What is a GMO?
A GMO, or “genetically modified organism”, is a food created by merging DNA from different species. This is very different than for instance, cross-breeding 2 varieties of wheat to create a hardier wheat. This is taking the DNA of bacteria and inserting it into a plant. This practice has only been ongoing for a little over 20 years and the only tests submitted to support its safety were the tests of the companies who produced the seed, such as Monsanto. We’re only now starting to understand the long term effects of GMOs and accompanying pesticides and herbicides in our food supply.
Genetically modified soy, for example, is made to be “Roundup Ready”, meaning farmers can spray their fields with glyphosate (“Roundup”) and the weeds will die but the soy plants won’t. The problem is, farmers have become so reliant on Roundup to control weeds (and by the way, Monsanto manufactures both the genetically modified soybean seed and the herbicide Roundup) that weeds have become resistant to it. That means more and more Roundup and now more potent chemicals are being used to do the same job. According to the Centre for Research on Globalization, Roundup residues are found in the main foods of the Western diet, comprised primarily of sugar, corn, soy and wheat.
The same is true of genetically modified plants designed to kill pests that reduce crop yields. The insects are becoming “super-bugs” requiring higher volumes of chemicals and more potent chemicals to control them.
It’s not surprising then that these chemicals are working their way into the water table, killing animals such as bees and birds and being found in human blood, urine and breast milk. One study published in June of 2014 by well-respected Dr. Seneff, a researcher out of MIT in the US, predicts that by 2025, one of 2 children born in the US will be born autistic because of GMOs in the US food supply. The chart below plots the increase in the incidence of autism against the increasing rates of GMOs since 1991.
What does Certified Organic Mean?
Certified Organic means that a food or fibre product has been grown and made without the use of GMOs or nanotechnology, artificial preservatives and colours, synthetic chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, sewage sludge or irradiation. When shopping for processed foods (i.e. cereals, cookies, baking mixes, jams etc.) these seals mean that the product contains a minimum of 95% organic ingredients:
What is Organic Farming?
According to the Certified Organic Association of BC, organic farming, “promotes the sustainable health and productivity of the ecosystem – soil, plants, animals and people. Organic foods are farmed in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way, focusing on soil regeneration, water conservation and animal welfare.”
Is Organic Food More Nutritious?
There is debate on this issue. But recent research has shown that organic produce can have anywhere from 19% to 69% higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants and organic crops have 48% lower levels of the toxic metal cadmium.
Why is Organic Food More Expensive?
To become a certified organic farm, there is a minimum 36 month fallow period for any field planned for organic growing. Therefore, transition from petro-chemical farming to natural farming can be costly at first. Also, it’s more labour intensive because people have to pull the weeds and manage the pests in an eco-friendly way. And to remain “certified” farmers must keep thorough records and undergo an annual audit of their practices.
Budget-friendly ideas to eat Organic
There are a number of ways you can reduce the unhealthy chemicals in your food without breaking the bank.
1) The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15
The dirty dozen and the clean 15 refer respectively to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group. The guidance below will help you choose wisely at the grocery store.
The Dirty Dozen (in order of contamination)
1. Apples 7. Grapes
2. Celery 8. Spinach
3. Sweet bell peppers 9. Lettuce
4. Peaches 10. Cucumbers
5. Strawberries 11. Blueberries
6. Nectarines 12. Potatoes
The Clean 15 (in order of least contamination)
1. Onions 7. Asparagus
2. Sweet Corn 8. Mangoes
3. Pineapples 9. Eggplant
4. Avocado 10. Kiwi
5. Cabbage 11. Cantaloupe
6. Sweet peas 12. Sweet Potatoes
13. Grapefruit 14. Watermelon
2) Community Shared Agriculture
You may have local farmers in your area who offer this. Basically, members of the community contribute money at the beginning of the growing season and share in the harvest throughout the season.
3) Boxed Food Delivery
Organics Live delivers certified organic, sustainably produced, and locally focused food and grocery items right to your door for less than the cost of retail. We focus heavily on local growers and producers but in the colder months, we import from 100% certified organic farms, mostly in the Americas. A small box (1-2 people) is $37, a regular (most popular, 3-4 people) is $47 and a large (vegetarians and larger families) is $57. You can pause or cancel your delivery any time.
If you have any questions at all about the service, we’d be happy to help you. Call Stephanie McManus or Sydney Lanteigne (mother/daughter) at 289-270-1979 x 337 or check us out online at www.organicslive.com.
 http://www.gmoseralini.org/faqs/  http://naturalsociety.com/3-studies-proving-toxic-glyphosate-found-urine-blood-even-breast-milk/  https://www.organic-center.org/organic-fact-sheets/the-health-benefits-of-organic/
Blog written by By Stephanie A. McManus LLB from Organics Live