We are now near the anniversary of an event that caused some outrage in the pure foods movement: on January 21, 2011, Whole Foods Market supported the entrance of Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa to the global marketplace.
If you missed our post on why genetically modified organisms are a big deal, go check it out now. Whole Foods’ support of GMO alfalfa is viewed as a massive betrayal to those who are extra conscious about what they eat. Whole Foods’ story is that they were backed into a corner by the USDA and forced to choose between nothing or “coexistence” – growing GMO and non-GMO side by side. They chose the lesser of the evils, and backed the approval of GMO alfalfa.
That’s just dandy, but at this point I would like to remind you that GMO crops do not coexist. If the patented gene in the crop makes it into your field, then you are suddenly guilty of patent infringement. There is no recourse for the farmer whose crop was contaminated, so the situation is fairly one sided. It’s like your teacher asking you to coexist with the bully who steals lunch money from you. What’s worse, it’s a particularly bad arrangement to make with alfalfa, much worse than with the other big GMO crops, corn and soy. You practically have to shove pollen into corn to get it to pollinate, and soy is a self-pollinator. Alfalfa, however, is insect pollinated, so there is not even a hint of possibility of containment.