Terminate This!

There is something about standing in the middle of a field after most of the crops have been taken in that invites meditation. One afternoon last fall I was out collecting seeds in the field where we grow vegetables for our community vegetable project. It was one of those bright sunny days, with the leaves in full color and the air cool and crisp. Each year my wife and I plant extra crops to use for seeds the following year, and standing there in the rows of broccoli, the full impact of the new world order came home to me, the world order that is reshaping our food supply.

The face of farming is rapidly changing. This has been happening for the past several decades, but like everything else, it is accelerating faster and faster. Many of these changes aren’t in the interest of people or communities. The imminent revolution in seed production is a prime example of what is happening in almost every aspect of farming. For thousands of years farmers have grown their own seeds. But this isn’t the way that Monsanto, the World Bank, and the giant food-distribution corporations envision the future. Instead, they see genetically engineered seeds and a particularly nasty new development people have been calling "terminator" technology.

Terminator technology is an aspect of the new world order of agriculture that—unless people stand up and take notice—will be one of the methods used to control the world’s food supply in the next few years. The U.S. government has been funding research into terminator technology, which could make it impossible for farmers to grow their own seeds. Plant species that have been manipulated this way will be sterile. The seeds produced by the crops will not grow. There is only one purpose for terminator technology: maximizing profits. And right now the U.S. government is on the verge of giving this ability to Monsanto, a corporation rapidly becoming the world’s largest seed company with frightening monopolistic powers.

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 1999
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