Eat, Drink, Blog / Eating My Share

Locavore Challenge: Day 27

Daily Challenge: Join the Just Label It Campaign
Food of the Day: Corn

I carry a deep dark secret. Okay, it’s not a deep dark secret, as I do admit my guilt to those who want to listen. So, here it goes: I have an intimate connection to Monsanto. As such, it may be duplicitous for me to talk about my antipathy for the organization. Has Monsanto always been a big baddie? I don’t know. Probably. However, the world has changed. I mean, we once thought it was a good idea for asbestos to be used in insulation (it doesn’t catch fire easily, potentially saving lives, right? um, wrong!), and my mother distinctly remembers her GP telling her that the uterus protects the baby as a barrier against medication and alcohol (thank goodness her pregnancy was morning-sickness-free, else she be prescribed thalidomide!).

Anywho…  A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, my grandfather was head engineer for Monsanto. To this day—and from beyond the grave—my grandfather is named in any number of lawsuits. So, wherein lies my guilt? I inherited Monsanto stock when he passed. It doesn’t really matter if there’s a lot there (there isn’t) or if the stock is making me money (it is), I own it and all arguments about capital gains taxes aside, I haven’t been willing to sell it and get out completely. Maybe my grandpa earned it in a different time, but I’m holding it in the days of genetically engineered foods (GMOs). Maybe it’s this history that keeps much of my mother’s family indifferent to factory farms or the plight of farmers around the world affected by GMO plants.

Thus, it’s interesting that the FotD on Day 27 of the NOFA-NY Locavore Challenge was corn: If you eat corn in this country, you are ingesting GMOs. The only corn that is GMO-free is that which you can buy directly from the farm. In fact, many “organic” forms of corn sold in grocery stores have GMOs. This is because products are not required to disclaim that they have GMOs. Well, a couple of organizations are trying to put an end to this, with the largest initiative in California on the upcoming election ballot. Despite being outfunded 10-1, proponents of Proposition 37 are getting the word out via social media and the Internet: This bill would require a label that a food is genetically engineered or even contains a trace of GMOs (read any package these days, and chances are it has corn or soy that is GMO added to it as a filler—even many packaged meats now come with GMOs added, not to mention the non-food crap the animal ate while alive). Needless to say, most factory food producers (Pepsi, Nabisco, etc.) do not want Prop 37 to succeed.

Just Label It is one of many groups that is trying to drum up nation-wide support for Prop 37. This should matter to all of us, even if we are locavores. First off, you cannot stop a battleship on a dime, so requiring GMO labeling in California will mean it’s that much more likely to force other states to require GMO labels; maybe even the USDA will get involved. Wither go California, there goes the US government. Second, unless you are 100 percent locavore (and if this challenge has shown me anything, it’s that I have a long way to go from 90 to 100 percent!), chances are some of your food will come from California (La Vida Locavore has a great breakdown, although it’s somewhat out of date). And if you shop at Whole Paycheck, you really need to set aside 17 minutes of your life and watch the video by Organic Spies (happily, people are watching because in the past 24 hours they’ve gone from 2,400 views to more than 46,000!). And sign the petition at Just Label It. That won’t take you 17 minutes; more like 17 seconds.


Where I Soared: Hey, at least I’m thinking about these things! And I did spend about an hour doing some research into Prop 37 (I have friends and family in California, not to mention February will come around and I will want some fresh produce… I’d hate to think that fruit from Argentina is healthier than its California cousin).

Where I Sunk: Didn’t buy any corn. And I used French wine to cook dinner (Coq au Vin, which was made all-local except for the “vin” part, and I put over locally grown mashed potatoes).

My Grade: Because I got back on the blog bandwagon and have confessed my sins before God and the Internet, I’ll give myself a B.

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