My hubby – let’s just call him Holden – and I have a newfound utmost respect for old school farmers. Ever since we started gardening last season, we’ve begun to realize just how hard of a task it is. Mind you, we’re just trying to grow food to feed ourselves, not the world. And for the time being, we’re just trying to work our way up to sustainability. We’re glad for just a few crops.
Last year, our (I say our, but I really mean his) tomato plants were plagued by every problem conceivable. Mold? Check. Caterpillars? How many checks you got? Ants? Oh boy. It was a daily battle against nature, and last year it actually rained. This year, we forego the tomatoes and tried for heartier crops, though our friend reports her tomato plants grow strong. Still it’s, as Professor Moody always said, constant vigilance. Wasp like insects (my favorite) like to nest between the stalks and leaves of my corn. Birds and rabbits eyeball the peppers and carrots. The acidic nature of the soil is a constant threat to all of them. And the unwavering heat, strong winds, and no rain fight on the other side.
Do you farm? Have you ever tried? My brother made a raised garden bed and grew strawberries in high school. I can’t remember how much my parents invested, but I remember the small yield equated to about $3 per strawberry. My next door neighbor had a little more success with hydroponics. And I am still learning the ropes and doing my best.
So. GMOs. Why do I mention them? Because there are missions of people starving all over the world everyday. And we, spoiled First World citizens, complain about the abundance of food we have? Give me a break (plus, almost all produce we eat today is a GMO hybrid from combining different varieties back in the day). When the rest of the world can say the same thing, then we’ll talk. I sprayed pesticide on my corn a week or so back. It is “vegetable garden safe” and safe to use up until one day prior to picking. But still. Poison. On my food. I would have killed for the GMO corn seeds that have the natural “pesticide” gene spliced into it. Seems a lot safer than poison. You can counter with organic, but let’s be real. Most “organic” food is hardly any better than regular crops (don’t even get me started on what classifies as organic to the FDA). And while I compost our soil for planting season, that aromatic smell of decomposing food doesn’t deter pests like it does humans.
We strive for sustainable living on our homestead. And while some studies show that GMO and regular crops can produce the same yield, I have to wonder how much less headache we would have with stronger crops that could fend for themselves. How much less waste that can’t be composted due to disease and instead ends up in the landfill.
I’m working on hydroponics. I hope it might lends some answers. But today, as I stared at the first spindly silks on my one overachiever stalk and then looked down at the beady eyed devil hiding from the harsh summer sun from the plant next to it, I wondered how one goes about getting GMO seeds.