Local Grassroots Campaign Targets Genetically Modified Food
By Rana Sharkawy
Avalanche-Journal - Lubbock, Texas
June 19, 2005
A group of farmers and other concerned citizens gathered Saturday afternoon to discuss a growing concern in the United States: genetically modified food.
Bob "Bubba" Curtis, owner of Bob's Woodworks, was a primary speaker at the meeting.
"I'm mad (about genetically modified food)," he said. "Until (Americans) can stand up and say we're (going to) buck, (this will be a problem)."
Curtis said that it is important to make people aware of what is in their food.
"If soccer moms knew what their kids were getting to eat, they would storm Washington (D.C.)," Curtis said.
People in the United States do not really have a choice about eating genetically modified food, Curtis explained, because there is no law requiring disclosure of genetically modified ingredients on food packaging.
Curtis said he believes the effects of these foods are the reason Americans tend to have so many health problems, including obesity.
Curtis wants not only to raise awareness about the issue in West Texas, but to make it an issue across the nation as well.
"I'm not a farmer," Curtis said. " I have nothing to gain from this. (I want people to know) that these seed companies are taking away from farmers and messing with our health."
Since Curtis said he wants to take a Christian approach, he invited Karl Coke, who is educated in ministry, of Charlotte, N.C., to help inform people about the situation.
"I'm here to listen to farmers about their problems and answer their questions about what the Bible says about farming," Coke said.
Jim Burnett, a business owner in Brownfield who sells organic fertilizer and does crop consulting, is also extremely concerned about the issue.
"My knowledge of GM foods comes from several years of research, and what I see is that genetic modification is man-made manipulation of the genes - DNA - in products by companies to better sell their products," Burnett said. "In doing so, they overlook plant nutrition and have not substantiated a risk-free program."
Burnett said that in his opinion this issue is more critical than some issues that are currently of concern to the government, such as labeling the origin of foods.
"The only choice we have to ensure the safety of our food is (by eating) organic food, because they fall under different regulations," Burnett said.
Curtis and Burnett, among others, said they felt it was important to get the word out on what effects these foods can have on the public as well as the agriculture business.
They will be in Midland on Tuesday filming a series of eight half-hour television programs.