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.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A gmo chilie pepper for New Mexico?

Sometimes I just have moments where I hear something so asinine that my brain slides out of my ear, bounces around on the ground a bit and lets off a litt puff of smoke all before I realize what just happened.

This is one of those instances(from a link Bunkie left on
My local Co-op publishes a monthly news letter that is chock full of information on local food issues. Everything from information on state legislation to updates on the successes of local products.

This month, one of the more disturbing themes was about genetically engineered crops and the lawsuits brought against individual farmers by GE giant Monsanto.The most upsetting part of this article, however, was the disclosure that the NM state legislature has been funding the development of a genetically engineered chile since 2006. New Mexico is a huge chile producer (anyone who has seen Hatch green chile in their supermarket is buying from a town named Hatch in the southern part of the state – at least in theory), and apparently this research is being done on behalf on the NM Chile Association, web site here.
Why is unclear and merits more research.

The really upsetting part of this is noted in the Co-op newsletter, that being that chiles are used so extensively in the state of NM as both food and decor that the potential for contamination is mind blowing. Chile seeds everywhere on ristras and plates all over the state…

Of course, the NM GE chile no doubt does not contain the roundup readiness of Monsanto’s famous grains, and an argument could be made that the act of creating hybrids is crucial to the evolution of agriculture – domestication of wild wheat, etc. However it still makes me nervous, and rightfully so.

In either case, it has certainly inclined me to do more research on the topic. I dislike the idea of a group such as Native Seeds SEARCH going to all the trouble of saving heirloom and historical varieties of chile just to have the state of NM undermine their own agricultural heritage by actively funding a GE crop....

Now, why does that bother me? Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm, about 500-1,000 years of pueblean Native American selections of Chile peppers, that's why.

It's only a matter of time before these peppers oucross with the traditional varieties grown in New Mexico and the four corners area, the center of diversity for the pecular Chile type pepper. If nothing else it's a smack in the face to the Natives of this area and to the hard work of Native Seeds/SEARCH

Though I am stretched to the max on this farm already with preservation and breeding it looks like I will be adding some of Native Seeds great pepper diversity to the collection this year for safeguarding.


jvonrockmann said...

High Hoe, Friend. I just refound and reingaged to Homegrown Goodness. still have to learn to navigate it. I ranch wigglers, brew tonics (teas) and build hoophouses. (high tunnels) In the Pacific Northwest. I may have something to share now and then, but the reads so far have been good. Im dropping this to say If you haven't watched FOOD inc. to do so and encourage others to do so as well. and if you haven't discovered land here for a site full of info. also if you haven't heard of an read Thomas J. Barrett or my favorite George Sheffield Oliver,your missing. yeah their long gone but left more than most will leave now. this may help you to a new understanding about farm raising worms. you'll love it. Happy toiling !! Jamas

Bishops Homegrown said...

Thanks Jamas,

I have indeed watched Food Inc and loved it, others most certainly shuld check it out. Glad to have you here my friend and presume you've been over to the messageboard as well?

I haven't read Thomas J. Barrett or George Sheffield Oliver but will certainly check them out along with the site you left a link to my friend.