It’s the beginning of June and finally time to plant the garden! This year all my edible seeds came from reputable businesses selling only heirloom and organic seeds. While I may have paid a bit more for organic, heirloom varieties I feel the money was well spent. When I consider that a packet of seed cost me less than $3.00 and should I have bought the same amount of food in the stores my seeds will produce I am way ahead financially and health wise.
I did a bit of research to find out which foods in my supermarket could be genetically modified and was horrified by some of the foods now on that list. You still have time to purchase organic seeds/starts if one of your favorite foods is on this list.
- Rapeseed: this is where Canola oil comes from
- Honey: This one was a complete surprise but it makes sense. If a bee collects nectar from a genetically modified plant the honey will be contaminated. This process has shut down exports of Canadian honey after bees were in contact with GM rapeseed crops.
- Rice: Rice is about to be grown containing human genes. Now we are expected to be cannibals? We are told this won’t end up on our plates but instead be used for treating infant diarrhea in the developing world. I guess what they should have said is it won’t end up on a plate in the first world. Hmm how long before it contaminates other rice varieties.
- Soybean: Any food listing soy products, soy flour, soy lecithin, even tofu can be genetically modified.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are genetically modified to prevent rot and give a longer shelf life.
- Corn: used in processed foods, as a sweetener such as High fructose corn syrup, may be found in fried foods, baked goods, confectionery, soda and other sugary drinks
- Sweet Corn: Over half the sweet corn crops in the US were genetically modified and while we were told this would be fed to animals (not humans) but it comes down to us through the food chain.
- Potatoes: Several varieties of potatoes being sold have been genetically modified. In addition snack foods such as potato chips can be from these crops.
- Flax: As a vegetarian and part-time vegan I have used flax seeds for my omega-3s, but this is another crop that has been taken over by the corporations and modified. Seeds and oils should be suspect
- Papaya: three-fourths of the Hawaiian Papaya crops are now genetically modified.
- Yellow Crookneck Squash and Zucchini: These crops are not wide spread, and I have no idea why these were deemed necessary to modify as any one who has planted a zucchini plant will tell you they produce well without pesticides.
- Peas: Genetically modified peas were shown to interfere with the immune responses in mice. Again this is a pretty easy plant to grow.
- Vegetable Oils and Margarine: Specifically those used in restaurants and processed foods come from GM crops unless they are clearly marked as not containing GM oils.
- Sugarbeets: You may find this in any processed foods containing sugar.
- Dairy Products: Most people don’t realize that rbGH a growth hormone is genetically modified and was one of the first experiments on our food supply. Close to one fourth of all cows in the US are injected with rbGH. Foods affected are cheese, milk, and yogurt.
- Vitamins: Vitamin C is made from corn, Vitamin E from soy, and Vitamins A, B2, B6,B12, D, and K could also come from GM crops.
The above list was the most comprehensive I found online, but having heard about other foods I did individual searches and turned up more foods such as this article from 2011 on broccoli, alfalfa was mentioned in this article, tomato, brinjal, and cauliflower were all mentioned as coming soon in this one. Seven more fruits and vegetables were named in this post.
Once you start digging you find that biotech industries have their hands all over our foods. Once we get beyond the Genetically Modified foods we then have to look for the foods with the worst pesticides which is such a long list I’ll probably do a follow up rather than include it here.
Taking all these factors into consideration I planned my garden this year to grow crops I know have been modified or heavily sprayed and you can too. Start with something you enjoy eating. Maybe it’s tomato products such as spaghetti sauce and ketchup ( a biggie for children). Even if you don’t have a large plot of land tomatoes do well in pots and can be set on a porch or patio.
Start saving seeds. Buy one or two organic vegetables from the store and save the seeds. Green peppers are a good example. Cut open a pepper and you can find hundreds of tiny seeds inside. I’ve also saved the pits from organic Bing Cherries and am attempting to grow them this year as well. It will take a few years for them to mature but it is cheaper than buying a cherry tree.
There are some plants which will not grow in your local area, for example I live too far north to plant citrus or tropical fruits. But by growing a garden and savings seeds each year I can expand the variety from year to year and have money set aside to buy organic varieties of fruit and vegetables I can’t grow.
Thursday I will share another reason for purchasing heirloom varieties.
What was the first edible plant you started with? What determines what you grow is it the issue of pesticides, genetic modification or something else?