A Summerland-based company recently made an application to introduce a genetically modified apple called 'Arctic'one that won't turn brown!
I can't imagine that the apple I so much love to sink my teeth into might soon be subjected to what some call 'botox.'
Is this necessary?
Brown apples taste fine, especially when made into applesauce or put into a pie. The introduction of genes into apples could spell disaster for organic growers who may be adjacent to farms that might grow the 'Arctic' variety.
Christine Lyon's June 8 article "It's your pick" aptly defines genetically engineered plants. Consumers should note that many foods on grocery store shelves come from the United States, whose GE products include corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash. Even under consideration is GE salmon.
Neither Canada nor the U.S. currently mandates labeling of GE foods. However, a citizen-led campaign in the U.S. "The Right to Know/Just Label It" is underway and gaining momentum.
Close to home, Richmond council passed a motion to ban genetically modified crops, plants and shrubs. Because agriculture is regulated by Ottawa, Richmond can't legally enforce this ban, but might at least be able to stop the sale of GMO seeds and plants.
One cannot help but wonder about the future of farming in our community, especially on the Southlands propertya property many feel is suitable for organic farming, as it has been fallow for so many years.
Perhaps only organic food might one day be available here?
There is so much to learn about agriculture, genetic engineering and other "green" topics as the local Go Green Delta Book & Film Group has discovered. You can see what's available on Fraser Valley Regional District Library's website. In particular, I recommend these documentaries for summer viewing:
1. DIRT! The Movie (2009): based on a book by W.B. Logan, this enlightening and uplifting film takes viewers to Egypt, New Mexico and India as it explores dirt, the living breathing skin of the earth, and looks at man's relationship with it. Dirt also explores what happened when GE seeds were forced on Indian farmers.
2. One Man, One Cow, One Planet. (2007): The star of this fascinating film, Peter Proctor, hails from New Zealand, has farmed for six decades and is famous for starting a green revolution called biodynamic agriculture. He taught Indian farmers, in particular, how to use cow dung along with other non chemical products in order to revitalize soil and improve crop yields, especially where chemical abuse had occurred. Proctor still conducts workshops in New Zealand.
Jean Wightman is a long-time Tsawwassen resident who enjoys walking, reading, recycling and volunteering in her community.