VICTORY GARDEN, TAKES ON NEW MEANING
SCIENTIFIC PROOF ORGANIC FOOD IS HEALTHIER
ANNA MAY KINNEY
Last week, while listening to BBC Radio 4s Costing the Earth show, I heard some
great news for those of us who have always believed that organically grown produce is
Patrick Holden, the director of The Soil Association, a European group which campaigns in
favor of organic farming, announced that researchers now have evidence that
organically-grown food is healthier than conventionally grown produce.
Holden said " intensive farming is devitalizing our food", while organic crops
have been shown to have higher levels of vitamins and on the whole contain more nutrients,
more secondary metabolites than conventionally grown plants. Secondary metabolites are
substances which form part of the plants immune system, and which help to fight
cancer in those who consume them.
With the World Heath Organization estimating that every year, globally, between 3.5 and 5
million people suffer acute pesticide poisoning, it was concluded that whatever the
benefits were to the individual, organic farming is almost certainly an overall asset to
Many old timers remember the word Victory Garden, maybe its time we re-employ the
old war time motto a garden in every back yard and for those living in
apartments we could organize more community garden spaces, giving everyone who want to, a
chance to grow healthy chemical free food.
The big question on all our minds, is how safe is the food we can not grow
ourselves? Most backyard gardens are limited on size and the amount of food they
produce over our short summer. I do not believe anyone, except for farmers, grows their
own grain supply. So even the organic gardener at some point is dependent on others to
supply a percentage of his food.
As delegates from some 130 countries arrived in Montreal to resume negotiations that fell
apart last February in Cartagena, Colombia, nearly 1,000 protesters braved freezing cold
temperatures chanting "Life before profits", waving placards reading "We
will not be guinea pigs."
Sponsored by the U.N. Environmental Program, begun in 1995, this meeting is considered the
final step to drawing up international standards to regulate the trade of genetically
modified pharmaceuticals, food and other products.
The Colombian meeting collapsed last year when the United States, Uruguay, Chile,
Argentina, Canada and Australia blocked a draft accepted by 125 other countries that
required exporters of genetically modified corn, soybeans and other crops to obtain
advance permission from the importing country.
For months Biotech companies across Europe have been giving the impression that North
American citizens have concluded public debates on the production, and distribution of
genetically engineered foods and that they have decided that they are safe and desirable.
Europeans and Asians are shocked to learn that while their farmers and consumers have been
actively fighting GM foods at every level, most of our population was unaware of how
quickly the biotech industry was introducing new and potentially threatening products into
the food chain.
When Public Relations Chief of the European biotech company Novartis Seeds, Arthur
Einsele, heard that North American consumers have waited till now to hold public debate on
genetically engineered foods, he asked "Whats happening in your country? We
thought you already had this debate. But I guess we were wrong."
The truth is that individuals, environmental and consumer groups opposed to bio-engineered
foods never had a chance to voice their objections to the U.S Food and Drug Administration
until late last fall, when the FDA held open hearings on biotech foods in Chicago,
Washington and Oakland California.
During the last few months, word of the GMO invasion has been spreading across this
continent, and those of us who do not wish to be guinea pigs are teaming together to
protect our democratic right to know what is in the food we eat. You dont have to
dress up like a vegetable and stand out in freezing temperatures to be heard, just get
your name on the petition.
For U.S.A. go to www.safe-food.org/-campaign/petition.html
In Canada go to www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html