by Francisco G. Gómez
Do we ever stop to think about what we really are? No, I’m not talking about your identity or your cultural background; or anything else for that matter, other than what is it that first made each of us biological creatures in the universe. The simple answer to this is that your Mom produced a seed and your Dad produced another seed and somehow these two came together in the new seed that produced you; but it’s not that simple. Given the trillions of cells that make up the human body, the crucial question then must be, what constituted a proper environment for the seeds that became you?
Let’s say that both of your parents lived till the ripe old age of 80 and you were conceived 60 years before they died. That would have put them both at the age of 20 at the time you were born. All the nutrients that sustained you until the umbilical cord was cut came from your mother. Perhaps it would continue even after you were surgically separated if she decided to breast feed you. If she and your father had sustained themselves for 20 years in a healthy way nutritionally and environmentally, and given that there were no birth defects that were passed on through their genes to you, then it would stand to reason that the odds would be in your favor of being born healthy.
The point is that it took years of proper food consumption, and probably a conducive environment, for your parents to biologically produce that healthy baby that was you at the time of your birth. This is not to say that people who have babies under adverse conditions don’t produce healthy babies, it’s just that good and wholesome conditions make good seed. In other words, healthy seed produces healthy fruit, usually!
Now that we are well into Vandana Shiva’s “Fortnight of Action” and we have been posting a variety of articles in our “Seeds of Freedom” blog, the need to address and get the word out about food sovereignty and sustainability is overwhelming. Healthy seed is at the heart of the fight in this struggle. Healthy seed is what we are!
For the garden enthusiast, as well as the professional farmer, the realities of today’s seed production is scary in deed. We’ve read the stories about Monsanto, the farmers who committed suicide in India because their crops failed due to faulty seed and pesticide use, farmers in Canada and across the globe being sued because their organic crops were corrupted by seed swindlers and other reasons too many to mention here. But, the one most heinous crime is GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
It seems that Mary Shelley could have written Monsanto’s horror story. The idea of piecing genetic material together to produce something that supposedly gives life is very Frankenstein in deed. Simply put, it’s not natural. Science believes it can tamper with nature in an accelerated fashion, while stating that it’s for the benefit of humanity but, even if Monsanto’s words were true, the saying goes “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
Monsanto’s quest to dominate seed and, hence, food on the planet, is even more horrifying because it will take time to see the full effects of genetic modification in global food production. Consumption of this genetically modified food, by people around the world, could have long term detrimental effects on their biology. Clinical trials have shown the creation of tumors in laboratory rats that ate GMO food for extended periods of time (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-world-according-to-monsanto/). If this alone isn’t disconcerting, given that Monsanto says that their seed is not dangerous to humans, then I don’t know what is! But then we’re not rats, are we?
Terminology like “The Principal of Substantial Equivalence” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_the_release_of_genetically_modified_organisms and some of the other genetically modified food controversies attempt to explain the logic behind biotechnology, especially in the field of GMOs and seed. The truth is that the matter far exceeds what Monsanto is doing. All of this has political, social, psychological, and most of all, economic implications when it comes down to the most important part of global food production, the integrity of seed.
Landraces (indigenous seeds) have been the heart of organic and sustainable food production for thousands of years; that’s right, it didn’t happen over night in some corporate laboratory. Our reckless need for science and technology has plunged us into a dilemma of dire consequences for years to come, from a food sovereignty and sustainability perspective. It seems foolish and arrogant that these new Robber Barons believe that they can manipulate and control the essence of what we are biologically for the sake of profit, without any repercussions to our anatomy, societies and environment.
As our planet descends into a quagmire of not just food issues, but pollution of our lands and oceans, needless wars, famines, the uncontrollable and irresponsible increase in global population, these beg the question, will we be able to sustain humanity at all in the years to come? I know you have heard this all before; however, can it be reiterated too many times. I believe not!
Humanity has been negotiating these problems for a long time now and rather unsuccessfully; sorry to sound like the doomsday bunny. And, in the midst of all this failure, the single most thing that has gotten us this far is the reality of creating food by way of plant and animal seed. As you may see or perhaps happen to disavow, as is your right, the powers that be would screw with the most important aspect of our continuance as biological animals on this planet, healthy seed. This is very scary, folks!
My parents and I came up before the advent of fast, processed and GMO food, so the latter wasn’t of much concern, at least not here in the Americas of that period. Now, for my generation, the last of the baby boomers, we’ve witnessed the gradual and hideous alterations to seed and food sources around the world. We can only hope that the new generations of people in the age of information will see and call attention to how their food is created and produced, and above all, how the sanctity and integrity of seed is maintained in a healthy and sustainable way in the future. We are seeds, and seeds are us. Keep the seed real!
Please make sure to come out this Saturday in a day of global solidarity and protest against Monsanto. Visit the following website for cities, places and times to meet up for the march: http://occupy-monsanto.com/tag/protest/s