Searching for the Road to Sustainability in the Land of GMO

You are probably as concerned about the continuing release of GMO crops as I am. Where will it end? Not only will our food supply be tainted, we run the risk of losing the diversity of many varieties of each of the crops they “improve”. What impact will this creepy food have on honey bees, birds and other wildlife? Will Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” become a reality?

Limit Our Meat Consumption
My uppermost concern is my own food because that is within my control to protect. The ultimate goal is to raise as much feed as possible on our land. Because our land is poor, we must resolve to consume less meat so we have to raise fewer animals. We will be eating a lot more casseroles, soups and stews and fewer roasts and chops. As traditional Catholics, we don’t eat meat on Friday and will probably include another meatless day in the week. I need to know exactly on how many animals we will raise each year.

Breed Selection
Avoiding GMOs will have an impact on which breeds of animals we select. No more big, commercial hogs, sheep or chickens. We need to seek out the more primitive, less industrialized breeds that will do well on a diet that is free of alfalfa, corn and soy. The other alternative is to find suppliers of non-GMO feed. The few sources I checked were out of my price range.

I had kept some of my larger sheep so if the Shetland x Blue Faced Leicester experiment was a flop, I could resume prior practices. Sadly, I will not be keeping them and probably not the replacement ewes. They really need alfalfa or grain supplementation to thrive. We may end up raising Shetlands because of their ability to thrive on grass hay alone. They are also better suited to our poor pasture land. Less hay will be purchased because they are easy keepers.The microscopic lamb chops will not be a disappointment since we aren’t eating chops any longer.

No more Cornish X Frankenbirds. They have been selected to consume vast quantities of food and to not move around much. We’ve settled on the more primitive, less spoiled Buckeye chicken because of their ability to thrive on a pasture based system. They will be fed  whole grains and no soy or corn. The protein will come from field peas, insects and rodents.

Each year we buy a few feeder pigs that are crosses of industrialized breeds. They grow well on standard hog food that contains corn and soy. I’m not sure how they would do on pasture and an alternative ration. In our search for a pasture breed, we are looking closely at American Guinea Hogs and Asian Heirloom Hogs aka Pot Bellied Pigs. They are small breeds that do well on pasture and hay. The small size makes them easier to manage, they eat less feed and don’t root as deeply. Of course they need food in addition to grass, but corn makes them too fat. Once again, field peas can supply the protein.

Are you as concerned about the GMO trend as I am? What practices will you be implementing to avoid GMOs and conserve diversity in crops and animals?

Further Reading

The Gmo Trilogy And Seeds of Deception Set by Jeffrey M. Smith

The World According to Monsanto by Marie-Monique Robin 



Searching for the Road to Sustainability in the Land of GMO — 11 Comments

  1. There is a great documentary ( well scary, but good info) that you might enjoy. “The Future of our Food”. I’ve linked to it on my blog, and you can watch it online for free. Good for you for recognizing this problem and resolving to fix it!

  2. Good post! I often wonder what to do, since I only have an acre and a half. I know I can’t raise my feed for my animals. I’m hoping I can find someone who doesn’t use GMO seeds but then it’s still not safe. But I do have enough pasture that would sustain chickens. So maybe chickens and vegetables I raise would be my food supply.

  3. Homesteading Quest, thanks for the info on the video. I look forward to watching it.
    Alla, the feed is so problematic. I spent a good deal of time yesterday trying to track down field peas with little success. I think your idea is a fine one. Many of us who are concerned will be eliminating foods from our diets.

  4. I am freaked out as well with all the GMO foods. I have just recently been researching organic and non-GMO foods for my animals. Thanks for that link.

    great post…and i love the potager info from a previous post. I plan to tweak my existing raised bed garden into more of a Potager.

    isn’t it great farming in our fifties?

    happy day!

  5. Glad I found your site! I too am trying to figure out how to raise meat birds and laying hens without soy. What are field peas? Do you grow your own? Just last year we moved our hens in chicken tractors all over our homestead and it worked pretty good but I would love to grow thier feed and get away from purchasing the soy feeds! We tried letting our first batch of hens go completely free range but we lost too many that way. We live in rural mid-Michigan. I am now following your site. Thanks!

  6. Yes, Marcia, farming is great! There is much satisfaction in preparing a meal from ingredients you grew yourself.

    Tammy,it takes a lot of digging to find ingredients to replace the corn and soy. I will post my findings on Monday and hope others will share what works for them.
    You can get field peas in the spring from feed mills and feed stores. They will be selling them for seed, so make certain they haven’t been treated. Where in MI are you? Graham’s in Rosebush sells organic feed that is advertised as non-GMO corn and soy. Pretty pricey stuff.

  7. Wow, Leigh, the contents on that link really set my hair on fire! A calamity looming in the not too distant future, and the implications are widespread. Power and greed are powerful motivators that can blind people to the consequences even to their own families.

  8. Thanks, I look forward to that post on your chicken feed. We live in Montcalm county. I just heard about Graham’s in Rosebush the other day from a fellow farmer. I figured organic feed would be way more than I could afford. One of my goals is to learn how to grow as much of our feeds as we can. One step at a time I guess.

  9. What a seriously awesome post!!! This is so informative! I will be sharing this on my fb page! Thank you for linking up to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways! Warmly, Andrea