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MOF&G Cover Summer 1999

 


  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerSummer 1999Letters   
 Letters – Summer 1999 Minimize


Ask if Soy Products are Engineered
Greetings to Dale and Parker
GMO Prohibition Questioned
Maine Transplant Says Hi

Ask if Soy Products are Engineered

To the editor:
I’ve been worrying about the huge proportion of soy that is now genetically engineered and is in our food, unlabeled, unless one buys organic food. To assuage my frustration, I’ve been contacting the makers of health food soy products that are so far not organic, and suggesting that they consider switching to organic soy. If we apply consumer pressure on these companies, it may help to slow or reverse the avalanche slide to genetically engineered food. (If there is no address or phone number on the package, your food store should have it on file.)
– Beedy Parker, Camden, Maine

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Greetings to Dale and Parker

Hello,

In your March-May issue there was an article about Bob Dale and Jean Parker. I would like to say hello to Mr. Dale. I believe he once owned the property on which I live here in Pembroke. Some old acquaintances of his were also friends of mine (Thurlo and Fran Collier). They passed away several years ago, but when I knew them they spoke wonderingly of Bob Dale. Another interesting coincidence is the mention of tide mills. I’m trying to research the workings of tide mills.

Sincerely,
– Fred Gralenski, Pembroke, ME

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GMO Prohibition Questioned

Editor, MOF&G:

While I can sympathize with changes in organic standards to exclude contamination from GMOs (Genetically modified organisms), we should also retain some sense of balance; and this seems missing from the change reported in your issue of March-May.

Conventional agriculture increasingly sends GMO pollen drifting over our organic fields. IF we are to assure our customers it is not in our produce, it will be necessary to test for GMO contamination.

IF four organic corn producers collect samples systematically, the combined sample can be tested for about $2000. Assuming the contamination is less than 25% of the permissible limit for corn – which has been fixed in European markets – then all four farmers would pass.

Unfortunately, testing for GMO contamination of smaller, diversified farms will be far more expensive. Probably it will be cheaper to provide large buffers – even as large as 500 feet or more in some situations to be sure contamination is under the limit. And we will have to acknowledge that absolute purity is not our standard; only reasonable attainable purity.

In view of all of this, it is perplexing to learn that MOFGA now prohibits GMOs on non certified fields owned by growers who certify some fields. Why would MOFGA impose this special penalty against GMOs while permitting all other chemicals used in conventional agriculture, including Velpar and methyl bromide? Velpar gets into ground water and its effects on soil can persist for 10 years.

MOFGA could require all its certified growers to convert to all-organic within a certain number of years, but as long as split farms are allowed, I see no rational basis for excluding GMOs from their non organic operations. It is a merely symbolic gesture without any genuine effect in the integrity of food. It would be better to rescind this gesture and study ways of minimizing the actual drift occurring and likely to increase.

– Arthur Harvey

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Maine Transplant Says Hi

Dear MOF&G Readers,

Hello! Please let me start by saying that the purpose of this letter is to introduce myself to you because I’m moving to Maine and looking for like-minded friends. I know that sounds bold, but I thought this would be a good place to start.

This summer, my family (parents, three siblings, myself and lots of animals) is leaving central Vermont and moving to northern Maine. The extreme northern Maine, where if you go any farther north, you find yourself in Canada. Our new farm is bordered by two different rivers and most of it is not in a town, but in a township. (My dad gets to be mayor and dogcatcher too!) The only way to get there is by crossing a river or by traveling 13-plus miles of dirt roads through paper company land and then hiking a mile on foot.

I am very excited about this move. I love our new place and I’m looking forward to meeting different people. Of course, I’m disappointed that I have to leave my friends. Another reason this move excites me is it will put me in the same state as the Common Ground Country Fair, and I’m really hoping to become more involved with that.

I have been homeschooled since I was a baby. Right now, I’m 16 years old and I plan on finishing my home education right through high school. My interests lie in a lot of places because of my diverse education, but some of my main ones include: organic homesteading (I love all aspects of this, raising food, animals, etc.; I love the independence homesteading gives me.), alternative healing, midwifery, music (I play the fiddle, violin and mainly the cello), astrology, working with draft horses, and right now I’m quite interested and concerned about what’s happening with the new genetically engineered crops to which I’m fully opposed. I also love contra dancing, growing flowers, learning and teaching, writing, the outdoors and woolwork. I like being around people who enjoy doing the same things as me or who want to learn or already know about things I want to learn. I pick up a lot of information this way and I also have a good time.

If anyone who would like to get to know me better would write to me, I’d really appreciate getting to know some of you!

Sincerely,
– Julie-Ann Trudel, St. Francis ME

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