GMO’s Are Not Free

Originally posted at on October 24, 2011 and updated on May 1, 2013

GMO – Monsanto – seed – Cargill

Nobody seems to know what GMO really means to the future of seed. Yeah, sure, people might know it stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. There’s a big brouhaha about how GMO’s might not be safe (nobody really knows) for human consumption, and how the supermarkets aren’t required to label which foods are made with GMO ingredients. That’s not all that bothers me about GMO’s.

What bothers me about GMO’s is that Genetically Modified Organisms are not free. Quite the contrary; they are PATENTED. My entrepreneurial spirit wants to cry “yes, that’s great! Let’s make money!” But my Farmer instincts are saying “this is not right!” Because a GMO seed is wrecking havoc with FARMERS. And here is why.

A patented seed (seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? What kind of megalomaniac decided that seeds should be patentable?) belongs to a company. That might seem right and fair until you consider that once the company owns the genome, they also own the offspring of those seeds.

And the offspring of those seeds often go rogue. They fling their pollen just anywhere; they often fertilize other crops nearby that weren’t GMOs. And most of the time (in fact, let’s just say for argument ALWAYS) they produce seed in their “offspring” that are sterile. Or if they aren’t sterile, the viable seeds somehow “belong” to the seed company and not the farmer who grew those seeds.

It’s the biggest scam in the seed industry. Once you buy my seed, you have to keep coming back because you can’t collect your own seed. And once you have my seed, I can charge you whatever I please because I know you’re coming back for more anyway. And further, if you even try to grow crops from seeds that have been fertilized with my genomes, you’re violating patent law.

This is how Monsanto, Cargill and others (see diagram) got away with putting farmers all across America out of business. Then the land was bought up by companies for dimes on the dollar, making the way for farms to turn into Roundup-spraying, monocrop culture raising, bee-unfriendly swaths of land.

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