Ask Congress to Prevent Hunger and the
Proliferation of Genetically Engineered Seeds in the 2012 Farm Bill
Congress is set to revamp the Farm Bill in September. The Farm Bill not only provides assistance to farmers, but it also funds food stamps, or the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP), and Safe Box- an overseas nutrition program. Big cuts are proposed under the House version of the Farm Bill and many of God’s people will go hungry if it passes, particularly immigrants who are or who live with people without documents. Click here to tell your Representative to fully fund SNAP and Safe Box for all God’s people.
The House Farm Bill will also roll back policies that ensure oversight by scientists and government of genetically engineered seeds. Under the proposed legislation it will be easier for companies to put GE seeds into commerce without fully guaranteeing they are safe for public health or God’s Creation. It will also allow some GE material in all seeds- virtually eliminating organic seeds. Some of the seeds that agribusiness wants to include contain toxic chemicals like 2,4D, used in Agent Orange. Scientific evidence links 2,4D to cancer, birth defects, and Parkinson’s disease.
Farmers who depend on GE seeds also can easily become indebted and dependent on agribusiness companies for the rest of their lifetime. Every year that they use GE seeds, farmers across the world have to pay annual fees to multi-national agribusinesses like Monsanto. No longer can farmers save seeds and replant them for free. While these seeds are engineered to be pest- resistant, they are not actually that effective. Farmers will have to continually replace them with a new variety with stronger pesticide resistance. Likewise, drought resistant seeds may not be able to handle the longer, hotter droughts we will have with climate change.
Read a reflection on how the drought and the Farm Bill are affecting farmers in Nebraska here
Protect God’s Creation and small farmers’ livelihoods. Send a letter to your Representative here.
And here’s the other thing- these seeds are not used to grow fruits and vegetables that provide critical nutrition for God’s children. “Food deserts,” or areas that lack access to fresh food, exist in rural areas. Many of the soy, corn, cotton and wheat seeds are used to make energy and feed livestock- not the hungry mouths of children. Yet the proposed cuts to food stamps will create a greater need for fresh food to address the growing number of people who lack food security every day.
Leviticus 23:22 reads, “When you reap the harvest of the land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to the very edge, nor shall you glean the stray ears of your grain. These things you shall leave for the poor and the stranger.” As people of faith we have a responsibility to protect Creation, feed the hungry, and care for the health of all God’s people. We can live more abundantly by guaranteeing that people in poverty have enough to eat and by investing in farming and conservation techniques that support all life in the soil. The Columbans know this as well as anyone, which is why they prioritized education and resistance to genetically engineered crops in 2000 at their general assembly.
Ask your Representative to reject GE seeds and invest in organic farming and SNAP to ensure abundance for the whole body of Christ. Download a sample letter here .
Learn more about GMOs here.
For more information contact:
Chloe Schwabe, CCAO Advocacy Associate
Chloe at Columban.org