Josephine County, Oregon, has banned GMO crop cultivation. All GMO gone by September 4, 2015. France also banned all GMO cultivation earlier this year. Photo credited to the groups mentioned therein.
As homesteaders, we object to the patented control of seed. If a neighbor's GMO crop inadvertently cross-pollinates with a non-GMO farmer's crop, then the non-GMO farmer is liable to patent dispute and license fees being assessed. We all breathe the same air, drink and swim in the same water, and garden in the same connected soil. What we do with the air, soil, and water affects everyone else on this common planet. Unless GMO crops can be confined to private land and kept from cross-pollinating with crops from other lands, we have a problem.
Living in the free world, we believe in stating what we believe in. We respect dissent and opposing viewpoints. A non-emotional, non-personal discussion fosters an environment where a mutually workable solution can be found. We had this incident on Denman Island, where we have been homesteading for the past 20 years. A developer came in and bought up 1/3 of the island to developt it. Many people on our 800-strong island opposed it because this proposal would change the rural character of our island, which is protected by the mandate of the Islandsd Trust. Some others support it because in exchange for increasing housing density, the developers would donate a portion of land to designate as a park. We got involved in a heated exchange, and years later we now regret that a bit. It should have been a more civil discussion all around of what is best for the island now and in the future.
Back to GMOs. We posted this bit about Josephine County ban on GMO cultivation on our Facebook account, and a reader replies:
"GMOS help to feed millions of people a year. They are one of the most tested products on the market today. Seeing this backwards post makes me rethink buying anything from your company - you can be a hippie and support science that helps put food on the table as well."
And we replied back:
"Betty, thank you for your comment. We are not at all against science; in fact, we are in awe of some advancements and findings that have shown us the wonders of the natural world. The issue is one of control and patents. We all share our planet's water, soil, and air. Nature doesn't respect patents; plants in nature cross-pollinate so it's impossible to confine GMO crops to their designated spots. People who choose not to grow GMO are affected by GMO crops grown by their neighbor because if the neighbor's crops cross-pollinate with theirs, they can be sued for growing patented crops without a license.
As homesteaders who live off the grid and grow our own foods year-round, we believe in free choice. In that light, when a person or company pollutes the air, water, and soil, they pollute it for all of us. Cross-pollination of patented crops that cannot be prevented spoils it for the farmers who do not wish to participate in patented corporate seed ownership.
We are concerned about the commercialization of seed. We support open pollination and seed saving so that farmers don't always have to be forced to buy seeds or pay for seeds that they save but that are patented or owned by a company. Percy Schmeiser being sued for GMO seeds that blew into or got cross-pollinated with Schmeiser's own non-GMO crop is a case in point. He got sued by Monsanto for growing Monsanto's patented seeds.
When crops are grown naturally in a mixed environment, many of the pest and diseases big agribusiness is dealing with are not a problem. It's monocrop cultivaton that could be the culprit.
From wikipedia: "In 1998, Monsanto learned that Schmeiser was growing a Roundup-resistant crop and approached him to sign a license agreement to their patents and to pay a license fee. Schmeiser refused, maintaining that the 1997 contamination was accidental and that he owned the seed he harvested, and he could use the harvested seed as he wished because it was his physical property. Monsanto then sued Schmeiser for patent infringement, filing its case in Canadian federal court on August 6, 1998. Negotiations to settle the matter collapsed on August 10, 1999, leading Schmeiser to file a countersuit against Monsanto for $10 million for libel, trespass, and contaminating his fields.""