Posted on September 5, 2006

Organic farmers mount opposition to GE crops bill

San Diego County's Slow Food movement concedes genetically altered foods are 'part of our future'

California’s San Diego County has more certified organic farms than any other county in the nation, sowing sales of $28.6 million in 2005.

Members of the slow food movement, including local organic farmers, restaurant owners and chefs, are concerned that legislation that has passed the state’s Assembly could restrict counties’ ability to regulate use and labeling of seeds and nursery stock.

But critics say the state would have too much control over what can be grown, prohibiting the county from the option of banning genetically modified crops.

According to San Diego County’s Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures, of 5,255 farms in the county, around 300, or 6 percent, are certified organic by the government.

Scott Murray, local organic farmer and president of the Slow Food San Diego group, said genetically altered foods are “part of our future,” but that the industry has “gotten ahead of itself,” by not requiring labeling of altered foods as such, according to a report by the San Diego Business Journal.

“My fear is that we may not have tools to control these crops because pollen blows for miles and miles and miles,” said Murray of plants becoming resistant to pesticides, according to the report. “That’s the scary part of letting the genie out of the bottle.”

Of the 100,000-strong membership of the international Slow Food organization, the Slow Food San Diego chapter has 370 members.

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