While Monday was the “official” beginning of Month Without Monsanto, last night was the first chance I had to gather with my co-conspirators who are also participating. Each month, Victory Garden Initiative (the organization I work for) throws an open potluck. Those who had agreed to join in the #Nonsanto fun came to the potluck, and I was also able to throw in a plug for others to join us. All in all, we had about 20 people present, though not all decided to jump on the #Nonsanto wagon. I was surprised but pleased by everyone’s reaction to my pitch for the Month Without Monsanto experiment. It turns out that a bunch of people who show up to our monthly Eat & Meet are pretty savvy about the dangers of pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, and Monsanto in general. What ensued was a lively, far-ranging discussion; frombees dying en masse due to pesticide exposure (thanks, Monsanto!), to GMO labeling issues, to the importance of preserving food as a sort of personal insurance policy. You know, just in case we accidentally kill all the bees and there’s not enough food to eat.
I left last night feeling angry at the industrial food system, but also duped. We’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by thinking that regulating agencies like the FDA, EPA, and USDA will protect us from the dangers of products which are toxic to humans—pesticides that we put on our food. Is it just me, or does putting anything with the suffix “-cide” (Latin for kill) on our food seem like a bad idea?
I’m more convinced than ever that going 100% organic is something I’d like to commit to long term (keeping almost all -cides off of my food). For this month, we’re all committing to going as #Nonsanto as we possibly can, and learning a lot in the process. That means researching companies, interrogating farmers about their seed sources, and at the very least purchasing 100% USDA organic foods. I’m personally not throwing anything out—I made applesauce from some conventional apples someone gave me—but as I go through the month I hope to gradually step up my #Nonsanto level.
It’s not going to be easy: Today I got a potato chip halfway into my mouth before I realized it had Monsanto written all over it. For lunches, I’m currently living off a giant vat of #Nonsanto soup made from organic veggies and a local, free range chicken. Breakfast yesterday was carrot sticks, and dinner was….a compromise. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how many layers of the food system Monsanto penetrates. On the upside, I’m spending more time in my kitchen and not caving to the temptation of eating lunch out.
Best of all, I’m going to have to rely on my #Nonsanto co-conspirators to get through this. Here’s to all of us!
Sources for this post:
A great run-down of bees, neonicotinoid pesticides, and why this is a perfect storm of awful: http://www.occupymonsanto360.
Picture: Our #Nonsanto Group. Left to Right: Brian, Pamela, Robert, Me, and Pauline (front)