I love corn on the cob. When I was young and growing up in NJ, we would spend summer days at the beach and on our way home we would stop at various roadside produce markets to pick up corn. Back then we ate it slathered in butter and with lots of salt.
But now 90% of all corn grown in the United States is genetically engineered in some way (according to the USDA). 80% of the corn grown in the US is destined for livestock, poultry and fish, and 12% ends up in human foods, like corn chips and high fructose corn syrup (according to the EPA). That doesn’t leave much left to just eat.
I’m not going to get into whether or not GMO produce is good or bad for one’s health. But there are ecological and economic concerns with GMO corn, for example what is the effect of these foods on the environment, what is the impact of GMO crops for farmers (both here and in developing countries), what will be the impact of GMO labeling, what is the impact of the consolidation of control of the food supply to one or two companies that produce GMO seed, and what is the impact of the reduction of biodiversity.
In addition there is the problem of the emergence of herbicide resistant weeds and pesticide resistant insects.
Then there is the issue of intellectual property. The mega seed companies (like Monsanto) use intellectual property law to forbid farmers from saving seed. Farmers who purchase these seeds must sign contracts and sign patent license agreements.
An interesting case regarding GMO canola occurred in Canada when a farmer growing non-GMO canola discovered that some of his crop was resistant to the herbicide Roundup. He had never purchase Roundup resistant seed, apparently seed from neighboring farms had blown onto his farm. So he harvested the canola and saved the seed, which he then replanted.
I’m not sure how Monsanto found out about this, but they asked this farmer to sign a patent agreement and various other contracts, and he refused to sign. Monsanto sued him for patent infringement and won. The farmer appealed and lost, then appealed to the Canada Supreme Court and again lost.
I won’t even get into what Monsanto is doing in developing countries, but I will say that Monsanto donated 475 tons of GMO seed to Haiti, and many farmers are burning them rather than planting them.
This week I found non-GMO corn at a little grocery store nearby. This corn was grown at Waterford Farm which is about 17 miles from where I live.
It was so good. Looks good, doesn’t it? It’s nice to be able to eat corn on the cob again.