Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Solution Is Simple

I am always heartened to read stories like these. I never think of myself as a fear-mongerer, and I usually tend to a sort of wallflower apoliticalism (Rick Mercer is funnier than I am, anyhow), but when I hear terms like GURT (Genetic Use Restriction Technology) I feel distinctly uneasy. I feel, dare I say it, almost militant. I want more choice in my garden, not less. I want fewer additives in my food, too. And it really bugs me to know that milkweed has been largely eradicated in my area because of its "weediness," even though it's a host plant for the lovely Monarch butterfly, so hearing from all sorts of sources that our plant variety pool is getting smaller and smaller exasperates me.

So when I saw today's National Post, with its article on Saltspring Island's Dan Jason, I had to laugh, because there I was, in the kitchen, squeezing seeds out of my Yellow Pears, Tigerellas, and Bonne's Best tomatoes. Saving my own seeds. Because, as we all know, I love to garden. And according to Dan, the solution to all these misguided-bad-idea-Terminator seed-GMOs'R'Us-disappearing-varieties advances is simple: learn to garden.

Sure thing, Dan. I might even break down* and order some seeds from you this winter.

*I hate paying for shipping...on anything.


Anonymous said...

And plant some milkweed in your garden to attract butterflies!

shaun said...

Yes, we don't have much, but we do have a butterfly garden, including milkweed.

I wish I had your green thumbs -- but then, we lack many of the other advantages of your climate as well. :)

sheila said...

You got it, JoVE. I can't seem to find the common one, which is apparently the one the Monarchs like best. Even our crunchy garden stores don't have it. I have Jupiter's Beard, though. That's an asclepius.

Shaun, funny how big a role climate plays in our lives, isn't it? When we moved here from CA I mooned for at least 2 years (even though I grew up here), then learned to live with the rain. I still hate the winters here, but I can live with them at this point.

Vivian said...

I often say that I need to start growing my own vegetables and fruit because I am sickened with the possibilities of eating genetically modified foods.

I tried one year with tomatoes, melons and cucumber, but ended up having to fight off deer, the multitude of rabbits, and groundhog. I wasn't sure whether I was providing food for the animals or for my family. I haven't gardened since.

But this is a good reminder why I need to try again. Thanks, Sheila.

sheila said...

Vivian, you have my sympathies. We had groundhogs in CA and they are a bugger to deal with. I wrote the newsletter for our co-op garden while we lived there, and I wrote more articles about those stupid animals than anything else (although we never did let one member bring his crossbow in).
There's no doubt about it, gardening with an eye to providing regular meals can be hard labour. But as you say, the alternative involves accepting what our gov'ts provide: rGBH in milk (thankfully this has not been approved here in Canada), cloned meats (Whoever thought THAT was a good idea has a screw loose), and produce grown with GMOs and creepy chemical sprays. Not to mention some of the stuff that comes from places where standards are markedly different. Call me cynical, but I can't find it in my heart to trust that the word "organic" means the same thing in places like China and Mexico as it does here.
This brings us back to the diets of our great-grandparents day: local food, grown on the homestead or darn close to it. I don't know that I'd go THAT far (I'd miss bananas and chocolate and I don't see myself grinding my own wheat even though the idea intrigues me) but it's a more palatable alternative, IMO, than all that other sci-fi crap.

Becky said...

My family was under strict orders to leave the largest Purple Prince tomatoes alone so I could squish out the seeds to save.

I bought bananas yesterday for the first time since May or June :). And grinding wheat is fairly normal. No denim jumpers or Birkenstocks required. The only thing I dislike is how noisy our electric mill is, but we may have found a solution last weekend at the pumpkin festival. The local museum had on display a manual, homemade grist mill, a rounded stone with grooves underneath set into a wooden table, and powered by a rod a person turns. Rather like a butter churn, but much less work. Now my husband is intrigued by the idea of making one. It ground a cup of wheat into flour in less than a minute.