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Failure to Yield – The Truth About GMOs

I just finished watching the movie Genetic Roulette online for the third time. Each time I watch it, I notice some new facet about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) that I hadn’t noticed as clearly before. This time, it was the stark fact that the chemical companies who promote GMOs have been promising that the use of GMOs would create higher yields of food and therefore feed the world. Read the Union of Concern Scientists’ Failure to Yield report.

The truth is quite different. First, without GMOs, there is plenty of food in the world to feed everyone. The problem is not the production of food, but the distribution of food which is a whole other problem to solve.  So, let’s put that misinformation to rest.

Still, chemical companies would have you believe that we NEED GMOs in order to manage our production so we can all eat more at a lower cost. In most industrialized nations, the problem is not about having enough food and it’s become more a problem of having healthy food.

According to the Union of Concern Scientists, the promises of increased production are false. According to the USC, “Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields.”

In fact, many farmers are beginning to see that their yields are lower after buying these GMO seeds and spraying chemical products on those seeds. One cotton farmer interviewed in Genetic Roulette said he began to really question his initial decision to use GMO seed when he began reading the dire health warnings on the seed bag itself. Don’t eat it, don’t touch it, don’t breath it, don’t let it touch your skin….sounds like the warning label on poison, doesn’t it?

The bottom line is this – chemical companies like Monsanto have been promoting the use of chemicals under the promise of higher yields (i.e. more crops for the farmer as lower costs), and that has not been the case. As farmers see their crop yields drop and their animals suffer from eating GMO crops, they’re beginning to understand that their livelihood depends on them NOT using GMOs.

The tide is turning and as the links between GMOs and human health, livestock health, crop yields and agricultural sustainability are known, people will vote with their dollars and avoid GMOs. Our health as a nation, as a world and as a species literally depends on it.

shopOrganic online organic retailer relaunches shopOrganic & shopGMOFree

So, I’ve let this blog get a bit stale, we’ve been busy running our growing company, but I’m happy to announce we’re re-booting our blog and revamping our website this month in honor of the 3rd annual non-GMO month.

shopOrganic, the premier online retailer of organic foods and eco-friendly products, has just re-launched as shopOrganic & shopGMOfree.

shopGMOFree

Without mandatory labeling, it’s difficult for consumers to determine whether their favorite products are produced using GMO’s. As U.S. consumer concern over GMO’s reaches critical mass, interest in non-GMO shopping options is on the rise and shopOrganic & shopGMOFree have responded by offering the widest range of organic and non-GMO products available online today.

shopOrganic has responded to this need by ensuring that the thousands of organic foods and eco-friendly products offered on their site are GMO free. The newly redesigned site focuses on consumers searching for non-GMO foods and provides reassurance about the nature of the products they purchase. The timing of the re-launch coincides with both the celebration of the 3rd annual Non-GMO month and the upcoming California vote on the labeling of GMO products.

I was amazed to learn that recent studies show that over 90% of all Americans want to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). I knew there was serious interest in this topic, but I didn’t realize so many Americans shared this concern about GMOs. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant or animal whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. And though the data is not definitive on the safety of consuming foods with GMOs, it seems reasonable to WANT know whether or not the food you’re eating contains GMOs. In the U.S. there are currently no restrictions on GMO’s, but in many other countries around the world, GMOs are banned. These countries include the entire European Union as well as China and Russia. Curious why the U.S. is so far behind this curve….

shopOrganic & shopGMOfree believes that everyone has a right to safe and healthy food and they make it easy for concerned consumers to shop without the worry that they’ll be feeding themselves and their families GMO foods.

October marks the 3rd annual Non-GMO Month. Started in order to raise awareness of GMO’s this month-long educational opportunity broadens the knowledge to a wider and wider population each year.  The issue has created a groundswell of concern in California, where their population will soon vote on Proposition 37, a GMO labeling initiative. Whether or not that proposition passes, shopOrganic & shopGMOfree remains a trusted non-GMO shopping source.

shopOrganic.com was founded in 2008 to provide consumers with access to organic, non-GMO and eco-friendly products.  The company is located in Tucson, Arizona and is privately held.

Thoughts on Turning Two – shopOrganic Celebrates Two Year Anniversary

This week, we celebrate your two year anniversary. What an eventful two years its been. In early 2008, when our plans for launching this business and the shopOrganic.com website were forming, we had no idea that the economy was about to fall out from beneath our feet. We had high hopes and when we clicked the button to publish the site and make it live that evening on May 8, 2008, we thought great things were about to happen. And we were right…sort of ….

We had strong sales at first, but as the economic cloud get getting bigger and darker, we grew concerned that our sales wouldn’t grow fast enough and that our start up cash would run out before we hit our stride.

We have continued to do what we do best – find the highest quality, most unique and wonderful organic, fair trade and eco-friendly products available; offer them on our easy-to-use website and provide THE best customer service anywhere on the planet. It’s a simple but powerful combination and judging from our repeat customers, we know it’s a winning formula.

As we look back, we recognize the long hours, the hard work and the stress we endured to create this company. As we look forward, we see a bright horizon and wonderful opportunities awaiting us. We have big, BIG plans for the future and we’re confident we’ll be able to create this new future with a bit of help from our loyal customers, new customers and maybe an angel investor or two….

For now, we continue to wake up every day thankful that we do what we love and make a difference in people’s lives. We would love to hear your comments and thoughts about our two year anniversary – feel free to comment here or visit shopOrganic and submit comments through our online form.

Thanks to everyone who made the first two years possible. We believe that our very survival over this two year period is a huge victory and we appreciate everyone along the way who encouraged, supported, offered us discounts to get us going and most of all our customers who make every day a great day at shopOrganic.

True Costs

I was thinking the other day about the repair of my ancient printer (see “The World Around Us” entry at shopOrganic.com/community) and realized that the true cost of things is often not accounted for. It’s like a gaping hole in our accounting systems and metrics that allow us to disregard certain costs – those enormous, universal, hits-all-of-us kinds of costs.

For example, that old printer part. I purchased a part for $20 to fix my printer. The old board probably needs a single component, like a $0.10 capacitor, to make it run like new. However, I long ago sold my oscilloscope, I have an old soldering iron out in the garage, but I think my skills are just rusty enough that I would likely toast the entire board in the process of trying to discover which component went bad. That said, I’m sure there’s someone in this town that could repair that board. I’d be happy to give the part to him or her just to know it would be repaired and reused. But, I doubt I’ll find that person primarily because I don’t have the time to spend searching for someone to repair a $20 board that I don’t need.

But is it really a $20 board? What’s the cost of that board just being tossed in the landfill? What’s the cost of the metals and the toxic substances seeping into the water table beneath the landfill? What’s the cost of that part just sitting, mostly unchanged, in a landfill for generations to come?

Now, that part is not in a landfill nor will I be the one to put it there. It will, no doubt, live in my cache of ancient, unusable technical spare parts for years to come. Every now and then, I’ll pull it out, look at it, remember fondly the time I fixed that old HP IIP laser printer and put it back in the box. At some point, I might even get it together to bring a box of old spare parts to the computer recycling center so they can tear it apart and recycle whatever materials they can.

Still, most people would take that old part and toss it in the trash because it is, after all, only a $20 part. Our landfills are filling with things that may not be perfectly good, but things that might have a useful afterlife in some sort of recycled format – only there’s no economic incentive to do so.

More than that, we don’t account for all these costs. So, that $20 part isn’t really a $20 part. If we add up the environmental impact and the time it will live in the landfill and…..well, you get the point and it’s more like a $2,000 part at that point. Now, if it was a $2,000 part, I bet someone would be more interested in fixing it, don’t you?

We may not ever change our accounting systems to look at the cost in a holistic manner, but each of us can perhaps become more aware of the larger costs of our consumer products and begin to make small changes. Critics will argue that small changes by millions of us won’t change anything, but in fact, that’s the only thing that creates change – all of us together, one by one.

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