Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

Search This Blog

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New GMO High Anthocyanin Tomato.

Just thought I'd give those into the GMO issue the heads up. Over on our message boards ( as well as all around the net on blog sites and garden related message boards there is an ongoing hot debate about a recent press release detailing the creation and possible future release of a high Anthocyanin producing "purple" tomato. The issues at hand are many within the gardening community, at the top of the list is why such a creation is of any importance and how this will affect the "blue" tomato currently being bred by Jim Meyers and his students at OSU who have used traditional plant breeding methods to come up with a high Anthocyanin producing tomato fruit over the past several years. Check it out in the "Soapbox" forum of and leave your thoughts.

Here are my thoughts on the subject (to be expanded upon shortly)

I am currently and probably for the foreseeable future anti GMO. My reasoning is thus; too much power in too few hands with too few independent tests searching for actual specific side effects of gene splicing, an art I might add that is not present whatsoever in the record of natural agricultural history as opposed to spontaneous crosses and man made crosses.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand there could be merits to this "fast food" version of plant breeding, I get that, but I also know that those who have the power to make such decisions very rarely have positive intentions in mind and instead have money regardless of consequence in mind. For example see any of the following, Monsanto, Big Pharma, Big Box Stores, Big Government.

The problem I have with this particular "creation" is that there is
A. No sport in what was done.

By this I mean that it isn't like other natural sources of Un-monopolized, anthocyanin producing crops don't exist. See blueberries, purple carrots, purple flour, flint, and sweet corns, purple peas and so on, which brings me to part B.

B. A traditionally bred alternative already in the pipeline

In many ways I can see this hurting Jim Meyers research at OSU. I mean this guy has worked his butt off on the P-20 lines and here somebody just bypasses the work of one of the few remaining land grant schools doing actual plant breeding work without consideration for the novel and appreciable idea that Jim Meyers had. I'm sure the reason that so few land grant schools still exist with plant breeding and experimentation arms is due to the monopolization of agriculture by big business, most recently those dealing in GMO's and and big PHarma. Couple this with the fact that this new blue tomato will probably be PVP'ed and you've just signed the death warrant for the OSU project.

Now, the reason there is so much opposition by others to GMO's?

Probably because very little of any positive developments have come out of this technology since it was first implemented and most likely because they have been lied to so many times by the big companies of the world about what is "safe" and "unsafe" that there is no reason to any longer trust these folks. It's the boy who cried wolf story if you will.

Seeds are still available, scroll down to order and help fund the ongoing research by Hip-Gnosis Seed Development :)

1 comment:

Rebsie Fairholm said...

I completely agree with you. It's impossible to evaluate GMOs outside the context of big business, who have put millions of dollars into this technology and will stop at nothing to get a return on their investment, especially if they can wriggle out of responsibility for any harm they cause.

I feel very sorry for the OSU team, having their wonderful project snatched out from under them by the GM evangelists who are now claiming the credit for coming up with the idea and trumpeting it as a breakthrough for GM. It's dishonest and misleading and as a Brit I'm ashamed that it's happened in my country.

I would love to see the OSU tomatoes circulated among seed saver gardeners in the UK to deflect some of the stolen glory back where it belongs. Opposition to GMOs in the UK is incredibly high (even trial crops are routinely trashed by activists) so I really can't see the GM version getting a commercial release here in the foreseeable future. By contrast, people would welcome a 'natural' OP version.

I share your concern at the lack of funding for conventional plant breeding. It seems that nobody is interested in promoting the age-old methods because it's too difficult to make quick money from it. Industry is only interested in developing shortcuts which can then be patented. So it increasingly falls to us, the concerned individuals, to breed new plants without funding and to remind ourselves and others why it's so important.