Never, Ever Leaving Well Enough Alone Since 1958! - Learning To Cook Blog at - 292032

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Never, Ever Leaving Well Enough Alone Since 1958! 
Dec. 13, 2012 8:39 pm 
Updated: Jan. 16, 2013 6:02 am
" Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.'' Winston Churchill to the boys at Harrow School, October 29, 1941.

Of course, this is nothing so weighty as fighting against the tyranny of world domination by the Nazis. No, this has to do with defending a company I don't care for and have no ties to. Why can't I just leave well enough alone? Why must I pick at this bloody scab? When David slew Goliath, he didn't tell the Philistines that Goliath wore women's clothing on weekends and went to bed with a teddy bear. He didn't tell stories about Goliath. He picked up a rock and killed him with it. Done.

I've heard all kinds of ludicrous things about the most evil company in the world, Monsanto. Much of it, and sadly the things that are most often repeated, are untrue. I hear similar things about GM crops. Judging by the way many folks speak about Monsanto and GM crops in general, one would not be surprised to find Satan back in God's good graces and a new devil on the prowl. Most of the people that are repeating these things are good, honest folks that I would probably be on friendly terms with if we were neighbors. I would hope the feelings would be mutual, but I don't want to speak for them.

Before I go on, I would like to present a clarification. Maybe it's more of a plea to not hate-me-because-I-don't-really-like-them-anymore-than-you-do kind of deal. I really don't want to lose all these nice new friends I've made on AR over Monsanto. But there's that damned scab! Maybe I should go classier and quote Shakespeare: "Out, da(m)n'd spot! out, I say!" (I had to add the () because of some ridiculous censor feature in the editor. Imagine this: I can type damned, but not da(m)n.)

What about all those hundreds of organic farmers that Monsanto is suing because Monsanto's pollen is contaminating the organic farmers crops? They don't exist. This is actually a twofer, because first, Monsanto has brought suit 145 times since 1997, and only eleven of those were brought to trial. Second, more organic farmers have sued Monsanto than the other way around. One of the silliest was OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto in which some "60 family farmers, seed businesses and agricultural  organizations" sued Monsanto on the premise that Monsanto might sue them if their crops showed positive for GMO traits. The judge dismissed the case. Apparently, they have now grown to 300,000 people and 4,500 farms strong ready for the appeal. The people Monsanto has accused of violating patent protections were from tips received by Monsanto from other farmers in the area.

David Runyon, an Indiana farmer was one of these accused farmers. He was also one of the lucky ones that didn't proceed to trial. The fact is that Monsanto didn't send their agents onto his property to demand records, and take samples from his fields until after they had been tipped off by an anonymous source. At least that was Mr. Runyon's account. I say these things not to defend Monsanto, because I don't think a company should have the right to enter your property and do anything without a representative of the State present. I am surprised that there isn't a law protecting people from that, but maybe I shouldn't be surprised since our country seems to be spiraling in that direction. The point is that Monsanto only has storm troopers knocking down doors all willy-nilly in Oz, not on the Earth.

Let's take pollen drift further, and throw GM tech out the window for this example. Let's say you are an organic farmer growing 100 acres of your favorite open pollinated corn. I am also an organic farmer who happens to be up wind of your field and adjacent to it. I am also growing a hundred acres of my favorite open pollinated corn. The corn I've chosen isn't your favorite because it gives a lower yield, has poor disease resistance and it takes longer to dry. (Ok. You got me. I don't know if that last one is possible!) Anyway, you save seed like you always do, after you harvest next year you realize that your yield is a staggering 20% lower than expected even though conditions were favorable. not only that, but your drying costs rose because of the amount of moisture that the corn was retaining. You suspect that pollen from my crop has contaminated your field. Based on what OSGATA is trying to do to Monsanto, what is to say that you might not try to sue me because my pollen is contaminating your fields? Sure, it isn't GMO, but it is having a negative impact on your production.

Here's an interesting little piece from NPR. It's a bit unusual to find a piece like this from a news source that far left of center. Now I'm heading back to the internet. Maybe I can find a French model to date! Mercy! Bon Jovi!
Dec. 14, 2012 5:17 am
Doc, Baking Nana had a post a few weeks ago about GMO science and producers refusing to label their products as GMO. The issue was not to ban GMO but inform those buying the GMO products. This would not be an issue if Monsanto, and the others, were willing to engage in public information forums. I believe we need the GMO science to feed the rapidly growing human population. However, when the science ignores my questions I become suspicious of it's intent- just as I would a physician that wants to do surgery but won't tell me why. In other words, taking away my control of MY life. The science is very young and there have been no studies released to the public about the long term affects this mixing of life forms has on life as we have previously known it. I am not condemning the science. I am condemning the arrogance of the science. It seems they are going to (literally) shove it down our throats as the savior of human kind.
Dec. 14, 2012 6:09 am
I couldn't agree more with Mike Harvey. Just label the stuff and let us make OUR choice for OURSELVES. It makes me nervous when some company can decide what is good for me. Mele Kalikimaka!
Dec. 14, 2012 7:21 am
And I absolutely agree with both of you. It's one of the many reasons I don't care for the way much of big agribusiness is done. But using fallacious argumentation, name calling and over dramatizing the issues (which you have *not* done in your comments here) is not the way to go about getting them to change. Even if it did work, the end never justifies the means. It'd the only reason I make comments on the anti-GMO posts. There is a lot in science that isn't as settled as they say it is. And it is arrogant of them to tell us not to worry our pretty little heads about it. First, they obviously haven't seen me if they think that. Second, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to nourish them as best we can. You can't do that if you don't know what's in the food you're serving. Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau?oli Makahiki Hou! Thanks for the nice comments!
Dec. 14, 2012 8:40 am
" Corn, soybeans, cotton (for oil), canola (also a source of oil), squash, and papaya. You could also include sugar beets, which aren't eaten directly, but refined into sugar. There's also GMO alfalfa, but that goes to feed animals, not for sprouts that people eat. That leaves quite a lot of your garden untouched." That is from the link you posted, Doc-interesting indeed and this is was burns my buttocks-don't worry about GMO alfalfa sprouts because GMO alfalfa is only fed to animals-that we eat. Many links I have read say that ONLY canola, corn, sugar beets, and soy are the GMO culprits. No big deal, avoid those foods and you will be GMO free. Let's look at that, canola, corn and soy are fed to animals that we in turn eat. Soy is a major source of protein that people eat. Canola oil is wide spread and used in many foods. Sugar beets? Oh yeah they are used to make processed sugar, that is also used in a few recipes. Corn flakes, corn chips -are examples listed as GMO culprits. So lets just ban those few foods from our diets and we will be fine? Sort of doubt that. The lawsuit with the Cannuckian farmer sort of made me chuckle. Our farmers faught against GMO wheat and the idea that Schmeiser "took" (for lack of a better word) seeds and planted them makes me LOL. Though I cannot and would not want to speak on behalf of Schmeiser BUT if I were a canola farmer and some big corporation told me I could not save seed, had to buy it year after year (from them exlusively), and it was an idea that I felt strongly against, I know in my smart @ss, ironic mind, I would give Monsanto the middle finger and grow some of the seeds just to prove how unrealistic Monsanto is. Farmers spend time in the fields, do they really have time to waste in litigation? I understand people want labeling-but as I said in the other blog, it is hard to label GMO free due to lawsuits. When large corportations like Kraft can throw massive amounts of money to keep people uninformed it may have something to do with the fact that little food is GMO free? 15+ years of playing with seed genetics, growing these seeds and using this product has set some deep roots in our food chain. So in a way, not knowing what is in our food we are serving the family is answering our own question-we do know what is in our food-GMO products. Now as a round up user on the farm, simple weeds like thistles will prevail in all areas I spray with round up. This has been proven on my 40 acres. So the idea of super weeds cropping up-sure they will. Super bugs popped up in many hospitals when several doctors decided to prescribe antibiotics for every little minor ailment people complained about-wait that is a different topic.
Dec. 14, 2012 8:43 am
Dec. 14, 2012 9:10 am
That was an interesting blog post. I hadn't thought much about the logistics of trying to keep the two separate. Can you imagine how much it would cost to have two completely separate shipping systems? I am not overly concerned about GMO's in processed foods. And as I grow more and more of my own food, I become less concerned. Still I produce less than 10% of what I feed my family. As far as the Schmeiser case goes, the courts gave him a pass because he did not benefit from the "theft." It is a very complex issue, and though I am in favor of labeling, I can see why food producers don't want that particular nightmare. There are a lot of people who would love to see this happen so they can start the lawsuits. I wonder out of those, how many are doing it for ideological reasons?
Dec. 14, 2012 9:39 am
I want to say that I am very much against GMO for many reasons, but I think the powers that be have many people fighting a battle to label things rather than assisting in the war to get it banned. I like to think that 60-70%% of my food comes from my back yard, either raised, grown or hunted and I still hate the idea that I am feeding this untested 'stuff' to my family in one form or another.
Dec. 14, 2012 10:00 am
also I don't even want to place blame on the farmers, some of this wes introduced as a test, some farmers felt they may be left behind with new technology (peer pressure, maybe a bit) and no town hall meeting was held offering all the pros and cons of GMO seed. Pros, sure, feed the world, no more herbicides, pesticides-we are cutting edge. What farmer would not hop on an opportunity to cut down on the cost and dangers of spraying, and using these herb/pest that so many other groups hate. It was sort of a catch 22 and as usual society will eventually pay. Sorry to highjack your blog, Doc.
Dec. 14, 2012 11:07 am
The consumer has a huge part in this problem. Consumers want fast, easy and cheap. Emphasize cheap, and bold it. Fast, easy and cheap is provided by industry (along with some really good stuff as well) but the price is the thing that really drives most consumers, despite what they say. Industry responds to consumer demand. If consumers really did want healthier food at a premium price, those are the things that would fly off of the shelves. Organic is a more expensive way to grow food. If it is locally grown, it has the advantage of being fresh and more nutritious, but if it is grown 1200 miles away, or more, it probably won't come to market in as good condition or last as long in the market. It is fairly easy for enough local farms to produce enough food to sustain an area, but commodities would be much more difficult and expensive to grow and process locally. We used to do it long ago, before there were national and international food companies. We also spent a lot more of our household income on food. In 1950 the average household spent nearly 30% of it's income on food. Today it is around 10%, and the real kicker is that we now spend 51% of that 10% on food outside of the home (fast food and other restaurants. is an amazing little eye opener.
Dec. 14, 2012 11:10 am
BTW redneck gramma you haven't hijacked this blog post at all. You've added to the discussion.
Dec. 17, 2012 10:19 pm
Thank you for a level-headed post and opening my eyes to some aspects of GMO that I haven't heard of.
Dec. 18, 2012 8:54 pm
RNG and Doc... thanks for the info and keeping the conversation open. A good conversation opens the minds on both sides.
Dec. 19, 2012 1:02 pm
So true - we need to all learn more and be mindful that rumors and half-truths are not helpful to anyone.
Jan. 16, 2013 6:02 am
churchhill, really? he was a bigot and a racist.
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Doc Simonson

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
My favorite family cooking traditions
Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
My cooking triumphs
Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
My cooking tragedies
There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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