Responsibility — Ducking, Grasping, Evading


Hodgson Mill was one of the first companies to be non-GMO verified.

Hodgson Mill was one of the first companies to be non-GMO verified.

I often express the opinion that we must support local small businesses or they won’t be there when we need them. If we typically stop in, see what they carry, then go home and order the same “stuff” online for a small discount or for the purpose of avoiding the evil sales tax, then we are a big part of the economic troubles this country faces. One by one, small businesses are disappearing. We all rail against Wal-Mart as the big monster that pays its employees so little that they must apply for SNAP if they want to feed their children. We then stop in a Dunkin’ Donuts four to five times a week for that inexpensive cup of flavored coffee, breezing in and out, not even considering the circumstances of the person who made that coffee. Did you know that Dunkin’ Donuts pays their employees minimum wage to start and then depends on high turnover to keep wages low?

We all love to rail against the huge conglomerates that outsource jobs to third world countries so that they can make a buck and avoid paying taxes here in the United States. What is the difference between those CEOs and us? Absolutely nothing. Just because we aren’t rich doesn’t mean we aren’t guilty or complicit in the economic woes our country faces. The Wal-Mart mentality has infected us all: we want a lot of “stuff” for less money. And nowadays we want that “stuff” shipped to our front doors in boxes with big smiles, because we are so special. We have been duped.

Homemade organic whole wheat flatbread cooked in my Made-in-the-USA Lodge cast iron skillet.

Homemade organic whole wheat flatbread cooked in my Made-in-the-USA Lodge cast iron skillet.

Grasping at straws, we blame others for the economy. The Republicans blame big spending Democrats. The Democrats blame the 1%. The Libertarians blame both Republicans and Democrats decrying regulation and big government. The average people blame the average people of the other big party. The blame is thrown all around like a hot potato. No one wants to hold that potato and let it cool in their hands, thinking that if they stop and look at it they will get burned. Even worse, they will get the blame. Well, I have news for all of you, and me and US: it is everyone’s fault. We have been seduced by shiny trinkets, little mirrors and beads, just as the Native Americans were seduced to give up their land and freedom. The lower and middle-income people of this country have been seduced by “stuff.” Lots and lots of stuff. Useless stuff. Stuff to hold our stuff. Stuff that shines. Stuff that glitters. Stuff that makes us feel oh so special. Stuff that makes our stuff seem special.

How does this relate to being GMO free and healthy and having happy children? How many of us avoided GMOs over the Halloween holiday? I confess that I bought one bag of candy, and it was not organic or GMO-free. I caved. I was seduced by the memories of Halloweens past as a child, enjoying that big bag of loot. I did a quick grocery store run last night. My 13 year old has been craving Crispix cereal. I decided I would walk down the cereal aisle, find that cereal and at least read the label (I haven’t been down the cereal aisle in over 2 years). Oh, I didn’t get far. Ingredients listed rice, no problem. It went downhill from there. Sugar is made from GMO sugar beets. Then milled corn which is GMO corn, guaranteed. I stopped there. Nope. We will continue to go without cold cereal. The final nail in the coffin is that Crispix is made by Kellogg’s which I boycott because of their fight against GMO labeling initiatives. While they manufacture and ship non-GMO versions of all of our cereals to Europe and then sell them for less than the US versions, they scream and yell about how costly it will be to indicate that the cereals they sell here contain GMO ingredients. Nope. I am not supporting that company by giving them my money. The boycott continues.

Reading labels is important.

Reading labels is important.

We are so brainwashed by advertisers and seductive companies that make us feel good about eating crap, food that is killing us. And we embrace it. Sometimes guiltily, but still we embrace it. It makes us feel good. It makes us something. It makes us a big part of the problem.

It is time to stop blaming big corporations and politicians for everything wrong with this country. It is time to take responsibility for what has happened in the United States. When you buy cheap “stuff” made in China, you are supporting the downfall of this country. Now, I’m not saying we can never buy something made in China. There is a good chance that if we make that commitment we might not find a necessary item when it is needed. But, and this is a big but, I made a commitment to buy using my conscience two years ago. The big plus to this commitment is that I now end up with much better quality items, and a lot less “stuff.” I do buy items made in the USA every chance I get. I rarely buy anything at Target because they carry fewer items made in the USA; most of their store brands are made in China.

When grocery shopping, label reading is imperative. Know how to spot GMO ingredients and do not buy those products. The next step is to take 5 minutes to go online to the corporate website for that product, click Contact Us, let the company know that you will not buy their food products until they source non-GMO ingredients, and move on with your day. Taking the time to communicate your demands as a customer is vital. You are breaking the cycle of gullible consumer sucked in by their crafty marketing schemes. You communicate that you are much too intelligent to be fooled by their campaign ads that lie about how costly it will be to label GMO ingredients.

It is time for Americans to take responsibility for the condition of our nation. I am one of you, and I am trying to be involved, discerning, and not a blind consumer. I will vote out any politician who did not support labeling laws. I will not support, with my purchasing power, companies that do not source non-GMO ingredients. I will not buy gifts for my children this holiday season that are cheap and without true lasting value (I am knitting each of my children wool socks made from yarn I purchased at a local yarn shop that hand dyes local fibers — my boys asked for these for Christmas). Let us all decide and work at being a part of the solution to the economic woes our country is facing. We are powerful because we are the consumers. Shop locally whenever possible. Gift thoughtfully, supporting local businesses and companies that employ Americans. Wield your power wisely. You are powerful!

My next post will focus on reading labels as you navigate through the holidays. This can be one of the most difficult times to avoid GMOs.

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