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View from the bottom rung - Feb. 22, 2014

Purple tomatoes are coming to your garden. Developed by a strange diabolical race of little green men calling themselves “Britons” and secreted out to our neighbor Canada, the tomatoes dark pigment known as Anchocyann is an anti-oxidant which studies have shown could help fight cancer in humans and is intended to give tomatoes the same health benefits as blueberries and cranberries.

Also, it is expected to have the “nutritional value of everything from ketchup to pizza toppings.” This is interesting stuff for males of the species - tomatoes, already a boost to prostate health becomes more and more appealing. just emailed the SLGM (Society of Little Green Men) inquiring as to when they begin experimentation with hops.

‘Comes to mind a recent “conversation” between me, a cyber friend and a couple of my cyber friend’s, friends. Well, not much of a conversation really, once the anti-GMO ad was posted to the social network page and I added my astute observation the observer is relegated to the pew and the organics occupy the pulpit. Story of my life, son. Conversations come along great ‘till my two cents worth gets thrown in then chillsville, not a word in edgewise. Go figure. Religion, they say is 80 percent emotion, the other of it doctrinal value, expect politics are about the same.

My network of cyber friends, some old, some new, many I have never met fall to each side of the political spectrum, all reflect interests and priorities foundational to their societies; most engage in benign conversations and observations as one might see in any social setting where friends sit visit, discuss current events or reminisce old times. Others are firebrands from hell. Likely as not the more “energetic” types will come from one’s own side of the political fence, folks who become a mite irate when they assume a brother’s support for a personal cause and fail to get it.

In every society there comes one to rumble, “Chip on the shoulder” activists as goes the old song, whose primary notions are to “get drunk and throw bodies around.” Most of my friends are not politically quarrelsome, choosing rather to sit at council around the whittlers bench jawing the weather, the price of hogs, who has the best fox hound or discussing the shenanigans going on down at the county seat. “Getting someone’s goat” is not a priority.

Yet, political opinion on the friendship net can become quite frenetic; the agitator of course is the operator of the network who makes his money by mining a member’s status history to learn who he is and what industry he might favor so the information can be passed on to other parties who then uses it for commercial feeds in the form of advertisements and promotions playing to an account holder’s social, political and cultural preferences. Some of these only seek support for this cause or that but many take the form of militant attacks against the industry of others and in turn will be used (reposted) by partisans of like “faith.”

As for me it has been a policy never to repost, the view being that the posting of activist causes are more often obnoxious and almost always dishonest because it tells only one side of a multi-faceted story elevating the account holder to the status of “go-fer” for political propagandists and taking the social network a step beyond its proper protocol. This is about friends. Got something to say articulate it yourself, no proxies, you control content never feed your social circle someone else’s personal angst or canned opinion.

There is a near religious zeal to those causes which oppose the use of genetically modified organisms as part of the American food supply of which the primary object of disaffection is Monsanto. Monsanto is one of dozens of chemical companies in the U.S. including familiar names as Dow Chemical, DuPont, Eastman Chemical Co. and Genetech Pharmaceuticals. Koch Brothers Industries, a company easy for liberals to hate because of its support of conservative causes also involve but the heavy artillery, perhaps more “bi-partisan” is directed at Monsanto for a variety of reasons, whether those reasons be justified. The intertwining of these companies and others through the years may be beyond searching but suffice to say their research and product development has a positive impact on our every day health and comfort in ways one might not ordinarily conceive.

This is not to say that scientific research and development is of clean hands and a pure heart but that its fruits saturate modern culture to the point that it is unavoidable. The one article of ‘View from the Bottom Rung’ that failed to reach publication covered the fact that people who spoke against a specific corporation seldom railed against usage of its wide ranging products, pulling (purchasing) that corporations diverse brands from the shelves down at the local super market, unmindful and perhaps uncaring of the products origin.

There are no bumper stickers on my automobiles advocating support for GMO products or the companies that develop them. I do recognize, as do others that there is both a pro and con side of every debate and that sometime one must weigh the advantages of one against the debits of the other. From an historical overview, geneticists say that plants and animals genetically modify themselves all the time and that human intervention of natures breadbasket for yield and nutrition have been ongoing since man began growing his food rather than clubbing it to death. The wild ancestors of grapes, potatoes as well as other fruits and vegetables are reported to have gone through countless generations of careful hybridization and genetic breeding to improve yields, size and texture. Yield, size and texture have two goals, profit and nutrition.

The pro and the con: Natures own genetic engineering developed thorns and toxins on various shrubs and trees to protect against browsing herbivores, while betwixt the two, Homo sapiens and Neanderthals in an ancient world carried on a bit of energetic “genetic engineering” which left the surviving species with genes that make it susceptible to maladies as diabetes and Crohns disease.

Yet, hybridization of fruit, vegetables and maize is different than laboratory intervention into the genetic nature of a plant in order to make it resistant to pests and herbicides. With a short 20 year history the jury is still out on advantages and disadvantages of GMO’s but with Genetic engineering involved in close to 90 percent of corn, soybean cotton and sugar beet crops grown in the U.S., GMO’s whether accepted or rejected are bound to leach into our foodstuff now and into the future.

While there is a strong push for going organic both locally and across the country, humankind faced with an ever expanding world population and a steady decrease in available croplands will do what it has always done, continue to experiment with its food supply in order to increase production, enhance nutrition, reduce allergens and provide a healthier diet. While GMO’s may be resisted here and in some European nations, significant markets open up elsewhere and while Genetic Engineering has been painted the Devils face by my cyber friend, because GMO’s are bred to survive in adverse conditions it could well be the salvation of poor developing nations which struggle to survive.

Meanwhile come springtime and summer this farm-raised country boy will be making his way out to the local farmers market and to fruit/vegetable sellers alongside the highways for produce that isn’t months or years old, has no flavor and won’t ripen after it’s brought home from the local Super Mart. Finally, I have been given permission by one of the organic producing cyber-guys to “Go ahead and eat that poison if you want to” so don’t be surprised if while driving my place this summer you see a patch of purple tomatoes.

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