The Norman Transcript


March 15, 2013

If you control the seed, you can control the entire food chain

NORMAN — Have you thought of the miracle that is a seed? Jack Harlan, professor of plant genetics at University of Illinois, talks about seed politics.

I quote from a chapter in “Gathering, Memoir of a Seed Saver” by Diane Ott Wheatly: “The ‘amateurs’ have been the guardians of our genetic resources for some thousands of years. There is no need to stop now, and they have one advantage over institutions: i.e., the true meaning of ‘amateur’ is one who loves or cares. There is no substitute for enthusiasm.”

Seed Savers Exchange has attracted a talented group of amateurs, self-taught experts in fields as diverse as the seeds they are keeping. You and I are or can be talented “amateurs” in the service of collecting, saving and planting heirloom seed and other non-hybrids that are the first link in the food chain.

If you control the seed, you control the entire food chain. Community seed banks, farmer curators and garden curators are going to be what keeps the world alive and keeps the seeds free for all of us to use.

“Give us this day our daily bread” should not be a prayer to a government or corporation such as the chemical monster Monsanto that wants to introduce gene modification (GM) into our corn, soybeans, etc., eliminating the purity of our food supply.

What’s the big difference? What’s the big deal? GMO seeds are “genetically modified organisms,” which is a very broad term. In its most simple terms, it refers to any living thing that has different DNA, no matter how slight, than its parent.

This can happen in nature or in the laboratory. The DNA of each of our parents has combined to make us who we are. You’re not identical to either. This also happens in the plant world. Insects or the weather moves pollen from one plant to the flower of another plant of the same or similar species. The new seed from that plant “mating” produces a new plant different from either of the parent plants. This is a type of hybrid (and so are you).

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Just say no to 12-year-old’s Mohawk

    A mom recently asked me what I would say to my son if he was 12 years old and wanted a Mohawk haircut for the summer. I told her I’d say no. “But is it really that big a deal?” she said....

    August 1, 2014

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Jam set

    Norman residents will serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Andrew’s Park, 201 W. Daws St. A pop-up store also will distribute donations of new and gently used books, clothing, shoes, ...

    August 1, 2014

  • CCFI announces play therapy course

    Center for Children and Families will present the course Fundamentals of Non-Directive Play Therapy from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 8 at Sarkeys Foundation, 520 E. Main St....

    August 1, 2014

  • Recent weather has been surprising

    Earlier this July, a dense cold front slipped into the central section of the Southwest — including Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and bordering states — dropping daytime temperature highs into the upper 60s and 70s, which I believe is an ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Are you a puppet or a prince?

    Names have power. This cautionary statement is frequently found in fantasy novels populated by magical beings. The implication being that you should choose your friends and enemies wisely....

    August 1, 2014

  • Crafter’s emporium planned Saturday

    Members of the Opal District Crafter’s Emporium, plus other local artists, will have an art show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St. in Norman. It will be hosted concurrently with the ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Williams book signing event set

    Jared Williams, a resident of Moore, will sign copies of his book “Cerebral” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hastings, 2300 W. Main St. Norman....

    July 31, 2014

  • Home dedication set Sunday

    Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity will host a dedication of the Ruvalcaba family home from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at 618 E. Apache St. Those attending are asked to bring a pantry item to help the family begin life in their new home. ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Two territorial littermate cats are asserting social dominance

    Dear Dr. Fox: When we decided to get a cat 10 years ago, I thought getting a couple of littermates would work well. They got along during the first couple of years, often sleeping together and grooming each other. As they matured, though, ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Board welcomes new member

    In its June meeting, the members of the Mary Abbott Children’s House board of directors elected Barbara Henderson to serve the remaining term of Anne Ederington, who resigned from the board in May due to moving from Norman. Henderson and ...

    July 30, 2014