© 2014, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm
Pardon the Interruption
‘Say No to GMO’ is on the back of tee shirts at R & C Farms in Scituate. Ordering non-GMO seed is the common practice at Holly Hill Farm. Gardeners and growers everywhere are choosing organic seed for their crops and plants. A little picture of a butterfly on many a bag of potato chips and safflower oil are indicating the product you are buying does not contain Genetically Modified Organisms. And though some scientists are claiming that only GMO crops can feed the nation and the burgeoning worldwide population, I am writing today on behalf of choosing non-GMO seed and products when possible.
I have not been in a science lab in years and know precious little about the strides being made in helping to manufacture seed that can grow in crops and come to fruition in great number and success. But I do know that many GMO seeds and thus GMO crops depend heavily on chemical fertilizers to survive and thrive. I also know that each time I put a seed in the ground, I may not have success, there may be a disease to come along and wipe out the crop. There may be too much rain, not enough sun or vice versa. Growing is a challenge and takes time to add compost, water, weed, cultivate and hopefully harvest. Everybody can sometimes be in charge of what they eat. However, if a GMO product and food are full of chemicals they ingested during the growing process, then I am less interested in consuming it.
At Holly Hill and at school farm gardens, my task is to teach people about the benefits of organic growing, sustainable practices and responsible stewardship for the environment. There is also an innate responsibility to try and provide this organic produce to all. School gardens can grow local, organic squash, potatoes and onions for food pantries. There is a way to allow dandelions to grow next to these same school gardens, and thus not need to apply an annual spray which is followed by the placement of yellow signs saying beware and stay off.
Putting compost into the ground is better than putting a chemical into the ground. Chemicals and fertilizers can cause damage to us when they become a part of the plant. In an organic soil, there is a lot of microbiological activity and life teeming that allows for roots to live and breathe and grow. In a chemically treated, sterile soil, plants consume what is in their immediate surrounding and thus affects their product.
Put the seed in the ground, water and let grow. Say yes to some simple practices that allow cows to eat natural grass and hay and folks to then consume healthy milk. Grow plants and let them feed us in a healthy way. Say yes to seeds and let them grow.