Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Artificial Testament


"Elohim said, 'Let the earth sprout greenery, seed-producing plants, fruit trees producing fruit according to their type.' And it happened." –Tanahk, Genesis (Day 3).

Now, Elohim says, "Let the earth purge artificial greenery, cultivate any remaining ancestral seed-producing plants, and harvest without using chemical fertilizer, or else you'll all regress into a pile of humus before you can utter the word organic." And with that, Elohim added, "Muhuhahaha." (Elohim is allowed to be "evil" there because he's had a "fist in [His] eye" way too many times now to be Mr. Niceguy).

Whether Elohim or evolution (or a combination), both organisms and plants have the DNA that make them "prepared for anything," as Barbara Kingsolver says. But we have not allowed our crops to fulfill this potential, what with our splicing of Bacillus thuringiensis and contorted corncobs. Up to this day, we are a surviving summation of all that has worked over time. And instead of taking advantage of Darwin's good work, realizing that if what worked over time is that which has survived, we abuse the land we came from. We don't seem to pay close attention to those lands that have harvested for thousands of years before, or to the Monarch butterfly who has produced generations of her breed.

Until now. These paradoxes are a part of daily American life at this point. I didn't even realize that genetic engineering had the "evilness" it's worthy of. The theme surrounding the adaptation to genetic engineering is that people just don't know their science. We're used to hearing that USDA approves rice with human genes, or that developing countries can't sustain themselves, unless they rely upon biotechnology. Stink bugs devouring genetically engineered cotton should be telling us, supposedly logical human beings, something: stop making this stuff! Instead, we are used to living amidst these cutting-edge "technologies." Except, are they logical? Why SHOULD natural plants accept DNA that is not its own?

Then we have the paradoxical labels— the ORGANIC TV dinner doesn't strike the average American as illogical? What might Sir Albert Howard say about the Whole Foods' industry? Whole Foods misleads the public that their food is actually coming from a whole natural system. Perhaps the store should be called, "Partial Foods," since the consumers are only hearing a part of the story. "Access to pasture," was Corporate Organic's get-out-of-jail-free card. Can you have it both ways? No... But Whole Foods can. America believes in the pastoral side of the franchise, but there is nothing pastoral about a chicken that gets a patch of outdoor stale dirt the size of a shoebox. And yet, we still contribute to the enormous industrial profit of the "organic empire," because it just sounds so good and natural!

Organic is woven into the industrial food system—clearly shown in Phil Howard's Organic Industry Structure (June 2005). Why did the public let this happen? They didn't have a choice. It happened TO THEM. We abide by the artificial laws that have created the world as we know it today. We have become an artificial Adam and Eve, dependent on the artificial fruit of this nation.

2 comments:

Stephen said...

Marissa, don't forget the strawberries with flounder DNA! Nothing says summer like fishy berries! Food only needs to be 90% organic to be labelled such. And organic corn? Doesn't exist in the US. Mon Santo genes have been found as far North as Canada. And they made sure once you go Mon Santo, you (or more properly, the land) can never go back.
-Steve

Marissa Beck said...

You're 100% right. You can't go back -- especially because Mon Santo seeds need special Mon Santo fertilizer!!! Don't even get me started on fertilizer and the "inerts" ... maybe that warrants another post. I never knew that about fishy berries. I am a hYOOOOGE strawberry LOVER and I think I just gagged.

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