or other charitable organizations that help small-scale farmers
If you crunch the numbers, women like the one above (and men) feed 3 billion people world wide, mostly in the global South. (Women do most of the planting, weeding and selling of the crops in the South's rural areas, but their efforts toward producing so much food is often overlooked.) Most of the food on our planet exists in its present form because of thousands of years of innovations and plant breeding that occurred on small family-run farms. Small landholders selected seeds from their best, most successful plants year after year to replant the following year, and over time, their practices created and bred plant varieties that worked in many different climates, and were affordable and nutritionally superior to the originals.
Unfortunately one of the biggest threats to small farmers is the fact that large corporations are doing their best to privatize and patent seeds. Companies like Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Dow, Bayer and BASF are genetically modifying seeds so that they produce bumper crops the first year (with the help of company-made agrochemicals), but cannot be replanted the next year because their genes are modified so that their offspring don't produce. Growers are then forced to buy more of the corporations' genetically modified single-year seeds and chemicals. In these cases, biodiversity is vanishing, and in some countries, fair trade agreements have made seed saving an illegal act. And the blanket distribution of one type of genetically modified seed for one type of climate can't be successful in every microclimate across every country!
Farmers in countries like Haiti, Brazil, Columbia and Zambia have realized these dangers and have been fighting for their seed saving rights through nationwide farmers strikes, setting up their own ecological seed production cooperatives, and refusing to allow corporations entry into their work. But the pressure continues, and, unlike most human beings, corporations are more interested in their fiscal bottom lines than the world's common good. The companies named above lack any sort of conscience and have more than enough money to fight dirty.
But we can help our farming brothers and sisters in their struggles against heartless agri-business here and around the world by buying local and organic products when possible. When it comes to items we import, fair trade and organic products are generally produced by people who subscribe to non GM, organic seed choices and farming practices. If enough consumers demand non-genetically modified choices at our grocery stores, and ask our legislators to enact laws to label GMO foods so that we can avoid the products sold in Canada containing genetically modified corn, canola, soy and sugar beet, it won't be long before agribusiness is forced to rethink its ways. By eating locally and sustainably, we can have a global impact before it's too late.
Click here for more information about the Sow Much Love campaign, and support farmers and their right to save seeds whenever the opportunity arises!