A Silent Conversation

It all begins with a seed. And from that moment, the possibilities are endless.

Something as simple, as small, and as unsuspecting as an innocent seed can transform itself into a thing of beauty and power. In a way, you change as a seed changes. For me, it’s not just a seed; it’s an idea, a way of thinking, and a lifestyle that you’re reinforcing. There’s just this magic when you grow your own food.

Seeds can symbolize change, and like many things, seeds also change as the world changes. But, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Gone are the days where an apple is just an apple. We live in a world where we can no longer trust our food, the source or labeling, and it’s scary. Something as pure as a seed has been altered into something else – we’re not talking about gardens either, but in science laboratories. And it’s happening all over the world. Bring in the dictionary definition of GMO:

GMO

noun

1.genetically modified organism: an organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering.

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Scary GMO Corn – oooooo

Long story short: GM crops are patented and controlled by a handful of multi-national companies – Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow, to the point that 3 of the main players own around 53% of the world’s commercial seed market! In the words of ‘Black Cindy’ from Orange is the New Black “The real evil are them companies killin’ us without consent.” The average person may not even know that this is even happening. Genetically modified corn is one of the main staples for animal feed in the US too and that’s just the beginning of the chain, much of the soy crop in the US is also GMO, and then there’s the herbicides and pesticides polluting the land and the produce, the list can go on. That’s why it’s important to know your farmer and ask questions.

When you’re a farmer, you’re essentially one with nature. Meaning, you deal with whatever Mother Nature serves up, good or bad. With the introduction of GMO seeds and crops, these companies can essentially ‘play God’ and promise bigger produce and higher yields, especially those in poorer countries. But, bigger is definitely not better – not for you, the farmer, your ego, or the environment.

All around the world people are actively protesting to raise awareness about GMO – the March Against Monsanto is one example. But is a protest the best way to get the message across? In Thailand, the answer was no, and it changed my perspective entirely.

“We don’t protest about GMO. The other day, the Prime Minister [Thailand] wanted to make up a contract with the Monsanto Company to let GMO come to Thailand. Here we don’t fight. We don’t protest. What we do is really beautiful; we just ask all the people who own a restaurant and all the people that don’t agree with GMO, to just bring food. Different people with different kinds of food, and anyone can come to eat the food for free. You tell them this is non-GMO food. We don’t protest. I don’t like protests. But, I like to have people eat, enjoy the food and give them education – that is more important, we don’t protest. If you protest there’s violence. If you give people food, people will come, be happy and have free food. And you’re like ‘shit, there’s no meat, everything’s organic and non-GMO’. So, they get it. Then we give people education about GMO food. Now we plan to do it again and again.”

[Yao Chookong]

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When it’s usually a battle of who can shout the loudest, this made a lot more sense. A silent, poetic, beautiful, insightful conversation. Using the simple and honest sharing of food, real food, without preservatives, additives and nonsense to teach (and not preach). Cooking is not supposed to be an angry act, so why should we protest about food?  I think it’s brilliant.

That’s the beauty of travelling and this edible adventure – you get to learn from other countries and cultures, observe, collaborate and be inspired. And no matter where we were from, we were connected by the same food philosophy and belief – that everyone deserves ‘good, clean and fair’ food. I’m looking forward to replicating this silent conversation in the summer.

So, people of WordPress – make rotis, not riots. Let’s vote with our fork.

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