[Market-farming] GMO crops (was new potatoes)

Brigette Leach afhg at ctsmail.net
Mon Jun 8 13:56:30 EDT 2009


Just to add to the comments....

Some farmers do think some aspects of GMO's are a good thing. For example, the sugar beet grower who can make 3 trips across the field with the tractor instead of 7. Fewer pesticides, less fuel, less soil compaction...

Brigette Leach
Avalon Farms Homegrown
Share of the Farm
www.avalonfarmshomegrown.net
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Road's End Farm 
  To: Market Farming 
  Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 1:17 PM
  Subject: Re: [Market-farming] GMO crops (was new potatoes)



  On Jun 8, 2009, at 8:45 AM, Franklin W. Davis wrote:


      Good morning...what are GMO crops...


  Genetically modified organisms. Genes not natural to the crop have been artificially inserted into the seed; once in there, they will generally be passed to the next generation, if the seed is viable.


    and why are they bad news? Franklin 


  A proper answer to this would take quite a long time and I'm too busy to do it right now -- if nobody else fields it I'll try to get back to it. (I should note that there are probably some on this list who don't think they are bad news.)

  For a fast and dirty answer: the inserted genes may have additional effects not intended and not well understood, whether in the human diet or in the environment as a whole. Also, in many cases, the companies doing this are inserting things that may themselves be problematic, and/or that imply characteristics on the part of the company that many people don't like. One common GMO crop, for instance, is modified to express the pesticide BT toxin in every cell of the plant continuously; another common GMO technique is to insert herbicide resistance, which is likely to increase the use of herbicides in the short run and is also very likely to cause that gene to pass into weeds now controllable by the herbicide in the long run. Monsanto also wanted to genetically modify seed to make it sterile in the next generation -- the Terminator gene -- so farmers would be forced to buy seed every year; they pulled back on this one because there was such an outcry. If this gene were to transfer itself to other crops being grown in the area, there could be widespread disaster, for the farmers and the genetic base. GMO traits seem to transfer fairly easily, at least from wind-pollinated crops.





  -- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
  Fresh-market organic produce, small scale


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