If you’re unfamiliar with me, or this blog, you might wonder why, with a condition that can be as debilitating as Fibromyalgia, I would be so committed to growing food rather than just taking the easy route and buying it.
I’ve actually always had a desire to garden, but never had the time or energy to devote to one. Then last spring (2010), after having been unable to work for several months, I was going crazy feeling like my life was just wasting away. I still wanted to help support my family, and was frustrated by how tight our financial situation had become. I got out the seeds I’d been collecting for several years, and started with just a few plants. I also began doing research to get the most out of the plants and soil I had with the least amount of effort, and looking for alternatives to spraying chemicals on my food that my fibro might not get along with. In my research, I learned two things that have, in a rather literal sense, changed my life. The first was the concept of permaculture. The second was that genetically modified foods not only exist, but have been sneaked into most of the prepackaged foods on the market! In other words, I learned that my family and I had been unknowingly eating GMOs for YEARS!
Approximately 90% or more of corn, canola, and soy grown in the US are genetically modified plants that either have pesticide in every single cell, and/or have been engineered to withstand applications of herbicides designed to kill all plant life they touch, almost certainly including the corn in your retailer’s produce section! Even worse, it’s the herbicide producers creating these genetically modified plants, and the FDA and USDA have relied solely on safety testing done by the manufacturer in their approvals of these crops. The biotech companies have been allowed to patent the seed (and the plants—they can only be grown by “licensed growers”), and allowed “trade secrets” rights on the genetic modification process, effectively preventing any third party unbiased safety testing! [sources]
Have you read a food label lately? Almost everything other than raw, unprocessed meat, fruits, and vegetables have some form of corn, soy, and/or canola in them! I trust nature over man—especially profit-motivated man!—, and I immediately knew I didn’t want to eat (or feed my family) pesticides, nor whatever makes these plants tolerant of something that will kill every other plant it touches. The more I learned, the more dedicated I became to supplying my family with as much non-GMO, patent-free, nature-proved and time-tested food as I can. I decided that I would only be planting heirlooms, preferably from certified organic growers to ensure they are not GMO, and the older the cultivar the better! I’m also working on a 5 year plan for a “permagarden" of edible perennials, and a 10 year plan for complete food self-sufficiency. (The 10 year plan will require either learning to hunt and trap, learning to raise and butcher some type of livestock, or going vegetarian. I haven’t yet decided, but will most likely go vegetarian.)
And, if you’re still here, this article details all the other reasons to grow heirlooms far better than I ever could:
I have also chosen to grow as much food for my family as I can manage because it’s one thing I know I can do to aid in the effort to restore balance to the earth. By growing my own food, I’m not only less dependent on what I consider to be unnatural foods (GMOs), but I’m also contributing much less to the carbon emissions by not encouraging food to be shipped in from all over the worlds. I’m improving my land by converting it to a food-producing state, and I’m helping the bees by providing them with safe nectar.
I also want to get this all figured out because if our population doesn’t wake up SOON, my children and granddaughter will need the knowledge I’m accumulating if they are to survive and thrive in the world to come. While half of all America is in the grips of “climate denial,” we’re actually starting to see the climate changes that were predicted 20+ years ago when scientists all over the world first raised the alarm for global warming. At that time, they thought it would be a bit farther into the future, but the greed related to carbon emissions outpaced their forecast, and we have already surpassed their “tipping point.” If we don’t start changing NOW, our children and grandchildren face an incredibly bleak future. (See 350.org)