GMOs unwanted in Telkwa

Village of Telkwa Councillor Rick Fuerst hopes genetically modified organisms never make their way to Telkwa.

  • Apr. 18, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Genetically modified organisms are slowly but surely making their way into our everyday lives, but Village of Telkwa Councillor Rick Fuerst hopes they never make their way to Telkwa.

The discussion around GMO’s began following a presentation to council by Marlene Thimer, owner of Happy Pig Organic Farm.

“As an organic farmer this issue is of great importance to me as my ability to farm organically can forever be altered by pollen arriving at my farm from an adjacent farm that may chose to use GMO crops,” Thimer said.

“My biggest concern is that no GMO seeds have ever been thoroughly tested to ensure that they are safe for human or animal consumption in the long term, and that once in place they are impossible to remove and would contaminate the genetic structure of natural species.

“This already happened in Saskatchewan with the introduction of GMO Canola which wiped out a huge market for non-GMO canola in Europe.

“Now almost all farmers in Saskatchewan grow GMO canola as the market believes all canola from Saskatchewan to be contaminated with GMO genes.”

Fuerst has taken a stand against GMOs for several reasons.

The use of GMOs, Fuerst said goes against the principles outlined in Telkwa’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and Official Community Plan.

“It’s a concern with our food supply, especially our local food supply.

“It’s a bit of a Pandora’s Box with these GMOs, a lot of the bigger companies are forcing some of the bigger farmers to buy their seeds.

Of concern was the potential for cross-pollination of non-GMO crops by GMO crops.

“GMO pollination doesn’t respect boundaries,” Telkwa Councillor Rimas Zitkauskas said.

For that reason, Zitkauskas suggested Telkwa send letters to the Regional District Bulkley Nechacko and area municipalities seeking similar commitments pass similar resolutions.

“I’m just worried that the health aspects of GMOs haven’t been sufficiently looked at as far as I’m concerned.

“They may be deemed safe in five to 10 years down the road, but until that time comes I’m just a little concerned about our local food supply.

“It’s something that seems to be important to the residents of Telkwa and the Bulkley Valley.

“Trying to protect it as best we can until we know more information comes forward is important to me.

“It’s a token of support for our local farmers.

“I hope the regional district and some of the other municipalities follow us along this route to make sure our local food  is kept local and that our food supply isn’t cross-pollinated or tainted by GMOs until more research is done.

For her part, Thimer was very excited to hear Telkwa passed the resolution.

“Hats off to the progressive community and local government of the Village of Telkwa, in recognizing the importance of this issue is another Telkwa first,” she said.