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Local Michigan Farmers At Risk: Michigan Farmers Planting GMO Sugar Beets

November 23, 2009
2.98km from Bay City, Michigan
Image by Christopher P. Bills via Flickr

This story starts, for me, when I read around about  the “local” Kellogg’s company to find out if they used GMO foods in their cereals.  It turns out, in fact, that the Kellogg’s Cereal company has used GMO products for years, and for my queries specifically, had used GMO sugar grown right here in Michigan.

I had thought for some time that the local sugar sold here, Big Chief, had to be too good to be true, and it is.  It was inexpensive, locally grown, almost obscenely abundant, and Wal-Mart carried it. I don’t know why I bought it after that litany to begin with.  But I did, and I soon felt guilty.  Our local Wal-Mart has fallen prey to big corporate execs who have stopped carrying any smaller local brands, stopped carrying the organic brands and have moved away from anything with a “natural” label, so I was suspicious of any of the products that were left.  Turns out:  I was right to be suspicious.

Check out the local “growing” facility for Big Chief Sugar.  Does it look like it has any farm-base to its facility?  Well, not really, right?  Yeah, I got fooled too.  But, I have since stopped buying the Big Chief Sugar.  See, I garden too, and I do it organically.  I am allergic to the herbicides and pesticides, having come in contact with some in the past and sustained severe burns, even at small levels.  When I had poured out a bird bath onto some ground that had been sprayed with Round-up two weeks previous to that, anywhere the water touched the ground and then my feet caused a skin burn, one that peeled.  It was horrific.  So, no more Round-up.  I even went so far as to fight with my family and our local city to halt Round-up spraying because I had been burned so badly.  So, no more sprays, but I don’t want to support growers who may be spreading Round-up all over, especially if I would ingest it or have it impact my own garden.   No more Big Chief Sugar for me and my family.

What are Michigan farmers going to do if there is no more seed for conventional sugar beet plantings? I would hope that they could find seed at a seed saver’s exchange, much the way other Michigan gardeners do.  I do worry though, what risks have Michigan farmers taken with their own health by planting extensive crops that will be sprayed with toxic chemicals?



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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2010 4:17 am

    This whole GMO thing is truly scary. Has it gone too far? Will we be able to stop it?

    Everyone has to vote with every dollar they spend.


  1. How did food get this way? | Rebel With a Fork

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