Walking through a market is a paradox for me. In my heart, I am grateful that we have the ability to access food so easily. To have the ability to choose clean & nutritious food and to share meals with loved ones is a Gift.
Yet, I feel frustrated with the illusion of freedom. In the typical market setting, we are not free to purchase what we want. It only appears to be that way.
Plant breeders have long ago decided what customers will eat and as consumers we vote on what the market will carry with every dollar that we spend.
In the United States, the Plant Patent Act (PPA) of 1930 allowed breeders of vegetatively produced plants to claim their newly developed variety as intellectual property.
Six chemical companies own 76% of Seed Patents:
Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, Bayer, BASF.
Patented plants are quite common.
Corn is an example.
A quick search of ‘yellow corn seed patent’ and one can find the dirty details on how genetic modification is proposed by Deklab a company owned by Monsanto in application US patents.
Now imagine that a friend invites you to a barbecue.
You ask what to bring.
They say corn, and if you’re lucky to have a choice between white or yellow it doesn’t matter because both are probably owned by the same seed company.
But please don’t feel too terribly sad...Now you have a conversation starter that will bring some ice-breaking excitement to the small talk at the party…
Because DID you know, In Mexico there are over 60 varieties of corn. In Peru, over 100 varieties, including choclo, the giant corn.
Later, at the barbecue, challenge someone to name 5 different varieties of corn. Yellow, white, and blue are not variety.
And perhaps this will be some conversational kindling that inspires others to engage in dialogue about freed seeds and fresh ideas for food security.
In my next post, I will share more about what to do for Freed Food.