Seed Catalogue
Seed Catalogue circa 1895

AUTHOR: Jimmy Videle, co-owner of  Ferme de l’Aube

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a term that is relatively new to our lexicon. GMOs were approved for use in Canada only in 1995. In this article we will explore and answer the following questions:

What are GMOs?

Who grows them?

Where do they exist?

Why we should say No!

Genetically Modified is Defined as:

The introduction of new traits to an organism by making changes directly to its genetic makeup, e.g. DNA, through intervention at the molecular level. It’s also called genetic engineering or GE. With genetic engineering, scientists can change the traits of plants and animals by inserting DNA pieces, whole genes, or long stretches of DNA segments from many different organisms. These sequences can also be taken from the same species or be newly made up. Scientists can also delete or swap DNA sequences in organisms or introduce genetic material to silence genes.

Unlike conventional breeding and hybridization, genetic engineering is a laboratory technology that enables the direct transfer of genes between organisms in different species or kingdoms that would not breed in nature, and the introduction of new sequences that do not even exist in nature.”

 

Seed Types Available to Farmers:

Organic:  GMO-FREE seed cultivated without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or sprays and certified by a third party agency.

Non-organic:  Seed cultivated in any other manner, with or without chemicals.

Heirloom and open-pollinated:  Organic or non-organic seed that can be saved by the farmer for planting the following year. A Red Brandywine Tomato (Heirloom and open-pollinated) seed will produce a Red Brandywine Tomato.

Hybrid:  Organic or non-organic seed which has been  crossed to form another variety, either by nature or by breeders which have been selected for specific traits, in order to create a desired variety. Seeds can be saved and planted the following year, but the resulting plant will be unknown, as the seed could hold the genes for any of the ‘parent’ plants or be a completely new hybrid. Most commonly, hybrids are created by breeders for specific disease resistance or plant vitality.

GMO:  Non-organic hybrid seed that, in a laboratory, has been infiltrated with specific genes. It is illegal to seed save, because of patents and royalties by the company that owns the intellectual property.

 La Ferme de l’Aube:   In 2016 we grew 98% Heirloom and Open-pollinated varieties in order to be able to save our seeds. As a trial for the purpose of determining vitality, we grew  5 organic only hybrids. Because our growing practices are veganic, these saved seeds are then considered veganic.

 

Types of GMO Crops:

Main GMO Crops Grown Worldwide:  Corn, canola, cotton and soy.

Grown in:  United States, Brazil, Argentina, India and Canada.

Percentages:  99% of all GMO-GROWN acreage worldwide are the above four crops.

90% of all crops are grown in these five countries.

13% of worldwide arable land is used for GMO crops.

87% of arable agricultural land is GMO-FREE.

Other GMO Crops:  Alfalfa

Sugar Beets (100% of sugar beet production in Canada is GMO.)

Papaya

Squash and Eggplant (in limited supply)

 

Seeds are Genetically Modified to be:

HT or herbicide  tolerant for corn, canola, soy and cotton. The most common herbicide used is Roundup Ready (glyphosphate).

BT bacillius thuringiensis treated (insect resistant)  for corn and cotton. Insects targeted are the European Corn Borer and Corn Rootworm and Cotton Ballworm.

 

GMOs in the Food You Eat and in the Clothes You Wear in North America:

Corn Flakes
Toasted Corn Flakes
Soy Milk
Soy Milk

Processed Foods:  It is possible that up to 70% of processed food containing corn, soy, canola and cottonseed (oil) is genetically modified.

Included are corn chips, corn flakes, soy milk, tofu, vegetable oils, etc…

There are currently  no  laws  requiring food makers to label GMO ingredients in these products.

In the case of organic, or GMO-FREE VERIFIED,  there are no genetically modified ingredients.

All non-organic animal products:  Milk, eggs, meat and factory-farmed fish who are fed grains or alfalfa are eating genetically modified grains-100% guaranteed.

All organic products:  Corn, canola, soy (like tofu, soy milk) and cottonseed are 0% GMO crops. But, organic farmers do use ‘organic’ cow manure and ‘organically-approved’ chicken poop from animals who are fed GMO grains. It must be noted that organic farmers are not breaking the cycle  of genetically modified crops completely, even though the majority ardently oppose it.

Raw fruits and  Vegetables:  Papaya, squash, sugar beets(100%) and eggplant (a very small possibility) are the only produce in this category that are genetically modified.

Cotton Clothing:  Those imported from India, Pakistan, or southeast Asia are most likely produced using GMO cottom.

La Ferme De l’Aube:  We do not use any animal manures or animal products on our farm. We do make our own vegetable compost, some of it from the fruits and vegetables we buy from the grocery store. So, even our compost would have a small amount of GMO traced grains from the manure fed crops of the organic vegetables we buy off-season. It’s everywhere and prolific, so much more than any of us realize.

 

Why We Need to Say NO!…

Jimmy Videle at Ferme de L'Aube
Jimmy Videle at La Ferme de L’Aube
Compassionate Consumption
Compassionate Consumption

As a veganic farmer who saves his own seeds, it is very important to me that said seeds are true to type.

Soy and Corn:  Even though insects, like bees, can carry the pollen from one field to the next, there is little problem with a soy contamination, in particular, because the soy flower is a perfect seed. However, in corn, pollen can travel by wind of up to one km!  So if a neighbor is growing GMO-CORN and that pollen disburses on my field, then my ability to save true seed is greatly jeopardized. Even worse, I won’t know until the plant produces ears one year later!

Wheat, Tomatoes, Potatoes and Flax:  Currently, there are companies experimenting with genetically modified versions. I grow these GMO-FREE crops and save the seed. Should these seeds be marketed, my crops would be in danger of contamination.

The Big Three:  Monsanto (now Bayer-Monsanto), Syngenta (now Chemchina-Syngenta) and Dupont (now Dow Chemical-Dupont) all brokered mergers in 2016. These mega companies, whose philosophy is profit first, everything else second, create these genetically modified seeds. Yes, I oppose huge companies or anyone patenting seed. Seeds form the basis of all life and unless we go back to a gatherer lifestyle, seeds used to grow the food we eat are second worldwide in importance after water!

Herbicide treated and pesticide treated seed create super bugs and super weeds: In the past I have used organic insecticidal soap to try and kill the aphid population. It worked to some degree, but was not 100% effective. The aphids who resisted, expanded and became immune to subsequent spraying. The same is true of BT corn and cotton. Eventually the insecticide will not be 100% effective and a new formulation will need to be man-created and then another and so on.

The same is true of  herbicide (Roundup Ready) treated seed.. There are already main corn, soy and cotton growing areas where resistance to glyphosphate weeds exist. Monsanto has created a dicamba resistant genetically modified resistant seed, which is a stronger herbicide than glyphosphate. And when that is not 100% effective, which it will be, they will create another.

Toxicity to Humans:  The data on whether or not GM foods are toxic to humans is inconclusive, simply because these foods have not been around long enough to make this determination. GMO industries continue to make unsubstantiated claims that the pesticides and herbicides and the GM crops themselves contain ‘no risk.’ And because their motivation is profit first, just like those who told us cigarette smoking was fine for our health, I choose not to believe them.

Companies spend millions to block GMO-Labeling laws. In 2012, in California, Proposition 37 was  tabled with a view to labeling  foods as genetically modified. Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Bayer, Coca-cola, Pepsico, General mills, Kellogg’s, Dow, Cargill, BASF and more of the like donated 25 million dollars in opposition. Blitzing ad campaigns in California precipitated the defeat of  the bill 53-47. If genetically modified foods are so amazing and the inevitable future of our food, then why not promote them? Why not write on the package of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes or Coca-Cola Classic, ‘proudly made with Genetically Modified ingredients?’ Why not let us decide? I suggest to you that there is a very compelling and obvious reason.

Hand On Veganic Farming Practices
Hands On Veganic Farming Practices
Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes

Ferme de L’Aube: We do not use herbicides or any insect sprays. We hand weed, when necessary, and let nature do the work in managing insects. Nature will always find a way to strike a balance, but if we spray or use chemicals, even if the claim is that the chemical is only moderately toxic to insects, reptiles and small mammals, it means that some are being killed and not able to partner with us. If there is an insect that is causing wide damage, we do hand pick them off, but more likely another insect, amphibian or bird will come in and nourish themselves or their babies.

 

Final Reflections from a Veganic Farmer:

Bringing in the Crop
Bringing in the Crop
Beauty-full Veganic Farming
Beauty-full Veganic Farming

The more  man intervenes and manipulates, the more problems will arise. We have created antibiotic resistant bacteria in humans and, as a result, have been obliged to create stronger antibiotics to fight these bacteria. This has led to  antibiotics in our water supply, a huge problem in terms of the health and well being of all life on this planet.

Now we are creating super weeds and super bugs in our food supply, again relying more and more on man to create what will end up being a short term solution with wide ranging negative effects. Even though this technology exists and attempts by the bio-engineering companies to create other GM-Seeds continues, the growth of the industry has stagnated. People are waking up and are unsure about whether or not GMOs are good for us. For sure it is not good for nature or the environment, because any amount of herbicide and insecticide is too much for the non-human world.

The good news is that we do have a choice, both individually and collectively, despite the fact that our North American governments are pro big-business. We can choose to buy only organic products. We can eat a large percentage of our diet as fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and grains, milled corn being the exception. All of these foods are NON-GMO, whether they are organic or not.

And as always, the best choice is to be vegan.

La Ferme de l'Aube
La Ferme de l’Aube

Being  vegan means we:  Take the extra time to research all of our buying choices.

Look for products that are the least exploitative.

Consume only what we need.

Can be close to 100% GMO-FREE.

If you have any available balcony, garden or small plot space, grow your own! Use veganic methods, buy NON-GMO open-pollinated and heirloom seeds. In doing so, you are completely breaking your dependence on those that wish to control nature. There has been an ANTI-GMO campaign since the beginning days of genetic modification development. Our outspoken advocacy is making a difference. Like all things, one by one, we can change the world.

For an informative read, please click the link. Many of the facts noted here were obtained from said article.

Annie’s Vegan View

What Jimmy said!!!!

…in spades

May all beings be happy and free.

Anne

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Why You Should Say No to GMO: A Vegan Farmer’s Perspective

6 thoughts on “Why You Should Say No to GMO: A Vegan Farmer’s Perspective

  • September 29, 2016 at 11:30 am
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    Hi Anne!

    What a great article by Jimmy Videle!.

    This must have took some work to put together. It is well researched and speaks from the heart. I am not a farmer but I do rent an allotment near my home on which I grow organic veganic fruit and vegetables and also flowers. The flowers I grow are mainly for the bees and I try to choose varieties that they like best. Without the bees we have no pollinators and without them we have no food. I also save the seeds each year to use again. It is more cost-effective and also I know I am getting the same seeds and am not supporting the big companies who supply these modified or chemically treated seeds. I don’t use any sprays either and hand weed where necessary. There is absolutely no need to use pesticides. It is harmful for us, the environment and wildlife.

    I hate the idea of anything that has been genetically modified for the reasons Jimmy talks about but also because I think we should just leave nature alone. Nature can and will look after itself without our interference and will continue to do so long after we have gone. It seems to me these big companies like Monsanto and Bayer are only interested in one thing. Profit and greed. We should steer clear from these big companies and support the smaller local veganic farmers like Jimmy Videle at La Ferme de l’aube or grow our own.

    We do have a choice over what we consume and also the sort of world we want to live in. We need to say no to GMO because as people who grow organically, cross contamination can occur. I agree 100% that we need to get back to a gatherer lifestyle. Seeds are so important and we cannot afford to mess about with what nature has given us. It will have dire consequences as we have seen in other things that have been genetically modified. Seeds that do not exist in nature don’t exist for a reason and we should leave well alone. We are opening up the door for far greater problems in the future. We need to think for ourselves and realise that these big companies and the government have their own agenda when promoting these things and big profits are first and foremost every time. Just because our governments are pro-big business doesn’t mean we have to be!

    Take Care Anne

    Rachel Weightman

    Reply
  • September 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm
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    Hi Rachel,
    Thank you for your considered reply and for sharing your experiences as a veganic gardener. We purchased and grew some of Mélanie and Jimmy’s veganic vegetable plants and flowers and very much enjoyed the result. We will expand upon this next year. When I think about the large number veggies we harvested from a very few plants, I realize that growing only vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains for human consumption would go a long way to feeding the starving human population. And of course, first and foremost save more than 65 farmed animals worldwide annually from a life of misery and premature death, all for our wants, not needs.
    Take care.
    Anne

    Reply
  • September 30, 2016 at 6:16 pm
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    Hi Anne,
    Thanks for this very informative article. I avoid GMOs.
    I have only a small garden where I grow a variety of veggies. This small plot just keeps amazing me…it produces so much, I can share with others. I use only veganic material and everything grows so well, especially the green leafy vegetables, which likes cooler temps. as we have in Newfoundland by the sea.
    Everyone can have a garden and produce at least some of their produce. So easy and delicious.

    Reply
    • October 8, 2016 at 9:55 am
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      Hi Murray,
      We bought some veganic plants from Jimmy and Mélanie this summer and are looking to expand our veggie garden next summer. It is easy to do and makes perfect sense. I was astonished by the amount of food grown with a very few plants. It strikes me now more than ever that human starvation would be a thing of the past if only we would all stop ingesting the violence inherent in animal flesh and and secretions.
      Take care.
      Anne

      Reply
  • October 8, 2016 at 9:03 am
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    That was a very thorough and informative article by your friend Jimmy! I first because aware of the genetically modified problem here in Germany years ago. People have been concerned about it here for a long time…I was barely aware about it coming out of the US and I’ve been very careful about food for a long time so that says something.

    This is really great info! A big thank you to him for writing it and for you to publishing it!

    Reply
    • October 8, 2016 at 9:51 am
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      Hey Krissa,
      I am glad that you found Jimmy’s article informative. He and his wife, Mélanie are very passionate and well informed vegans, AR activists and veganic farmers and I have nothing but respect for the way they walk on this earth.
      I hope, as he says, that the stagnation of this farming method continues, and that we get away from this
      devastating practice before there is too much species and planet degradation from which to recover.
      Take care.
      Anne

      Reply

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