growing medium. Although hybrids are not necessarily GMOs, they represent a narrowing of genetic diversity which makes us more susceptible to the vagaries of weather in this era of climate change.”

Steve and Gordon Forbes of organic Forbes Farm are very vocal advocates of the March Against Monsanto and continue to grow nutritional food for us on their Oliver farm to sell at our farmers’ markets and provide to local chefs.

They explain, “We have two main concerns with regard to GMOs. No. 1 is seed stock. We, as farmers, need to be able to save our own seed supply for the following year. Farmers are the best on-the-ground resources to decide what varieties are best suited for our local region, not a multinational company thousands of miles away.

“No. 2 would be labeling. If we had labeling on GMO products most people would not buy them and there would be no profit for these companies. People have the right to know what they are eating.”

How can you help?  Come join in the March.  Tell your friends, educate others and shop from farmers who are supporting the health of our community.

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