Taking Root #54

Taking Root

May 24, 2017

Seed is Life!

By Gini Bramlett

For the Calapooia Food Alliance

Did you know that in the 20th Century the world has lost more than 90 percent of the seed varieties we once had. Gone! FOREVER! Pretty grim statistic,isn’t it?

Diversity in what we eat and what we grow is our salvation. Remember the Irish potato famine? Most of Ireland grew virtually the same type of potatoes for various reasons. When the blight hit, all the crops were devastated and the people starved. Growing a variety could have made all the difference.

It’s a fact that the majority of grocery store food is GMO grown. We are eating food that is not in any way natural. Genetically-modified means just that – injections of animal DNA in tomatoes is an example – and all to make our food bigger and prettier so companies can make a pocket full of money.

Think on that for a moment. As a human race, we have allowed most of the seeds that once provided the world’s sustenance to disappear and we rely on food produced by chemical companies who only have their own interests in mind.

Being dependent on large chemical/seed companies to provide seed to our farmers world wide puts us in a very vulnerable position. It allows two major companies to decide what we eat and how the seeds they provide are treated.

That said, early on when these companies decided to market their Round-Up Ready seeds to the world, they went on a quest with a marketing plan that would make your toes curl.

I’ll tell you a story: They offered these seeds to farmers in India for free, convincing them that chemical farming would ensure better harvests and more money. Not much was know then about the effects of spraying chemicals on our food.

To make matters worse, these companies offered to buy all the seeds the farmers had been using for decades, even centuries, leaving them dependent on chemical farming with seeds that could not be saved.

Most Indian farmers jumped on the chemical bandwagon, as did farmers in many countries. The first series of droughts in India killed the crops and farmers had no money to buy more seed. Thousands of farmers committed suicide. Their families were starving.

Another problem with these Round-Up Ready-type seeds is the spraying alone is causing birth defects, chronic illness and death around the planet. Right now, the citizens on the island of Kauai are literally fighting for their lives.

Dow has been using the island for large scale chemical testing. A school almost entirely surrounded by test plots was relatively unaware how at risk it was since most of the spraying went on at night, until an early morning when spraying was done during a football practice. Nine students dropped to the ground instantly. Citizens protested and a local legislator took their case to court. They won, ensuring that the chemical company inform the citizens of what they were spraying and when.

The chemical company sued the state of Kauia for preventing them from doing business. It’s still in process and the communities are still dealing with the spraying.

As concerned citizens, we must make ourselves aware of what the big chemical companies are doing. We need to stop buying GMO food. We need to buy organic food or grow our own, and buy our seed from growers who are working to save heirlooms that can provide the diversity of seed that we can save, are drought resistant, can survive through floods and other extreme conditions.

Many dedicated growers/seed companies have focused on this mission over the past couple of decades. They need our support.

The 2017 Brownsville Thursday Market is in full swing starting at 3pm at the corner of Main and Park streets.Vendors will offer vegetable and flower starts, perennials, berry plants, ornamentals, handmade soaps and bath truffles, fresh baked cakes, pastries and breads, as well as tie dyed T-shirts, fresh salsa, hot coffee, lemonade and more.

Master Gardeners will be present at every other market day beginning Thursday May 18 to answer gardening questions and help troubleshoot garden problems.

For more information about the Calapooia Food Alliance’s new “NO FEE” vendor guidelines, email Gini at rongini98@gmail.com or visit the CFA website at www.gocfa.org and click on “market.” A vendor application and vendor rules can be printed from the site. Vendors will need to have a completed 2017 application before setting up. Applications and vendor rules will also be available on market day. Anyone who grows food, makes craft items or has art to sell is welcome at the market.

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