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Letter to Fred Meyer on non-GMO Labeling

20 May

For those of you who were wondering what the letter to Fred Meyer that a few of us farmers sent, here it is…

  
  
I want to show here that we really want our local grocers to be a part of the conversation when it comes to food and truth in advertising. I hope that we hear from Fred Meyer at some point to hear what their thoughts are on this important role they have to play. 

 For a little more background on this issue please read my post “What crops are GMO’s?” And another update from Oregon Farm Bureau, “Farmers take on Fred Meyer for Misleading GMO Advertising.”

What Crops are GMO’s?

27 Apr

What crops are GMO’s?  This question I’m guessing is a very popular one.  I’ve personally typed it into Google a number of times, I’m sure there are many others out there who have too!  So it’s not surprising that even our local grocery store might be a little confused.  There was an ad that ran in our local paper last weekend.  It was from our local grocery store, Fred Meyer.  In the ad were a few things that looked “off” to me.  A photo of the ad is below, can you see what I’m talking about?

gmo free plantsYes, GMO Free herbs, GMO free vegetable plants are both listed as for sale at Fred Meyer…well yee haw what a deal right?!  Finally some options of where to get your GMO free gardening plants, but wait…there is no such things as GMO herbs and there is no such thing as GMO tomato plants, lettuce, onions, egg plant, peppers….  So what the heck Fred Meyer?  What’s with the misinformation?  Are you trying to confuse consumers more?  As a consumer do you feel duped?  I’m going to throw it out there that I don’t always remember exactly which crops off the top of my head are GMO, so here is a quick reference.  Currently there are only ten, and while they extend into many different food items, there truly are only ten crops that are GMO, (a few as you can see that will be out there and more available this year).

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I’m not upset with Fred Meyer.  Maybe this was an honest mistake, maybe this was a marketing ploy, maybe this was…well I don’t know what this was to be honest.  But I think that if you’re going to be a source for people to buy their food you have got to take some responsibility for the type of marketing and messages that you send to consumers.  Consumers (I would include myself in this category) while feeling the need to know what is in their food and what they put in their body are overwhelmed with fear marketing, misinformation, and shoddy science.  So who do they trust?  Who can they turn to and in a convenient place, why not the grocery store?

In my perfect world, companies that are trusted, such as your local grocer would speak up about GMO’s, they would do their due diligence to look at the science and share that with their customers.  I feel like more and more companies are running scared from losing one sale to a small percentage of people who are believing the fear of Food Babe and Dr. Oz, before they even have a chance of learning the truth behind the science.

I feel like a broken record at times, but folks it is going to take ALL of us to feed the people in this world as it grows and grows.  It is going to take science, technology, organic, conventional, small and large farms to get food to our tables, so why not help be a proactive participant in that process?  Fred Meyer, I’m calling you out a little here, take this chance to start a conversation, be a reliable source, not just one that jumps on the bandwagon of fear marketing, but one that consumers can trust.

For some good reading on the science of GMO’s check out these sites:

Take the GMO Quiz: How much do you know?

10 Things you may not know about GMOs

What is a GMO and Why Should I Care?

Q&A with Simplot Scientist Nicole Nichol

Did you Know Insulin is a GMO?

The Biggest Concerns about GMO Food aren’t really about GMO’s

Bacteria Made Natural GMO Sweet Potato

There is a distinction between GE (Genetically Engineered) and GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). Because the term “GMO” is more familiar with the general public, I am choosing to use this terminology in this blog.

 

1 Reason I Spray Round-up on Our Farm

21 Mar

We had a few nice days here in Oregon last week, and when it comes to spring time that means all hands on deck! This year in particular has been challenging because the rain just hasn’t stopped enough for fields to get dry in order to do much spring work. So in a matter of three days we were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off, fertilizing, spraying, planting, painting, you name it we were at it!

I had two sick kids at home so my role was mostly logistics manager via cell phone from the house. Nevermind a crying infant and wild toddler…I think I pulled it off pretty well.  But I did get to switch with Matt to enjoy a glorious 75 acre roundup spray application.

Round up in the past few years has gotten a bad wrap. Whether it be studies that it’s found in breast milk or the link to those oh so awful GMO crops, most are all very unscientific and unfounded. But that’s a whole series of blog posts, today I wanted to share why round up has made us more sustainable on our farm.

We have been growing no till spring wheat for about 5 years now on our farm. No till means that we don’t work the ground after the last crop is harvested. This saves not only time, fuel, and money, it also saves all the worms and bugs that have been making homes in the soil.  It gives the soil another year of resting which reduces soil compaction too.

 In order to do this however we have to be able to give the wheat a chance to grow in an uncompetitive atmosphere. If you were to take the field below, notice all the grass and weeds that are growing (basically everything that’s green)?

 That is all volunteer crop and weeds that if we planted into and never killed would be too much competition for our wheat crop and the wheat would grow a little bit, but would never be enough to even be worth harvesting.

So in the fall we spray round up on the fields to kill what grows after the final harvest of grass seed. Then we come back right before or right after planting to get one last application. Also round up only kills what is on the top of the soil, not disrupting any future plantings.

 I proudly wore my Monsanto hat, even though I was applying a generic brand of round up. I can’t help but appreciate having round up as a tool in our tool box that allows us to be better farmers and treat the land well.

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