While Genetically Modified Organisms are thought to be cheaper to produce and more nutritious, in the long run, it still seems like non GMO seeds are the way to go. They need and retain fewer pesticides, the final products may take their time reaching maturity, and they taste better overall. GMO crops are still a positive change, since costs and the time to develop are lower – which is a huge help – we are still not sure how safe they are for consumption. There have been many tests and studies concerning GMO use in agriculture and farming, but many experts say long-term effects are not yet clear.
Benefits of organic, non GMO seeds
Farming like people did in the old days might require more effort and ingenuity at certain times, but it pays off immensely. It’s a system we have studied for thousands of years, so being good at it only requires a little research and patience. Here are the most important benefits of non GMOs for consumers:
Although every benefit of non GMO organic seeds is important, taste is, by far, the most noticeable and the most acknowledged. Fruits and vegetables are juicier and have a more natural texture, which people are bound to notice. This will help the farmer, too, since its produce will not spend a long time on the shelves of a supermarket before being bought.
While GMO farming puts quantity first, non GMO crops are all about the quality of the final product. Organic foods contain more nutrients (vitamins and minerals), since plants are allowed to develop fully and take in from the soil all the substances they need to grow healthy and nutritious fruits, vegetables, or cereal.
Organic farming also means avoiding harmful chemicals, like pesticides or weedicides. In the long run, this is actually cheaper and much easier on the soil than using expensive chemicals, not to mention its advantages to the consumers.
While GMOs are advertised as longer-lasting, this has been proven to be deceitful since, on a cellular level, genetically modified fruits and vegetables decay much more rapidly; even though a tomato’s skin is intact and has no soft spots, it doesn’t mean it’s still juicy and tasty. Non-GMOs, however, have a much better and more stable cellular structure. This allows the fruit or vegetable to maintain its nutrients for a longer time, keeping its taste and texture, if stored right (i.e., in a dark, cool environment).
Why Farmers Should Use Non GMO Seeds
It has been proven that consumers prefer non GMOs, because they are tastier, more nutritious and poison-free, but using non GMO seeds has plenty advantages for farmers, too.
Value of Non GMO Products
Even though GMOs have been advertised as safe and harmless, but cheaper, the market of consumers who prefer non GMO products will pay a fair price for them.
Although growing organic food means more effort and a serious first investment, the overall costs are low after the first few years, since there’s no need for expensive chemicals, like fungicides, insecticides, or other pesticides. Natural fertilizer is more nutritious for the crops and is cheaper. The re-mineralization of soil can be one of the most high-priced processes the crop endures, but it seriously minimizes the needed maintenance and has multiple other benefits for the plants.
Pest and Disease Resistant Crops
By default, farmers who use non GMO seeds do not use chemicals to make their work easier. This means more effort on the grower’s side for the first few years, but after a while, this will result in a crop that’s more resistant to diseases and pests. To make their work easier and smarter, farmers can replace artificial pesticides with other traditional techniques that have worked for our ancestors, like crop rotation (which also benefits land), intercropping, using pest predators to their advantage, or using organic pesticides that leave no trace in the final products.
Drought Resistant Crops
While drought is a destructive phenomenon for farmers, it has a much weaker effect on those who use non GMO seeds and farming techniques. A GMO’s soil is saturated with artificial growth chemicals, which are effective if water is provided. However, when water is no longer provided, the chemicals quickly reach toxic levels, since they are no longer diluted and burn the plant’s roots, compromising the whole crop. This is why non GMOs are more tolerant to drought.
Unlike GMO agriculture, which uses a wide range of soluble fertilizers, pesticides, and other poisonous chemicals, non GMO farming is bio-friendly and uses natural substances to its advantage.
Fresh water is strongly affected by current agriculture, since most fertilizers are washed away and reach rivers nearby or absorbed into the groundwater. The area affected by artificial fertilization is almost impossible to determine, since chemicals flow along rivers for long distances. This is a serious issue, since it not only affects the quality of drinking water and raises filtration costs, but it also affects every living creature in lakes, rivers, and oceans, ultimately endangering life on our planet.
Labeling GMO and Organic Products
While labeling a product as “Organic”, “Non-GMO Certified”, or “Naturally grown”, the regulations behind these labels are still somewhat vague. This is a huge impediment for organic farms, since consumers can’t take these for granted when shopping for groceries.
Any farm with more than $5000 worth of organically grown products annually must apply for organic certification to use these labels. Farms with less than $5000 worth of products do not have to apply, but still must comply with regulations.
An organic label guarantees a certain product has been grown and harvested by following some very specific international, national, and local standards. In the US, companies can only label products as “Certified Organic” or “100% Organic” if they are free of genetically modified ingredients.
For a “100% Organic” product, this means every ingredient in the package must be organic and GMO-free. This does not apply to any water or salt the package might contain, since they already are 100% natural. A product that’s labeled “Organic” must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, water and salt excluded. Some companies use “Made with Organic <ingredient(s)>” for products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients. The non-organic ingredients, however, must follow some detailed regulations to receive this label.
It’s easy to differentiate between GMO and non-GMO in land farming, but animal farming takes it to a whole new level. As a customer, one of the most difficult challenges is finding a meat product that truly is “100% Organic”, since legislators find it difficult to control whether the animal is only fed organically. Feeding farm animals is one aspect most farm owners don’t want to invest too much in, so choosing GMO products or mixing GMO and organic products is, unfortunately, a frequent practice.
In land farming, the battle between non GMO seeds and genetically engineered seeds is still fierce. As time went by and the population grew, it seemed like using GMOs was the way to go. Unfortunately, while effects on the human body are still being discovered and do not look good, the effects on our environment are disastrous. There already is a significant percent of the population that clearly recognizes the positive effects of organic food and will pay a fair price for it. Having an organic farm will not only provide better food, but also help our planet.