6 Ways You Can Defend Organics From Frankenfood

Chickens scurry at Maple Creek Farm, a certified organic grower in Yale, Mich.

Whatever you think of organic food, there’s no disputing that these are difficult times for those concerned about what’s actually in the food they eat. In recent weeks, federal regulators have taken a hands-off approach to genetically engineered alfalfa and partially de-regulated GE sugar beets. Next up could be salmon bred to grow bigger, faster.

I could go on and on about the wisdom of playing God (didn’t anyone in Washington read “Frankenstein” in college?). Or mention that polls have found that most Americans don’t want to eat GMO food and increasingly don’t trust the safety of our food supply. Or that some contamination of organic crops by GE plants is considered inevitable.

Focusing on a Fix

Instead, I’d rather focus on what each of us can do to try and stop the slow march of Frankenfood from completely taking over our dinner plates. As the site Grist recently wrote:

Where Frankenfood got its name.

But organic agriculture not only has a right under Congressional mandate to exist, it has earned the right to thrive. Organic is the fastest growing segment of agriculture in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of consumers have voiced their feelings about organics and GE contamination. I’d love for someone to point me toward a compilation of U.S. consumers clamoring for GE food. We’ve certainly heard resistance from consumers in our foreign markets around the world.

Here are five things you can do to defend organic food from GE alfalfa, sugar beets and whatever’s next on the Frankenfood agenda (four are stolen, borrowed, perverted or otherwise paraphrased from the same Grist story):

  1. Tell the White House you support keeping genetically engineered alfalfa strictly regulated in order to protect organic food. Here’s one petition. Here’s another one to Congress. Or, draft your own message to the president, and send a copy to your senator and congressman.
  2. Help organizations like the Center for Food Safety raise money for legal action against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to deregulate alfalfa.
  3. Support organic farmers and processors. As a food consumer, you vote with your pocketbook every time you go to the store.
  4. A good way to do that is to join a CSA, which guarantees you regular shipments of fresh-off-the-farm produce, lets you connect with the people who grow your food and helps farmers lock in an up-front revenue stream before the growing season begins. Find a CSA from your area using this database.
  5. Got a sunny spot in your backyard? Start your own organic garden. You’ll be amazed how satisfying ─ and tasty ─ it is to create meals from food you grew yourself.
  6. Continue to demand that Congress and the USDA protect farmers and consumers from the risks of GMO biotechnology, including much more rigorous research on its long-term implications. Support stronger food labeling, GE-free seed programs and policies that help make pesticide and GE-free food less expensive.

What are you doing to protect organic food?

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