Thursday, April 11, 2013

Food Issues: Saying No to GMO

In my other life, I am very involved in Edmonton's activist scene (and by "activist," I mean left-wing, granola crunching, tree-hugging, hippy sorts of things). People who know me in real life, or even just online, won't be surprised by this fact. Part of the reason why I started a food blog was that there really was no seamless way to integrate my interest in writing about food with my main blog, where I usually write about social issues and events.

However, earlier this week I attended an event that was very much about both food and activism. Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa took place on April 9 outside of the office of Laurie Hawn, MP Edmonton-Centre. Farmers, food security activists, and people from the general community came out to express their disapproval of genetically modified crops.

Day Of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa

Genetically modified crops pose a problem to farmers, particularly organic ones. If a farmers wants to grow a crop organically and his field is surrounded by other farms growing GM versions of the same crops, there is a problem if there is seed drift due to wind or cross pollination. The farmer can actually get fined by companies patenting seeds for growing those crops without a license - even if it happens by accident!

Day Of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa

Another problem is the use of chemicals in GM crops - crops which are used as feed for farmers growing livestock. Alfalfa is used in feed and farmers who wish to avoid GM alfalfa are finding it harder and harder to do so.

Day Of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa

What can we as food consumers do about GMOs? Buy local. Buy organic. Take a stand. A "March Against Monsanto" is scheduled for May 25.

Day Of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa

For my full set of photos from the event, click here. A video playlist of speakers is here.

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