Saturday, January 22, 2011

Produce meets politics

So this is what our gardens look like now:

It's the dead of winter, of course,
and the lawn is totally dormant,
but the wintergarden veggies are doing just fine.

These are the SATELLITE heads of the Gypsy broccoli. 
I harvested the large principal head about a month ago.

I've almost lost hope about this plant and it's twin, which were sold to me as conventional broccolis but which look SUSPICIOUSLY LIKE CABBAGES at this point.  This one's leaves are splitting under its own burgeoning girth, and no hint of a florette under there.  A splitting plant suggests that it needs to be harvested, so I better come up with a cabbage recipe really fast.

Garlic bulbs are generally doing better than the onions.
This tank is actually reserved for tomatoes, but it's not time to plant tomatoes yet, so it has been hosting some of my lettuce.  I've had many a good salad out of this stuff
Whole Foods has been pushing for political pressure regarding Monsanto's GMO alfalfa deregulation petition.  I actually did take a few minutes to voice my proverbial wishes to our Congressman Ron Paul, and I've reproduced that below.  This guy is notorious for opposing government regulation in every conceivable form, but in some cases, preserving existing freedoms is not as straightforward as laissez-faire. 


Mr. Paul, your intolerance of excessive regulation is legendary and, in significant measure, I agree with your perspectives. However in some cases, regulation is necessary to protect Americans' freedom of choice. The management of genetically-engineered agricultural crops is an excellent example.

In many ways, I'm "old school" and I prefer to purchase foods that have not been genetically modified. I don't care whether genetically-modified foods are perfectly safe for human consumption or not - that's not the issue. The issue is that I want to exercise my right to choose organic foods marketed by specific producers whom I've chosen to patronize. I also want to maintain my personal choice to grow some of those foods, including unmodified "heritage" varieties, myself as a hobby in my backyard without outside interference - just as my family has been able to do for generations.

A hands-off free market approach to agriculture would spell the end of my individual right to choose in this respect. Crops propagate by pollination which is subject to only limited human control. If genetically-modified crops are not regulated and restricted to specific areas, the modified pollen will contaminate our entire agricultural system, effectively erasing the existing crop varieties that are not modified. 

According to news reports, the USDA is set to rule on Monsanto's alfalfa deregulation petition within the next few days. This is one example of where regulation is necessary to protect an existing choice that has always been available to the American public. I do hope that you will take whatever action you can to protect Americans' right to choose non-modified foods.


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