This post is written by Birke Baehr, a 14 year-old organic farming advocate and author. I am thrilled Birke is a regular contributor here on Food Babe, inspiring other children and adults across the nation to eat local, Non-GMO and organic.
Hey everyone! I am so thankful to Vani & the Food Babe blog for having me on as a guest blogger.
As some of you may know I am a youth advocate for sustainable food & farming. I am very concerned about the production of genetically engineered food and crops. I’m also a large supporter of getting to know your farmer. I believe everyone should buy “local” and that it is important to be able to shake hands with the person that grew your food. I’m always visiting farms and getting to see how the farmers raise their animals and/or produce.
When talking to the majority of my local “pasture” based dairy or meat farmers, I always ask if they use any type of supplemental feed usually made from corn or soy. If they do use any, I ask them if it contains any genetically engineered ingredients. I usually hear from them that it does contain genetically modified (GMO) products and this fact upsets me.
The one thing I get told time and time again is that non-GMO feed or even organic feed is too expensive. Every time I hear a farmer blame “the price” of non-GMO feed for not using it, I become even more determined to find a solution for them.
We must not only pay attention to GMO ingredients in additives and in raw form, but we must keep an eye out for 2nd generation GMO food, like feed or grain for livestock.
Many people don’t realize that they are consuming GMO food when they buy non-organic or local meat. If you buy local (or grass-finished, or pasture raised) – you are doing a great thing, but when the farmer is using GMO food to feed the livestock that can be passed down to you.
GMO food that is fed to animals has been linked to sickening them with diseases, like kidney & liver toxicity, cancer, infertility, birth defects, and death.
Scientists have found genetically engineered D.N.A. in animal tissue, that we end up consuming in the end.
We must find a solution to this issue. I want to help farmers source local non-GMO or organic feed for a fair price. A co-op of produce farmers, land owners, seed suppliers, and monetary backers should be formed. A co-op would have three key benefits:
- Stop farmers from having to truck feed from across the country.
- Eliminate farmers having to resort to GM feed.
- Help farmers obtain organic feed without having to pay a fortune.
This idea I hope will sprout up across the country in many different regions, so the farmers and everyone involved will make money. We need to let our farmers know every time we go to the market, we will not settle for GMO feed. Until this idea becomes reality, I don’t mind paying the extra price for the farmers that do use organic feed because in the end the real price we’ll pay will be our health and well being.
If you are raising livestock and looking for non-GMO feed – check out the resource guide from the non-GMO shopping guide here. (Especially for all you backyard chicken folks!)
And remember to buy organic meat or avoid conventional meat altogether if you want to stop consuming 2nd generation GMO food. I know Food Babe highly suggests this all the time.
Thanks for Reading!
More About Birke Baehr –
An Internationally recognized speaker and youth advocate for sustainable food and agriculture, Birke has visited and volunteered at farms around the United States and recently published his first book, “Birke On The Farm“. Birke has spent the last four years traveling around the United States and Italy visiting organic farms and learning from the farmers who steward those farms. He has attended numerous organic agriculture seminars and workshops; including one with renowned farmer and author, Joel Salatin who Birke looks up to in his pursuit of new thinking about food and agriculture. Birke continues to educate himself in this genre and intends to be a sustainable organic agriculturist in the future. He has a passion for educating others, especially his peers, about the destructiveness of the industrialized food system and the enlightening alternatives of sustainable and organic farming, food and practices. You can follow Birke on Facebook and Twitter.