Blog Statement

Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

TDM CCN Header

March 3, 2011

GMO Food vs. Organic Food

All this talk about GMO’s, I’m still trying to understand the entire picture. Are you?

In a short version, this is what I’ve come to understand:

GMO; Genetically Modified Organism, is an organism whose been altered using genetic engineering techniques. So, basically changing the DNA of an organism.

Small scale experimental plantings of GM plants began in Canada and the U.S. in the late 1980s. The first approvals for large scale, cultivations came in the mid 1990s. Since then, the adoption of GM plants by farmers has increased annually.

Probably the most controversial but also the most widely used application of GMO technology is patent-protected food crops largely owned by Monsanto, which are resistant to commercial herbicides or are able to produce pesticidal proteins from within the plant, in turn growing a stronger, larger crop.

Photo by Google Image

My understanding of why Organic Farmers might be against GMOs, I think is, organic farmers are not allowed to use GMO seed but most conventional corn in the U.S. is genetically modified and probably one of the easiest crops for cross pollination to occur, its genes can travel into organic fields via wind blown pollen that could land on the tassels of organic corn. Possible and probable cross pollination occuring.

If this happens on a large scale, the organic farmer may be worried  the consumer will stop buying organic produce and/or organic meat, and buy conventional instead.
According to Pamela Ronald, a plant biologist at UC Davis says, those consumers are losing track of what’s most important. Pamela Ronald works with genetically engineered plants in the laboratory, and she's married to a longtime organic farmer. She and her husband together wrote the book "Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food".

"What really is important is, can we reduce the use of insecticides? Can we foster soil fertility? Can we feed the poor and malnourished?" she says. Those should be the goals of organic farming, she says, and they should be the goals of non-organic farming, too. According to Ronald, they're much more significant than avoiding laboratory-spliced genes.

To read more about GMOs and to view Pamela Ronald’s quote, go to the article, “How to Define ‘Organic’ Food.

So GMOs are plants that are stronger, more resistant to things. Is that a bad thing? Will GMO crops help to reduce world starvation?

Do you consider eating non-GMO food as something important to you?

Pin It


Jan said...

When we're truly hungry it doesn't matter nearly as much. Choices are great for those who can afford choices - but what do the rest of the population who can't afford it eat? Although small scale, have started with quite a few heirloom, organic seeds as a base beginning - but prefer people who choose to buy from us rather than have to

Michelle said...

I think the GMO industry is getting way out of hand. After watching Food, Inc., I became more aware of the GMO industry and I still fail to understand why GMO food products are not labeled as such.

Anonymous said...

Great post Nancy! Hope it gets people thinking!

ann said...

The one thing I found from a tour from Dow agri sciences was if they can alter one piece of rice and it can help a child in a third world country who eat a lot of rice would be good for the world.

Dar said...

You educate, most appreciated. Personally, the organic way is still and hopefully, without interference of the GMO industry and the natural pollination, my way. We are amongst the few, but growing, number of folks that raise our own gardens and at least, we Think we know what we are eating. The cross-pollination in its most natural form, is what concerns me with these DNA alterations. Very interesting read. Please continue to educate. You have a lovely family and I am sold on your effort to make a better world for them.

TexWisGirl said...

Hi there! Thanks for dropping by my blog today! LOVE holsteins (being raised in Wisconsin among the dairy farmers there, they'll always hold a place in my heart). Love the photo you use as your header. You need to take a pic of that cow with the heart on her forehead and link it up to She does a "Guest Heart Thursday" where she posts found hearts and this one would be spectacular!!!! :)

Nice to meet you, you dairy queen!

Anonymous said...

I've written this comment three times and I can't find a way to express my feelings without sounding too preachy.
Basically - just because GMO may solve a problem now, what makes us think it won't cause many more down the road? I mean, this is where the organic and green revolutions started - we've figured out that in the long run, we're doing more harm by playing around with all these chemicals and mutations.

Nancy Grossi ~ Churned In Cali ~ The Wife of a Dairyman said...

@MilkMaid09, doesn't sound too 'preachy' to me, I like to hear everyone's opinion on such things and I'm sure most everyone else does as well. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Driftwood and Pumpkin said...

I prefer not to fool with anything at all for fear of not having long term statistics on how it will damage humans. However, with that said, if it is proven on a LONG TERM basis that there are only positive factors to GMO plants, than I am for it. After all, God gave us brains to use.

Incorporate travel with Organic Farming?...Easy! said...

Organic Farming produces a better world socially due to the implications conventional farming has on the under developed world. Slow food off under developed countries cannot compete with the fast paced non-crop rotation farming of developed countries.

Karol Jo said...

Hi there. One thing that is most troubling about the Monsanto thing, besides there past of being a large corp. Chemistry operation, they now go after mid to small sized farmers who keep their own seed source and share with others from year to year—Monsanto is p[prosecuting many farmers or playing like a gangster to intimidation that they MUST buy seeds only from Monsanto.!! Real need to control the market of our food supply. If what they produce and sell is so great for human/animal consumption why would they need to bully farmers into compliance with their way?

Things to might want to study.

You know my background in farming in Potter Valley and my being a founder and manager of a farmer market in Carpinteria, CA and managing one of the largest farmers markets in the state—being Alemany in SF and being a proponent of small/mid size preferably organic farms, gives you some of my perspective on such things.
(keep in mind that the Alemany market, is extremely not organic, but less quality, cheap produce with many farmers buying or augmenting from packing houses, which is against state regulations of FM’s.)

Hope this helps in your own need to know.


Karol Jo

Anonymous said...

Woah! I'm really digging the template/theme of this website. It's simple, yet effective.
A lot of times it's difficult to get that "perfect balance" between superb usability and visual appearance. I must say you have done a excellent job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super quick for me on Opera. Excellent Blog!

Feel free to visit my web site ... low carb protein bars