Big seed companies with their genetically modified seeds and crops have been in the news a lot lately. These corporations create their own versions of plants of all kinds, and they hold the patent on their creations. If your neighbor has genetically modified plants in his garden and the plants are cross pollinated with yours, you and/or your neighbor could end up in big trouble.
The reason for this is that people who plant genetically modified seed (typically commercial farmers) are under contract with the seed company. They are not allowed to save seed or to share seed with anyone else. This is a big change in the world of growing food since swapping seeds is a time honored tradition, but it cannot be practiced with genetically modified seed. Producers of genetically modified seed want to keep control of, and gain profits from all the seed to be had.
The fact that bees and other pollinators are not under the control of these companies can cause complication. A bee or butterfly moving from plant to plant cannot tell the difference between a genetically modified plant and a natural heirloom plant. If the pollinator brings GMO pollen into your heirloom garden, your plants will be genetically modified. This could cause you lots of problems, not to mention introducing unknown substances into your natural produce. This is important because some of the things that are happening with genetic modification, such as programming plants to generate pesticide as they grow, are quite scary.
Pollinators are not just insects, though. Remember that plants can also be pollinated by the wind. For this reason, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with your surroundings. To avoid GMO cross pollination, you may need to be half a mile to five miles away from any GMO crops that may be in your area.
In addition to knowing what is already in your immediate environment, you can help prevent the encroachment of GMO crops in your area by practicing the time honored tradition of seed sharing. If you have good heirloom crops and seeds, be sure to share them with your gardening neighbors. Talk with your neighbors about the many advantages of choosing heirloom seeds. Among these are better flavor and nutrition, greater hardiness and more economical planting.
When you choose heirloom seeds and plants over genetically modified, and even hybrid garden plants, you are really choosing food and financial independence. With heirloom plants, you own the seed. You can keep the best seed from the best plants and improve your own crops from one year to the next. Your plants will adapt to the environment and conditions you provide and become better producers of more nutritious produce than any of the commercial options available today.
At present, the best way to avoid contamination of your crops by cross pollination with genetically modified crops is to gain as much distance between yourself and them as possible and keep a close eye on your local environment to prevent the encroachment of GMOs. People around the world are protesting the rapid spread of genetically modified plants and seeds. You can do your part, too, by protecting your own corner of the earth and promoting the growth of heirloom varieties.