GMO Corn - What You Need To Know And Why You Should Care
Understanding why Indigenous Peoples are fighting genetically modified corn to save corn for the whole world.
This website is about sewing and embroidery, so why are you seeing an article here about corn? That's a good question,
and I'm hoping to answer it for you. Pick your battles, wise people have said, and it can be very challenging in modern
life to know which causes to put your heart into. Are you trying to fight global warming, eat locally, save dolphins, clean
up a stream? There are so many issues worthy of our attention, but today, I want to share with you just one that is, in my opinion,
in most critical need of international human attention. This issue is the genetic modification of corn. In my experience,
women who do handcrafts like sewing tend to be very caring people who want to make the world better with what they do and how
they live, and who want to ensure that their loved ones are safe and well-cared-for. It's because of this that I want to
share this story with you. It's important to all of us.
If you are a person of the Jewish faith, the Torah is sacred to you. If you are a Christian, you have great reverence for
the Bible. If you are a Hindu, the Bhagavad Gita is a holy book dear to your heart. Whatever your creed, you would be deeply
wounded, disturbed and, even, frightened if someone desecrated the objects that are central to your religious beliefs. This
experience of horror, shame and outrage is now being felt by the Indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America
in regards to something that is not just symbolic of the meaning of life to them, but is the actual stuff of life and survival
for them: corn.
More than 12,000 years ago, Indigenous Peoples began the cultivation of corn, and its origins are deeply interwoven with
the religious beliefs of countless tribes on both American continents. Corn is the mainstay of the majority of farming-based
native diets and has been so since time beyond recall. Over the past five centuries, corn has also become a staple in countries
all over the world and is the most widely grown crop in the Americas. The world depends on corn. It is that important to all of us.
Understanding GMO Contamination Of Corn
Genetic Modification, also known as biotechnology, is a laboratory process which changes the genes of plants and animals. For
example, a person working in one of these labs could decide to put the genes of a pig into a human being or into an apple, or could choose to alter
the genes within a given plant or animal to change some aspect of it. The American-based multinational corporation, Monsanto,
is responsible for most of the genetic modification being done in the world today. Monsanto is also the corporation responsible
for the invention of the defoliant Agent Orange, which killed and sickened countless thousands of Vietnamese people and American
soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Monsanto is responsible for creating the genetically-modified corn which is now cross-pollinating with and contaminating
the whole world's supply of corn. This is the problem with GMO plants - they infect and alter the plants that grow around them.
Many countries in Europe have banned the growing and importation of genetically-modified corn because they do not want their
own corn contaminated, but in the United States, the majority of corn being grown is now GMO corn. Moreover, corporations
have successfully lobbied the government to ensure that foods containing genetically-modified ingredients are not required to
All studies which have been done by scientists and researchers not being paid by the manufacturers of GMOs have concluded
that genetically-modified corn is not fit for human consumption. This Huffington Post article
highlights the results of one of the most recent studies, which found that mammals who ate genetically-modified corn suffered
organ failure. Wild animals such as migratory ducks and birds will not eat the corn in GMO corn fields. No tests have ever shown
that it is safe for human beings to eat this corn, which is inherently different from real corn. What this means is that all
peoples living in countries where GMOs have not been banned are eating a food which looks like corn, but is not actually corn,
and which all legitimate studies state is extremely hazardous to our health.
Fighting To Save Corn
This wonderful piece of art glass was part of a major recent art exhibition in Mexico, which featured the work of 45
Mexican women who have organized around the need to educate the world about the impending loss of the world's edible corn.
Here is the first of an excellent two-part video
outlining these heroic women's struggle against the pollution of corn. Their organization, MAMAZ,
is but one of the efforts people in Central and South America are making to thwart Monsanto's threat to the survival of corn.
Also this year, the fourth annual Zapotec Feria of the Cornfield
was held in Sierra Juarez to raise awareness of the contamination of corn that is being witnessed on Mexican farms on a daily
basis. Farmers and researchers from all over the world came to take part in this event. As the people in this part of the world
say, "No hay pais, sin maiz (there is no country without maize)". On both American continents, tribes, communities and villages
are organizing to resist the destruction of this crop that is central to their lives...and to yours.
Protecting Yourself From Contaminated GMO Corn
If you eat corn on the cob, cornbread, tortillas, johnny cakes, polenta, hush puppies or any similarly-popular corn-based
foods, it is probably hard for you to imagine these excellent staples disappearing from the earth. Unfortunately, as GMO corn
contaminates and forever alters more and more of the world's corn, making it unfit for human consumption, we are all facing
a life without corn. What can you do to stop this?
While there are organizations you can support and legislation you can work towards having enacted, the most immediate thing
that you can do to stop supporting GMO contamination of corn, while also protecting yourself and your family from being sickened
by eating GMO corn, is to shop organically.
The obvious step is to make sure that any fresh or frozen corn you buy is organic. This applies to any type of cornmeal,
corn flour, and cornstarch, too. Organic products are prohibited from containing GMOs. But, you need to take a step further than
this to protect yourself and your family.
At least 60% of the processed foods you will find in American supermarkets now contain genetically-modified corn. It may be listed
as high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, glycerol, glycerine, or one of a host of other sneaky ingredients.
The endless corn fields that stretch across the United States are not growing edible corn for our summer picnics. They are
producing genetically-modified corn that is turned into industrial animal feed, industrial products and food additives.
If you are buying non-organic packaged foods of any kind, chances are you are eating genetically-modified corn. Your family's only
protection from this unwanted, unlabelled exposure is to eat 100% organic foods. Better still, learning to cook as much of your
own food from scratch, from whole food ingredients, is your surest bet for avoiding exposure. All over America, women and men
are going back to their kitchens and learning to cook from scratch again so that they are not harming themselves and their
loved ones with the dangerous additives being included in most conventional, packaged foods. This is the choice you can make
to stop giving your hard-earned money to Monsanto and to start showing, with your dollar, that you want safe corn for families
to eat - not laboratory imitations of the real thing.
I created The Native American Triad Dress
to honor the three crops (corn, beans and squash) that have been central to the survival of my native ancestors since time
immemorial. Corn is central to the story of the lands we now call the Americas, and it has become central to the story of the
whole world. When it comes to food, nothing is more important than corn. When it comes to battles we need to pick, I can't think
of a more important one. Because the pollen of GMO corn travels so far and so fast, this issue is terribly urgent. If you feel
a call in your heart to take further steps to learn about GMOs, after you have taken the actions necessary to stop purchasing
GMO corn products, I highly recommend the following resources:
Video: The World According to Monsanto
This groundbreaking short film documents one courageous woman's journey to discover the truth about the Monsanto corporation and
their effects on the world's food supply.
Website: Food, Inc.
This website is the home base of the major motion picture and accompanying book, which you may have seen mentioned repeatedly
in the news. Food, Inc. presents the true story of where America's food comes from and deals in large part with genetic engineering.
Website: Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association is one of the United States' leading organization fighting for safe food for families. Their website
has an amazing, huge library of articles you can read about foods, household products, GMOs and more. Highly recommended.
Thanks to the Internet, we only have to look something up to start to become educated about it. In the past, it was easy for
corporations to hide health hazards from the public because our ability to communicate with one another was relatively limited.
Today, there are dozens and dozens of websites, blogs, forums, social media hubs and videos being published with the goal of educating
our society about important issues and avoidable dangers. As I said at the beginning of this article, it may seem funny to be reading
an article like this on a website devoted to sewing and embroidery, but like you, I am a person who cares deeply about my loved ones
and about the goodness of life on Earth. I so value you, my customer, that I want to share this little bit of information I have with
you, in hopes that it may be a starting point to learn more about so critical an issue in all our lives. Thank you for taking the time
to read what I've written, and if you have any questions about GMOs, you are welcome to contact me.
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