Follow the progress of Baker Heritage Farms as we build a small acreage farm from scratch using traditional methods with minimal capital.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
BHF Seed Policy
Since the first commercial cultivation of
genetically modified plants in 1996, they have been modified to be tolerant to
herbicides, to be resistant to virus damage, and to produce an insecticide.
The Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary defines
Genetically Modified as “having had its
genetic structure changed artificially, so that it will produce more fruit or
not be affected by disease.” Genetically Modified is defined in Life
Sciences & Allied Applications – Botany as, “denoting or derived from an organism whose D.N.A. has been altered for
the purpose of improvement or correction of defects: genetically modified food.”
In agriculture, genetically engineered crops are
created to possess several desirable traits, such as resistance to pests,
herbicides, or harsh environmental conditions, improved product shelf life,
increased nutritional value, or production of valuable goods such as drugs.
These are seeds that have had their genetic make-up
altered by replacing certain genes with genes from a totally different species,
with the hope that the resulting plants will now have certain ‘desirable’
characteristics. This is only possible with human intervention, and there are
many concerns about both the ethics and the results of the GM process.
Genetically Modified crops are involved in
controversies with respect to whether food produced from such crops is safe and
whether these crops are needed to address the world’s food needs.
Baker Heritage Farms does not and will
not purchase, plant, or endorse Genetically Modified seeds for any
reason. Our personal beliefs, as expressed in our Mission Statement, include
our policy of striving “to maintain an effective agricultural system where
plant, livestock, and poultry production maintains the natural ecological
cycles, conserves energy, and reduces chemical input to a minimum. Genetically
Modified crops violate the basics of this covenant.
Baker Heritage Farms follows the United Methodist Social
Principles for Food Safety, including “support(ing)
policies that protect the food supply and that ensure the public’s right to
know the content of the foods they are eating” (UMBOD 160). In addition, we
join the call for controls on the biological safety for all foodstuffs intended
for human consumption and urge the removal from the market of foods
contaminated with potentially hazardous levels of pesticides, herbicides, or
fungicides. We also support clear labeling for all food products and oppose
weakening the standards for organic foods.
We do not believe that genetically modified crops
have been around long enough, or tested rigorously enough, to ensure that they
are safe for human consumption. It is our personal belief that the produce from
genetically altered and/or "treated" seeds is not healthy for the
environment or us. We believe that human hands should not alter what God has
Heirloom is defined by the Merriam-Webster
dictionary as “a horticulture variety
that has survived for several generations, usually due to the efforts of
private individuals”. An heirloom vegetable is an open-pollinated cultivar,
or cultivated plant, that is not used in large-scale modern agriculture.
Because heirloom varieties are unique seeds that
have not been genetically modified or crossed into other strains there are no
specific features that they share except that they have usually become
accustomed to their local growing area’s conditions over the year.
Not only are heirloom varieties usually very tasty,
but they also promote genetic diversity and are not prone to diseases that can
wipe out entire varieties of homogenized vegetables.
Heirloom fruits and vegetables are unique plant
varieties, which are genetically distinct from the commercial varieties
popularized by industrial agriculture.
By growing heirloom fruits and vegetables, Baker
Heritage Farms is helping to preserve genetic diversity by ensuring that these
unique plant varieties are not completely replaced by the few commercial
varieties that are mass-produced by industrial agriculture. We strive to produce
delicious, unique, and interesting kinds of fruits, vegetables, and grains that
add color and flavor to meals that everyone can enjoy.
USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as “organic food … produced
by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of
soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic
food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made
with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing
purpose of Baker Heritage Farms includes providing unaltered, healthy and
wholesome food products in a safe and healthy environment while being good
stewards and maintaining our lands for future generations. It is our opinion
that we cannot comply with our stated purpose using commercially produced seed
that has been supplemented or modified for solely commercial purposes,
including modifications or supplements that are designed solely for improving
appearance, production levels, transporting, or extending the life of the end product.
Baker Heritage Farms will always strive to purchase and plant organically
certified seed, this will not always be possible. Organic farmers are allowed
to use non-organically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock to produce
an organic crop if there is no organic seed variety commercially available.
However, a good faith effort is required to locate organic seed. As Heirloom
seeds are not readily available, Baker Heritage Farms may, on occasion, be
forced to plant non-organically certified heirloom seed. Heirloom seed, by
definition, is not genetically modified and is untreated. Anytime
non-organically certified seed is used, our records will indicate the sources
researched for certified organic seed, and the reasons this seed could not be
obtained. Baker Heritage Farms promises to make every effort to acquire
organically certified seed.
will be less of a problem once we have determined what crops will be
successful, and can plan our crops to avoid cross-pollination, we will begin saving
seed and using only seed grown by Baker Heritage Farms.
All crops grown by Baker Heritage Farms are
non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented, and will be chosen based on
their natural suitability to our region.