After dinner on his first night at The 3-Bell Ranch, Josh listened to our review of the day and briefing for the following day. "I know you're all speaking English," he said, "but I have NO idea what you just said!"
Josh shook up his world all right. He rolled up his sleeves and cared for animals, worked in the garden, butchered rabbits, chickens and pigs. And he learned about food, about responsibility to the Earth and the land.
Please enjoy his letter to his family regarding the GMO Labeling battle led by California:
There's a huge battle going on regarding the sale of food products in the United States. Though the fight encompasses a vast array of different and complex subjects, the one that I'll focus on is the sale of GMO foods.
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms.
50 years ago, parents told their children to wash their fruit before consumption because farmers sprayed their crops with poisons. The poison was usually sprayed twice a year on the crops to kill off any pests that would otherwise ruin their product.
In contrast, when you wash a GMO product today, all you're really doing is getting the grocer's hand germs off the food. Food corporations have found a way to genetically alter a crop’s DNA to produce its own poison.
You may counter, reminding me of the simple fact that farmers have always been genetically altering their crops for a better product. Seedless watermelons and grapes come to mind. And corn, a thousand years ago, resembled grass seed more than the luscious, juicy ears we enjoy today. But what farmers were doing was selectively breeding their crop to enhance the genetic traits that they desire. They'd select seeds from the sweetest, largest, most delicious crops and after those seeds grew into lovely plants, they selected seeds from the cream of that crop for the next year's planting.
Genetically Modified Organisms, on the other hand, are created in laboratories. Geneticists are literally splicing foreign DNA from one species into another to create products that would never have occurred naturally. In the late 1990's, for example, geneticists posited that by splicing the "cold water genes" of a flounder into a tomato, the tomato would be able to survive in cold warehouse cold storage systems longer. (They did succeed in producing a tomato with a long shelf life, but consumers rejected it as it was tasteless) Today, with the intention of create corn that will kill insect predators, genes from the soil bacteria, Bacillus thuringienus, are forced into the cells of corn. This bacteria attacks insects by ripping holes in its stomach. And a growing contingency of doctors believe that the increasing population of people suffering from "leaky gut syndrome" is directly related to the ingestion of GMO insecticide-gene spliced crops.
My point is this: when you eat GMO plants, what you are eating is not a plant. You are eating the frankenfood that was created by man in a test-tube. What's worse is that you don't really know which foods have GMO's in them because, according to the USDA, there is no appreciable difference between real food and FrankenFood. And the really scary thing is: your body doesn't know what they are either.
Why bring this up right now? California, my motherland, has been ahead of the curve when it comes to consumer rights. Prop. 37 is going to vote in November regarding the labeling of GMO foods. Labeling GMO foods have been required in over 40 countries already, including the European Union nations, Japan, China, and India. California will be the first state to enact this bill, if it's passed. So go out and vote! Show the rest of the country that consumers have a right to know what they are being sold.
All right... I'm getting off my high horse now. Congrats to all 7 of you who actually read this rant. This article provides both sides of the debate: http://southpasadena.patch.com/articles/prop-37-should-genetically-modified-foods-be-denoted-in-labels-24f9c240 . Feel free to make up your own mind when it comes to this matter, but know that there is a fight going on in this country. I also highly suggest watching the following documentary: http://vimeo.com/30620523