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7 Letter to the Editor | "The Monsanto Debate Explained" by Christy Tinsley Ilfrey & Kimmi Norvell Moake

Monsanto Company is a publicly traded American
multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation 
headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri. It is a 
leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) 
seed and of the herbicide glyphosate
which it markets under the Roundup brand.
"The uproar about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is not nearly loud enough. Every person should be informed about the repercussions of introducing “foodlike substances” that have been modified in a laboratory into our food system. Ecologically, planting seeds that have been genetically engineered to produce pesticides has already proven to be devastating to the world’s pollinators. Pesticides are intended to eradicate insects that damage plants. But often they are non-selective, which means that they will exterminate an array of insects – including pollinators, such as bees – that ingest them. Without beneficial insects, particularly pollinators, flowers do not bloom and food crops do not produce. In agriculture, these seeds have hybridized with non-GMO seeds and altered them to produce the pesticide, as well. Pesticide-producing food crops are choking out the “clean” crops, flooding our supermarkets with toxic produce and food products made with toxic produce.

Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, 
is the direct manipulation of an organism's 
genome using biotechnology. An organism that is 
generated through genetic engineering is considered to 
be a genetically modified organism (GMO).
Behind it all is Monsanto [Company], and they not only develop GMO seeds of staple foods like corn, they have a monopoly on them that they defend vehemently. Nearly all of our corn grown in the USA today derives from the Monsanto GMO seed. Check the labels on your favorite packaged foods: they most likely contain corn…and the very pesticide that is bringing down the pollinator population. At the very least, we deserve to know what is in our foods. Monsanto and their friends inside the US Congress keep us ignorant of precisely what we are eating. At this very moment, these friends are defending the proposed Monsanto Protection Act, which in essence absolves Monsanto from any responsibility for damages to nature, to our economy, or to our bodies caused by their GMO seeds. Nature is out of whack, the farming industry is being bullied, and our food system is polluted. Life can not, and will not, be sustained if we allow this to continue.

Kimmi and I share the same personal route to Monsanto awareness. Follow our gut: our gut instinct, our gut reaction and literally our gut’s ability to recognize food.

Our gut instinct is not to trust big business with their hands in the government’s pockets. If a company has to hide what they’re doing or convince the FDA to allow them NOT to label what’s in their foods, then they’re up to something fishy. If a company cannot talk about their practices in growing and processing the foods they’re selling, then let’s question their ethics. If a company does not think of the greater good, we don’t want to do business with them. Giving underprivileged farmers seeds that will only grow one plant, one time, packed with pest resistant strands is not considering the greater good. Self-sufficiency is completely thrown out the window, which is a major reason people grow their own food in the first place!

Our gut reaction is to stay away from processed foods that might have GMOs in them, and most typical grocery store foods make this list. We also focus on veggies that are in season from a farmer’s market, a trusted mom & pop-type grocer, or – better yet – out of our own gardens.

And finally, we follow an eating philosophy that is to “eat as close to the earth as possible.” The further food is removed from its natural state, by being processed or genetically modified, the less our bodies will recognize it as food. The fewer nutrients we receive from our food, the less healthy we are and will be."

Both Kimmi Norvell Moake (Coastal Bend Health Foods) & Christy Tinsley Ilfrey (Raw Ya'll) are Rockport-area health food store and service providers.



Thank you so much for sharing this information. It's very helpful to read it in (no pun intended) digestible terms. .....I was curious: For those of us who would like to grow our own food, what's the best way to know if the seeds we're using are genetically modified?--especially if there are no regulations to label them as such. If so much of the seeds themselves are 'contaminated' where can one find safe seeds?--if anywhere? Thanks in advance, Alicia


Great question, Alicia! If the seeds are certified organic, they are not genetically modified. However, they might actually be a Monsanto product, so it's important to know which companies are owned by Monsanto. I shared a list on my facebook page and will gladly post the link here. One company to consider is texasready.org, a Texas-based seed company that ships packages to would-be gardeners all over North America. I will purchase my next batch of seeds from them!


Wow good to know. Thanks Christy!!


You're welcome! Here is the link to the list of seed companies. I've also reposted to my facebook page.



Also...if anyone is interested. I was curious about Burpee (Co.) seeds, as my family has been buying seeds from them for YEARS....I couldn't find their name in the list Christy provided (a good resource by the way), so I did some digging of my own, and found this article: http://www.burpee.com/gygg/content.jsp?contentId=about-burpee-seeds

"For the record, I own W. Atlee Burpee & Co. Burpee is NOT owned by Monsanto. We do purchase a small number of seeds from the garden seed department of Seminis, a Monsanto subsidiary, and so do our biggest competitors. We do NOT sell GMO seed, never have in the past, and will not sell it in the future."


Thank you for your work and your commitment!


It's so very nice to hear this debate broken down by local experts. It is a bit alarming though! To say the least. As a home farmer, I have taken it to heart. - Ben

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