Food Photo ~ October 2010

As our government considers the prospect of allowing genetically modified salmon to enter our food chain, I ask you to consider the benefits of consuming heritage and heirloom foods.

Today, much of the produce we consume has been bred and modified to grow faster, resist pests and fungus, survive shipping and to look its best. In many cases, this change in our food supply has forced consumers to sacrifice flavor, variety and nutrients.

For example, did you know that 96% of the commercial vegetable varieties available in 1903 are now extinct?

Or that 99% of all the turkeys raised in the U.S. are a modified breed bred for their broad breasts. While this seems like it’s not such a bad idea, their newer, bigger, better white meat breasts have left them top-heavy and unable to breed.

Several countries have outlawed GMOs, while others demand strict labeling. There is something to me that seems terribly unnatural about toying with the food that has allowed man to evolve to the point where he could toy with his food. (You can read more about the Centre for Research on Globalization’s assessment of GMOs here.)

These examples are just a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of information that is available regarding the importance of maintaining crop and breed diversity and avoiding Frankenfood. Educate yourself. Seek out heirloom fruits and veggies and heritage breed meat products. Seek to bolster these nearly extinct items through the easiest method available–  good old consumerism.

The photo above was taken at Blackman Homestead Farm. The diversity of the squashes available there is stunning. They are open to the public and have fresh cider and a variety of fresh produce available.

Photo by Christa Glennie Seychew