Political Ideologies and the Anti-GMO Movement

The Anti-GMO movement has been around since before GM technology first walked across the world stage. The mere hint of it initiated the creation of activist groups against it, and the ideology of anti-GMO began before the public really knew anything about the science. The pervasive question here is why? It should come as no surprise that the majority of anti-GMO sentiment comes from the left portion of the political spectrum. The common thought process is that the right supports GMOs because they support big business. This may be true to some extent, but I don’t think the causation is supported. I think that the right, because they don’t automatically hold a dislike for big business simply doesn’t have a reason to buy into the fear mongering about the science in this case.

Flowering purple basil on my patio. I also grew Italian basil and Thai basil. Photo by Anastasia Bodnar.

“We Have a Right to Save Seeds. Right?”

So says a video produced by Open Solutions Project. I can appreciate that people want to be able save seeds. I grow a few herbs on my patio and it would be nice to be able to save the seeds… assuming I had the time and wanted to spend the effort to dry the seeds, etc instead of just buying seedlings that have already established! I did let my basil plants flower so the bees could enjoy them, and I had big plans to save the seeds but realized I just don’t have the time between my day job and all my Biofortified and other communication activities not to mention spending time with hubby, cleaning the house, etc! Still, I know some people save seeds and even do some breeding as a hobby. This could be fun for those who have gardens in their yards or even for small farmers. Again,


High Court rules that farmers “make” seeds

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued their ruling on the Bowman v Monsanto case, siding unanimously in favor of Monsanto. The court rejected Bowman’s arguments that Monsanto’s patent “exhausted” when he purchased seeds from a grain elevator to plant on his farm, and affirmed that the act of growing a crop of seeds is “making” those seeds, and are still covered under patent law. It was a narrow ruling that applied only to seed patents, but it could have long-term implications for other self-replicating technologies.

The Frustrating Lot Of The American Sweet Corn Grower

We Americans love sweet corn – our uniquely national vegetable.   We consume ~9 lbs of sweet corn per person per year (see how that compares to other vegetables in the graph above).  The farmers that grow this crop for us do so on a much more local basis than for most fruit or vegetable crops.  There are significant sweet corn acres in 24 states and a total of >260,000 acres nation-wide for the fresh market and >300,000 for canned and frozen corn (see graph below). Sweet corn can be difficult to grow for many reasons, and is often sprayed with insecticides. A biotech solution to this problem exists, but it is under-utilized, in part, due to campaigns by anti-GMO activists. In the end, the people most hurt by this are the American sweet corn growers.