It seems that nearly everyone needs a boogeyman, and for many, it is Monsanto. This weekend, around the world there were marches in protest of that company. If you’ve read my page Whiskey and The Morning After Blog and my article titled “The Monsanto Protection Act and Why You Were Duped,” you may believe that I dismiss this movement against Monsanto as delusional paranoia. Those who believe that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I don’t believe Monsanto is intentionally poisoning people, despite a lot of the conspiracy theories that claim otherwise. What I do believe is that they are using all means at their disposal to corner the market on food products and seed patents so that we have no other choice than to use their products, and on their terms. They have a concerning amount of lobbying power over our elected officials, as evidenced by the recently defeated push to require labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients (something that’s supported by a majority of Americans).
Like Wal-Mart or any other major corporation, Monsanto wants to be the only game in town, and they’ll do whatever they have to do in order to achieve that goal.
I’m not entirely convinced whether genetically modified foods are dangerous or not, but they are largely untested by independent scientists to confirm either way. I do know that I am gluten intolerant and it was something that, in retrospect, I found was getting worse and worse every year until the problem was finally diagnosed. Whether that was my body gradually rebelling, or the fault of genetically modified wheat for higher gluten content, I may never know. I can say with relative certainty that Monsanto does not have our best interests as consumers in mind.
Let’s put aside the hyped up stories from Natural News and other so-called news sites that want you to believe that this company is trying to give us all cancer, and look at the cold reality of how corporations gain this kind of power in the marketplace.
Monsanto didn’t come out of nowhere to take over the food market — we as consumers aided and abetted in that acquisition. If you wanted bigger strawberries, juicier corn or fruit without blemishes from insects, you in some way contributed to this problem. If you wanted the convenience of purchasing vegetables from a big box store instead of taking the time to grow your own or buy from a farmer’s market, you were helping Monsanto.
So how do we stop Monsanto and their ever increasing stranglehold on our food supply? It’s simple — start growing your own food or purchase from those who do. Even if you live in a high-rise apartment building, you can grow something in your window or on your deck. Here in Louisiana, we have literally hundreds of thousands of acres of incredibly fertile land that isn’t being used, and it sickens me every time I see black dirt being paved over to make room for another shopping mall or subdivision.
Even just doing a little bit of research to find out what companies use GMO’s and which products they use them in is a start. Until “frankenfoods” start getting labeled as such, this is the least we can do. Buy 100% organic whenever possible — it’s usually a little bit more expensive, but foods cannot be certified as 100% organic in the United States if they contain genetically modified ingredients. You can also check out the Non-GMO Project’s list of foods and beverages independently certified for good practices in GMO avoidance.
If you want to stop the beast, stop feeding it. Stop buying your food from Wal-Mart and the big box stores. Instead, buy from a local backyard farmer, local co-op, or take the time to fill a pot with some earth and plant some seeds (preferably non-GMO). Grow your own and share with your neighbors. Not only will you do some real damage to Monsanto, but you’ll also strengthen your community. That’s the only way to take the monster down.
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