what’s in your cupboard?

Questioning the health and environmental impact of genetically engineered (GE) foods is something that has been on the radar for many people since  Greenpeace launched  it’s first campaign about it two decades ago.  The shift towards organic farming and more natural foods on the shelves in major cities and small towns across North America is undeniable.

That is why I was shocked to read in the back pages of Spring 2010 Health Action magazine that Canada has the dubious distinction of one  of the largest producers of GE crops in the developed world.


Up to 70% of the food on Canadian grocery store shelves may contain genetically modified foods, with the most common crops being corn, soy, canola, and cotton. These four ingredients are used as cooking oils and therefore hidden from many people who think they are buying otherwise natural or healthy foods.

The good news is the popularity of organic foods has increased 20% per year, every year for at least the past five years.  According to Canadian Organic Growers, and the Organic trade Association, more then 1.3 million acres of land in Canada is currently growing organic crops. with another 118,500 acres in transition to certification. 41% of the organic foods sold today are in conventional grocery stores and amounts to $2 billion a year industry, with sings that this number will only increase in the future.

veggies from royal city farmers market fall 09

veggies from royal city farmers market fall 09

According to a recent poll in the Globe and Mail newspaper, the number one  reason  Canadian choose organic food is “family health” with the environment being the second most important reason.

Whatever the reason, more people are choosing organic foods in the grocery store, supporting farmers markets, growing in their own backyards and community gardens,  and paying more for what was once upon a time just a potato.  Now with it’s “organic” certification, it has become more, it is a statement and a way of life, for  the life of the planet.

Maybe one day the organic distinction will disappear and we will all believe there is really only one way to grow sustainable crops. What starts out as novelty will eventually lead to commonality, we are moving in the right direction.

Every day  we choose the future we want to create.

GE image from the Greenpeace website

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