By Megan Vick
Okay, okay – the title might be a little dramatic, but it’s true. Whether you’re working an X-files case, or shopping for food, you must gather your own evidence and draw your own conclusions with the information at hand.
I recently met a farmer who grows conventional produce and during the conversation, I asked him if he grew any genetically modified corn. He told me, in great detail, about the two corn varieties he grows. He shared with me that nearly all bi-color sweet corn (both yellow and white kernels) are genetically engineered. He’s very proud of his farming practices because he manages weeds and pests as naturally as possible, grows in greenhouses, and keeps bees to help pollinate his crops. He absolutely should be proud of what he’s doing.
Here’s where my eyebrows started to arch: he told me that the customers who come to his farmstand have started asking about the safety of the GE corn. He said, “well, the company I get the seeds from said they weren’t harmful, so that’s what I tell my customers.” He also told me how he lost about 40 beehives in the 2013 season for no apparent reason and was still trying to figure it out.
Regardless of what you believe, what one study says over another, talk to your local farmers and do the research for yourself. If you’ve done some research on GMOs and GE foods and you’re comfortable eating them – excellent. If you’ve done the research and are not comfortable eating those foods – make sure you buy local and really talk to your farmers. If they seem cagey about giving away information, explain why you’re asking. If they still seem sketchy, they might be trying to hide something or might feel uncomfortable with the questions. If living a GE/GM free life is important to you, ask the questions and don’t purchase food you’re not 100% comfortable with. Remember, you vote with your dollars every day and if you shop locally, that purchase goes even farther by telling local farmers what you want to see on your table.