(The following is an open letter to the Boulder County commissioners.) I am a Boulder chiropractor, live in Boulder County and have attended two Boulder County cropland policy meetings which invited public comment concerning GMO agriculture on Boulder County publicly owned open space land. The first meeting was early in the 2000s, and the last was Thursday night. Both of these meetings were very similar, except Thursday’s meeting was bigger and there were proportionately more people attending this meeting from the agricultural community. Also, before Thursday night, the sustainable agriculture community had presented the commissioners their own sustainable agriculture policy that converts Boulder County open space farmland into organic farms dedicated to feeding the people of Boulder County rather than growing chemical-based GMO cash crop exports.
Both sides of the GMO issue were presented in the same way as before. The farmers said GMOs are safe and effective, and their suppliers are good guys that are helping them control weeds, increase their yields and feed the world. The sustainable agriculture community said GMOs have not been proven safe and effective by anyone, and that GMO suppliers are known, unethical business giants that own government and agricultural education, prevent independent GMO research, and themselves, have not demonstrated GMOs are safe and effective.
The arguments for and against GMO agriculture has not progressed any over that last 10 years or so, except Boulder County residents are expressing more interest in sustainable, Boulder County agriculture. Also, the Boulder County farmers are now recruiting other farmers from outside Boulder County to help them stand up for GMOs.
If you are planning to finalize the Boulder County Open Space Cropland Policy any time soon, I suggest you consider the interests of your constituents rather than the interests of a small number of GMO farmers. Otherwise, you will be trading the good faith of the majority of your constituents for the friendships and other benefits you have developed in the GMO and non-sustainable agriculture industry and their lobby. If you could delay finalization of the cropland policy for just a bit longer, I suggest you take matters into your own hands and perform the due diligence that should have been done 10 years ago and certainly before Thursday night’s meeting. Contact the GMO suppliers and ask them for independent scientific research proving that their agricultural products are safe and effective. Ask for animal and human feeding studies, and environmental studies. Ask them to produce scientific proof that the long-term increasing concentrations of agricultural chemicals within our environment from the continued release of these chemicals into our soil, water, air and food, will not poison us, our soil, our water and our air. Ask the people of Boulder County to help you compile your list of questions.
I am sure they would appreciate your efforts to research the ethics of the GMO industry and the citizenship grade you give them on their report card. Please make sure the GMO and chemical-based agriculture research you receive is good enough for you and for the people of the county before continuing the county’s current non-sustainable agricultural practices or adopting any non-sustainable cropland policy.
Otherwise, please adopt a sustainable agriculture policy that is consistent with your agricultural mission policy: “To promote and provide for sustainable agriculture in Boulder County for the natural, cultural and economic values it provides.” Ethically, the burden-of-proof that GMO and non-sustainable agricultural practices are safe and effective should not belong to the sustainable agriculture community, but it belongs to those who authorize GMO and non-sustainable agricultural practices. In Boulder County, this burden-of-proof belongs to you.
The liabilities from continuing Boulder County’s non-sustainable agricultural practices without due diligence belong to you. The liabilities for approving a non-sustainable cropland policy without performing this due diligence belong to you. At this time, with the growing collective awareness on corporate and political corruption and the concerns Boulder County residents are expressing about Boulder County open space farmland agricultural practices, I suspect there will be considerable assets and liabilities for you to consider. Please, let’s get big money and big politics out of this debate and act in the best interest of Boulder County and its residents.
Thomas D. Groover/Superior
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