A common sense perspective on GMOs
Over the years, I have tried to manage my own health and general wellness, as well as the development of the products we offer at Nova Scotia Organics, with an educated and well researched but very common sense approach. In addition to accepting the pure and organic bounty from Nature, we embrace what science has to teach us. The study of soil, for example, has provided horticulturists around the world with so much insight on the structure and requirements of a healthy growing medium for all of the plants that provide us with the fundamentals of good nutrition. The complex and utterly vital role of pollinators has also become better understood and valued due to the dedicated efforts of scientists in many countries.
It has been only in the last few decades that a ‘new’ subject has been introduced, impacting horticulture—and therefore private and commercial agriculture—animal husbandry, research into animal and human disease, and so much more. That subject is genetically modified organisms, or ‘GMOs’. Simply stated, a genetically modified organism is any organism that has had its genetic material altered by using new and still evolving genetic engineering. Elements of DNA from one organism can be added to the genetic makeup of another, resulting in a new, modified organism.
For example, the genetic attributes that color a pansy bright blue have been added to the genetic makeup of a rose, resulting in the first commercially grown and available truly blue rose. Researchers have even been trying to modify the genetic makeup of some breeds of cattle, attempting to produce a cow’s milk with properties very close to human breast milk, the better to help provide compatible, non-chemical nutrition to human newborns whose mothers are unable to breast feed. The subject is complex and will likely continue to evolve for many, many years before we fully understand all of the potential benefits and possible negative impacts.
Commercial agriculture has been quick to adopt some of the applied practices of this science. Many crops have been developed using plants genetically modified to be more resistant to the herbicides used to suppress weeds, or to be less susceptible to viruses that can devastate a crop, even to inhibit bacterial growth that begins the moment a fruit or vegetable is picked, or to permit some plants to be grown outside of their natural climate ranges. On the surface, some of these applications appear to have benefits.
However, as is often true, the concerns around GMOs are less about the science itself, than in how the application of this science is being influenced by commercialism, by pressure to increase profit margins, to make big agri-business ever more efficient, and to increase our food industry’s tolerance for risk taking.
A plant with a genetically modified increased tolerance for herbicide application may thrive in the field, grove or planting bed. But what of the human who eats that ear of corn potentially contaminated with this more potent herbicide? This is but one example of troubling questions many have. Genetically engineering the DNA of a single strain of orange tree to possess a greater frost tolerance may provide a simple, cost-effective solution with little chance of short term crop failure to the citrus industry, but should we be concerned that this may make species diversity a thing of the past? How would our citrus industry recover if some as yet unknown problem developed with this single strain of genetically modified orange tree and it had become the predominant variety used in the majority of citrus groves across the world?
Despite broad scientific consensus that genetically modified crops pose no greater risk than conventionally produced foods, some opponents question the objectivity of regulatory agencies and the rigor of the regulatory process. Regardless, all admit we know little about the long-term effects of GMOs on the environment and on nature.
At Nova Scotia Organics, here is what we do know for certain: If we look to nature, and study natural practices and progress, impacted by the checks and balances of centuries of evolution, and oblivious to the pressures of profitability and business operational efficiency, we cannot stray too far off a healthy path. We embrace science as well as the mind-body traditions of many global cultures, and know that our learning curve will never end. But until we have a much better comfort level with the possible impacts of GMOs, on us and to our environment, here at Nova Scotia Organics we’ve chosen to follow the wisdom of the greatest scientist, researcher, and gardener of them all— Nature itself.
All products offered by Nova Scotia Organics are 100% GMO free. Period.
It’s your body. Run it well.
GMO seeds may be grown using conventional or organic methods.
Foods or ingredients claiming to be ‘natural’, ‘whole food’ or ‘made with organic ingredients’ may have ingredients made with genetically modified organisms, unless claimed and verified otherwise.
All products offered by Nova Scotia Organics are USDA Certified Organic, and none contain GMO ingredients.
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