Organic, industrial agriculture and biotechnology

While organic agriculture works with nature, conserving biodiversity, industrial agriculture seeks to control nature by promoting uniform plantings.

Practicing organic agriculture is increasingly difficult as agrochemical conglomerates seek to possess and alter the genes of all the seeds that produce people's food.

Their means for complete control includes ending traditional seed production in favor of transgenic or genetically modified seeds, which are patentable.

To accelerate this, some companies are promoting new regulations.

Organic farmers are also having increasing difficulty protecting the genetically natural crops they grow from cross-pollination when they are near genetically modified crops.

These alterations to our food system ignore the fundamental principles of organic food and farming and can wreak unpredictable havoc.

Monocultures

Many scientists agree that in the long term, the increase in monocultures, for example of soybean varieties from only a few genetic strains, will increase the vulnerability of crops to disease.

In addition to focusing on a single huge crop, industrial agriculture eliminates undesirable elements in a production system (such as a pest) by exerting an external force (such as a pesticide) without taking into account the ecological cost, such as poisoning crops. pollinators.

According to entomologist Prof. Edward Wilson, we must consider the fact, for example, that one in every three bites of food we eat depends on pollinators. If our agricultural systems continue to harm pollinators, crop productivity will suffer.

Organic agriculture

When organic farming was introduced in the early 1900s, proponents such as Rudolph Steiner and others were concerned about the breakdown of vital ecological connections that were being ignored by the then emerging industrial agriculture. They knew that if we did not maintain the health of the entire ecosystem, then agriculture could not remain productive in the long run.

Organic agriculture recognizes that nature is a uniform ecosystem, yet it consists of many different ecological areas, each made up of networks of interdependent, numerous, and local plant and animal species. So every organic farm needs to fit into its local ecological neighborhood.

When we fit planting practices into a diverse natural system, the system itself takes care of production problems. In organic farming, the land is seen as an organism, not a factory.

History shows us that systems where agricultural land is designed to fit into local ecological surroundings, to feed local people, are the most sustainable and productive.

Perhaps the most hopeful food and agriculture activity today is one that the organic industry has vastly ignored - a grassroots movement - that dramatically reduces the distance between farmers and consumers.

This new food system includes subscription farming or community supported agriculture, in which local citizens contract directly with farmers to grow certain organic foods for them. The goal is to ensure an adequate supply of genetically natural seeds.

Biotechnology

Most dramatic changes in societies, such as the civil rights movement, were initiated by local people. Conversations about sustainable food systems need to be started in local communities.

According to the RAFI organization, farmers who use genetically modified seeds will be trapped in biological control systems that will inevitably lead to bioservitude. The ability to insert and externally manipulate vital DNA sequences into crops (and possibly insects and livestock) threatens national sovereignty over agricultural and other biological resources.

On its website, the RAFI organization states that the most obvious peculiarity of this biotechnology is the suicidal sequence of exotic genes, which is activated by an antibiotic and causes the seed to become infertile in the next generation.

Agronomically, Terminator does not offer even the slightest advantage. They also say that the biological reality of this monopolistic strategy hides even darker facets of this technology.

Biological weapons

A British Medical Association report, "Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity," warns that the technology to enable scientists to make biological weapons, which would only affect specific populations, could be ready within 5 years. British biologists are being encouraged to take greater responsibility for the potential risks of their work.

The genome project and the genome diversity project are not only mapping humanity's genes, but are also revealing genetic differences between groups of people.

For example, an article in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Vol. 60, page 957 shows how it is possible to develop sets of genetic markers that distinguish between Africans, Americans, Europeans or Hispanics. This would be enough for biological weapons designers to create bacteria, which would only infect people who belong to one of these groups (New Scientist January 30, 1999, p. 45).

Debates about biotechnology have focused on the possibility of unforeseen dietary risks from genetic changes in foods and therefore in food products (Matutation Research, 1999;443:223).

*By Dr. Héctor E. Solórzano del Río. Professor of Pharmacology at the CUCS of the University of Guadalajara and President of the Medical Society for Enzymatic Research, AC