Activists championing organic foods have found support among preppers. They're sympathetic to the "government is a conspiracy and corporations are evil" idea. But what really made preppers into anti-GMO food activists is their desire to have a healthy post-apocalyptic lifestyle.
(Photo: Destination America)
Yes, the preppers, have gone green. You can get all sorts of advice from blogs like "The Organic Prepper" and "The Sustainable Prepper." And there is a thriving cottage industry of wholesome prepper products. At Amazon, you can purchase the "Survival Seed Doomsday Preppers Kit Non-GMO Emergency Seed Supply With Extra Protein."
If you're looking for a "survival seed vault," then Texas Ready promises you "the finest non-GMO, non-hybrid heirloom seed banks on the market." Or you can purchase Liquid Aminos ("a great alternative to soy sauces which are mostly GMO") at the "Happy Preppers" website. (Their motto: "We believe that the happiest people on earth will be the ones who've prepared should the unthinkable happen. Take it from us, the happiest emergency preparedness planners on the planet, that you can thrive with a positive mental attitude.")
By all accounts, it was a festive atmosphere at the Arizona Prepper Fest this past March. In the official Prepper Fest program, you could find out how to join a group called the "Oath Keepers" who will "mobilize to protect this country from a tyrannical takeover…. if and when the dreaded 'executive orders' that are poised to be implemented at the president's whim are launched." Alongside this you could read a manifesto, "Conspiracy Theory vs. Coincidence Theory: The GMO Healthcare Crisis," which declared:
The facts are clear that our country is facing a growing health care crisis of epic proportion with dramatically increasing rates of all manner of illness including Autism, Cancer, Celiac Disease, Diabetes, Crohn's Disease, Intestinal Track Disorders, Immune System Disorders, Ulcerative Colitis and Obesity to name just a few. Most all of these disease rates began to increase around the time that Monsanto introduced Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) into our food supply.
Many preppers are accused of being "conspiracy theorists" and their concerns are often branded by the media as not substantiated yet the media typically does little if any research into the concerns before dismissing them.
Anyone with questions about GMOs was directed to speak with Jared Keen. He's not a prepper, but an anti-GMO activist, the founder of Plant Based Nation and the director of Right To Know Arizona. Situated at a table in the Prepper Fest pavilion, Keen was soliciting signatures to get an initiative mandating the labeling of GMO foods on the state ballot.
A reporter from the Arizona Republic who was at the pavilion, described the scene:
"There's never been an issue where you have the nexus of government inaction, corporate inaction and a political system that's unstable," Keen told a man from Flagstaff in a camouflage cap who stopped by his table. "This is your chance to make a stand and be part of this."
His words were punctuated by the sound of electric stun guns being sold at the table opposite him.
The petition drive is a long shot, Keen acknowledges. Still, he believes the effort is worth it. "If this does not make it onto the ballot," he said, "we are (still) being effective at educating a massive amount of people."
Keen collected only about half of the 172,000 signatures he needed. But preppers are doing their part elsewhere: soliciting signatures, pushing for local laws to declare their community GMO-crop free, boycotting farmers who grow GMO plants, and joining in protests against GMO corporations, like Monsanto.
Given the anti-GMO movement's conspiratorial tone and its emphasis on healthier living through self-reliance, it's not hard to see why it resonates among the preppers.
But, for the preppers, there is an added dimension to this issue. Remember, these folks are certain that the end of civilization is coming—and they see GMOs as a direct threat to their plans to be the last men, women and children standing.
Here are examples of what some preppers believe about GMOs:
GMOs could cause downfall of civilization, but leave no survivors
"The End Of The World As We Know It may not be the result of a horrific natural disaster or act of terrorism from overseas," warns the Organic Prepper. "It may be as simple as pollen floating from one field to contaminate the next one, until we are starving to death or dying of cancer amidst a bounty of succulent-looking, fresh-from-the-farm poison."
GMOs are the means by which the government will suspend the constitution and declare martial law
Why rely on jack-booted thugs, black helicopters and executive orders when you can cause a national crisis, incapacitate citizens and cull the population—just by inserting toxins and viruses into the food supply?
"Think about it. It's an easy way for the government to kill off people," says Francine Romesburg, a prepper and a facilitator of the GrassRoots Tea Party Activists of Glendale, AZ. "Our government is trying to kill us through foods, and we're just trying to find out about it and they're trying to keep it from us."
GMOs cause infertility
Planning to repopulate the world? Think again, warn junk science articles, such as one on the Happy Prepper website: "Feeding your kids GMO products, such as the big brand name cornflakes, could render them infertile! If you want grand-babies, then you simply must become a label reader and start looking for the NON-GMO project seal. Buy only organic fruits and veggies, as well as only grass-fed beef (because other cattle have been fed GMO corn). In studies of animals, such as hamsters who were fed GMO soy products, they lost the ability to have offspring by the third generation."
(Also: "Accelerated aging has occurred in the testing of animals. Naturally, it is possible that the same effect could happen to humans.") Naturally.
GMOs will contaminate our crops
One prepper explained his rationale for trying to prevent the spread of GMO crops:
I have seen little if nothing mentioned about an initiative in my little community that would ban GMO crops within the boundaries of our island county. And the truth is, while there are few places in the world that could remain effectively GMO-free, the San Juan Islands in Washington State is one of them.
If passed in November, an initiative measure in our county will prohibit the cultivation of crops, livestock and other organisms that have had genes intentionally modified in a way that did not occur by mating or natural recombination. We would essentially become a safe zone for non-GMO crops which in turn will preserve our ability to grow and control our food supply for years to come.
Do not underestimate this contamination issue because it presents a huge dilemma to those who prefer or who must grow their own food.
As far as I can tell, the only way to eliminate these issues is to grow non-GMO crops and to prevent our neighbors crops from contaminating our own gardens and fields.
GMOs use "Terminator" biotechnology
It's true that Monsanto has developed a "Terminator" gene that would render crops sterile. But it has never brought a Terminator seed to market and has pledged not to do so.
Yet, time and again, prepper blogs and websites warn that planting GMO seeds would leave them without food within a year. Some believe that there's a hidden Terminator virus waiting to become active. Another simply declares, "Most seed companies are now selling only 'Terminator' seeds which have been genetically modified and will not reproduce themselves."
The only junk science, conspiracy theory that I didn't come across is that GMOs could unleash a zombie virus. Because, after all, that would be crazy.