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The Future of Our Food

Some thoughts on the outcome of last night’s election. Pleased with the reelection of President Obama, and I’m hoping an additional four years will give him the opportunity to follow through on many of the promises he made during the first campaign.

A major disappointment for many Californians, myself included, was the failure of Prop 37. The proposition would have required food manufacturers to label their products containing GMOs. This was a no-brainer for me, but obviously many Californians did not agree. I attribute part of the proposition’s failure to the commercials propagandizing an increase in grocery costs and tax increases. With many families already struggling to put food on the table in this economy, fear of a rise in food costs is understandable and also the perfect opportunity for companies like Monsanto to play upon those fears.

Hopefully a similar mandate can be legislated at a future date. I’m sure this is a fight that’s not yet over. However, in the meantime there is one thing every citizen can do to make themselves less dependent on food conglomerates and their genetically altered food products: Grow at least some of your own food. Buy heirloom seeds. Support reputable seed companies like Baker Creek. (Heirloom seeds are not genetically modified or engineered. Most heirloom seeds have been passed through families for generations, making them an extremely valuable inheritance.) Growing your own meals (or even a fraction of a meal) will teach you the true value of food. This summer one lone caterpillar ate its way through a dozen beautiful tomatoes I had babied from seed to soil. That one instance made me instantly appreciate the cost of organic, heirloom tomatoes in all their strange and bumpy (and expensive) glory.

It is a basic human right to know the content of the food we feed ourselves and our children. It’s really that simple. At this point, the only way to truly know one hundred percent and without a doubt what went into the food we eat, is to grow it ourselves. You are exercising your civic rights when you create and tend a garden. It’s a revolution built on primal principles: eat what you make yourself.

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