This article originally appeared at Urban Times.
Monsanto, the mistress of
the GMO initiative, needs a wake up call. While campaigns to label genetically modified organisms
increase and state governments work
to bring the legislature into action, many Americans are not aware of just
how entrenched Monsanto is within national and global food production. Whether it is due
to the call of convenience or general ignorance of the millions of genetically
engineered ingredients masquerading as food, the biggest blow we can
deliver to the GMO giant is to convince the general public to divest from
Monsanto (and the rest of the biotech food industry) completely.
What does it mean to divest? Let’s
take a page from the current college playbook and replicate what activist Bill
McKibben has done for fossil fuels and climate change – and apply it to our
food. Colleges across the country are stepping up and divesting from the
companies that support fossil fuels in a nationwide campaign to illustrate how
wrong it is to profit from climate damage. The entire premise behind this
movement is to see if the divestment campaign can push fossil fuel companies
towards an environmental ecobalance that no longer hinders the planet, but,
rather, supports a sustainable future. Campuses nationwide are divesting – and
the corporations are listening. Why can’t we do the same thing when it comes to
genetically modified food and the companies that create it?
Five Ways to Divest from
- Rethink where you buy
your vegetables and fruit. Farmers’ markets and CSAs are great places to find non-GMO varieties while also
supporting local farmers and communities. If you have room, plant a
garden, but make sure your seeds are purchased from a reputable non-GMO
seed company like High Mowing Seeds rather than one of the
many seed companies owned by
Monsanto. Doing research before you plant is important.
- Purchase meat and eggs
Not only are CAFOs inhumane, but animals within these factory farms are
fed a grain-based diet, which is usually genetically modified corn.
Grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, and wild hogs are tasty alternatives to
the grocery store variety. While they can cost more per pound, one way to
decrease the cost is by purchasing a whole or half cow (or hog) and also
buying whole chickens (rather than processed into specific cuts).
- Find alternatives for
pantry staples. With so many food producers jumping on the non-GMO bandwagon,
there’s an abundance of choices with which to stock your pantry. In order
to make sure that you are purchasing a non-GMO verified item, visit the Non-GMO
Project’s list of safe companies.
- Promote a unified
social media identity that does not contradict the message. While the recent March Against Monsanto was attended by
over two million well meaning activists in 52 countries and 436 cities,
many confused the message by posting post-march celebration photos that showed
them eating the very food that they were marching against. Social media is
a powerful way to connect with the world and an easy way to advance these
ideas. Use it carefully.
- Be an environmental
Many of the practices associated with mass food production and food
surplus deplete soils, hurt land
fertility, and destroy habitats. By choosing food wisely, it helps sustain
a healthy ecosystem, one that will continue to provide food for years to
Creating a calculated,
organized, and supported divestment from Monsanto and other Big Food companies
stocking the shelves with GMOs is a powerful message that will not be ignored.
Let’s start investing in our health and the future health of our food. If
everyone starts today, our message will gain support and create the ripple
effect needed to regain control of our food.