A new US survey highlights the ominous “gene drift” problem, the contamination of organic food crops by GMOs from other farms.
This is not a new situation. It has been present since the introduction of commercial GMO crops in 1996.
The survey was conducted by two groups: Food and Water Watch, and Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (on Facebook). Questionnaires were sent out to 1500 organic grain farmers. From the 268 responses, a key factor emerged:
“One out of three responding farmers have dealt with GMO contamination on their farms. Of those contaminated farmers, over half have been rejected by their [organic] buyers for that reason. They [the farmers] reported a median cost of a [rejected] semi-load (approximately 1,000 bushels) of $4,500.”
Contamination is accomplished by insects, birds, and wind. It’s a fact of life. It can’t be avoided, despite establishing buffer zones between farms.
In the long run, every healthy food crop is threatened. How can pure farming survive intact, when particles containing GMOs are in the wind?
We’re looking at something roughly analogous to lab safety, where contamination is famous. Stricter and stricter measures are put in place to avoid it, but even in the most secure facilities, it occurs.
For the past decade, in the US, major activism has been directed toward the labeling of food containing GMOs. It has been an uphill battle. Meanwhile, the gene drift continues.
At what point will labeling become an empty gesture, because the overwhelming majority of food grown in the US, including organic, is contaminated with GMOs?
Facing up to this is difficult, to say the least, for those activists who have been working themselves to the bone to achieve labeling of GMO crops.
They make an assumption of what I call temporary coexistence. The argument goes this way:
“We’ll use the battle to label GMOs as step one, which involves educating the public and acquiring a few victories in states. Soon, hundreds of thousands or millions more Americans, who are able to see, finally, what kind of food they’re buying, will reject GMOs. Food growers and sellers will be forced to switch over to non-GMO. This action will starve Monsanto and other food giants, and they’ll have to concede defeat…”
That’s the best-case scenario. Ignoring several questionable assumptions in that argument, the long haul to achieve a few labeling victories will compete with gene drift, which goes on no matter who wins or loses.
You can be sure Monsanto is counting on this. Monsanto sees a fait accompli. “Doesn’t matter what you people want, we’re all GMO now, all food crops contain GMOs, the gene drift wins.”
Activism took an inadvisable turn in the road some years ago. It opted for labeling, instead of outright bans on growing GMO crops.
Activist leaders decided coexistence with Monsanto was unavoidable—at least for the time being.
The result of that decision was available, for all to see, in the nature of the television ads taken out in California and Washington state, during the campaigns to pass labeling initiatives.
The ads were weak, bland, and without anything resembling a hard edge. Attacking Monsanto head-on was out of the question.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again—being on the side of the angels in a political battle doesn’t guarantee victory. That’s a brand of New Age thinking that will take you into extinction.
To achieve bans on growing GMO crops depends on showing people the true threat GMOs and Monsanto pose to: human health, the survival of non-corporate farmers, and the future of agriculture (and therefore life) itself.
In other words, you have to attack, no holds barred.
If the public feels no threat in their guts, they will walk away from the whole situation.
And again, most importantly, the gene drift isn’t waiting for a political vote on a ballot measure.
“The US still leads the world in GM plantings, with 170 million acres in 2012, which produce 95% of the nation’s sugar beets, 94% of the soybeans, 90% of the cotton and 88% of the feed corn.” (USA Today, 2/28/12)
Think of that acreage as a weapon. It launches genes to organic farms, to non-GMO farms.
Monsanto is fully aware of this.
We’re past the point of arguing labeling vs. outright bans on growing GMOs.
Those men who have been leading and bankrolling the battle to label GMOs are businessmen. They see market forces, PR, consumer power, buying trends. They try to apply that knowledge and mindset to a political struggle. It doesn’t work.
And it certainly doesn’t factor in the rates and results of Monsanto genes drifting on the wind all across America, contaminating food on the land.
The counter-plan is simple and obvious:
For starters, at a fraction of the cost of bankrolling GMO labeling initiatives, engage fearless, talented, ingenious artists and filmmakers who absolutely take no prisoners.
Within several months, spread their new ads all over the Net. All over the planet.
These attack ads feature small farmers who have been put out of business by Monsanto and driven up against the wall, families of farmers who committed suicide, outraged mothers with their babies who are destined to grow up in a toxic Monsanto world, scientists who are ready to torpedo Monsanto with the facts about GMOs, terminally corrupt Congressmen who are on Monsanto’s pad
I’m talking about ads that are in your face, in your mind, in your soul. Ads that mock, that destroy, that rip open the truth and expose a nest of scrambling maggots.
Mercilessly go for the throat. Day by day, hour by hour. Attack the enemy.
Law suits mounted by Monsanto?
Make a public non-stop spectacle of those law suits.
I know several stone-cold lawyers who would love to bring Monsanto executives and scientists to a deposition table, uncovering decades of corruption and driving the enemy to a Hell beyond his wildest dreams.
After six months, the idea of banning GMO crops will start to look very good, like a very, very sane action.
Do we want to win? Or be nice, and lose?
In this kind of battle, being nice is nothing more and nothing less than living in a trance. It’s a form of mind control.
Stop thinking of the war as fanning a small spark through polite education, and trying to make it spread.
Stop thinking of the public as a mass of politically correct cowards who have to be coddled and led through hoops, one at a time.
Stop thinking of the war against Monsanto and its allies as a consumer joust in the free market.
Anyone out there with a few deep pockets and an appetite for causing a very good kind of trouble should take note.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com