Reflections on a conversation with Murielle

I spoke with Murielle from France last week.

She decided to immigrate to Canada with her husband and two young  kids a couple of years ago.

Having similarly done the same journey from Western Europe 4 years ago, we were comparing notes….  I returned from Europe with my French husband, having lived in Barcelona, London and Florence for 13 years. Murielle is from French Catalunya with a parent from Basque Country, so we had a lot in common in terms of where we spent time. Moreover, I recorded Michael Greenacre’s Millenium Song in Catalan, Occitan, French, and Basque, Murielle historical languages

As it invariably does for me nowadays, talk turned to food and GMOs.

Murielle said “Once I got here to Canada it took me while to learn that everything that I took for granted in Europe was reversed.  Food wise, that is.  In the supermarket we assume everything is safe unless -”

“Produit traite!” I jumped in. And showed her my blog post where I came across “Produit Traite” (Treated Product) whilst travelling in France this summer. It also took me a while after returning from Europe to learn to distrust “conventional” food.  I discovered that N. Americans dont know what we are actually eating.  GMOs lurking in over 85% of processed foods just isn’t on our labels. “Natural” claims by themselves are even worse since they don’t mean diddly squat but lull the consumer into a false sense of security.

Murielle concurred that unless it’s marked “Treated”, a European automatically assumes food isn’t toxic.  Here it’s the opposite. Unless it’s labelled “organic” it has toxic inputs. Unless it’s labelled “organic” I don’t trust it to feed to my children. Neither does Murielle.  Heavily subsidized, GMOs appear “cheaper” at least in the short run.  But what have they been grown with?!

The chemicals they put in and on our food here in North America include neurotoxins, carcinogens, and hormone disruptors.  Even in trace amounts that adds up over a few years.  Even the US President’s cancer panel  from 2010 says “. . . the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.” ‘The report goes on to say that our government agencies are “failing to carry out their responsibilities” and concludes with specific recommendations for overhauling our nation’s flawed chemicals management system.’ From

I envision a North America where we can buy food for our kids and know what’s actually in it. I envision a North American reality where we can go into any old store and buy safe food without second -guessing the labels. I want the governments to protect us citizens from the chemical onslaught.  Like Murielle, I want to feel safe in the typical grocery store.  I can see nothing more important than feeding our future, our children, healthily and safely.

And I see this happening!  I see community gardens popping up all over.  Sterile lawns transformed into productive ecosystems with bees buzzing.  And a return to the soil to leave the Earth better than we found it.

Do you see what I see?

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