Metchosin bans genetically modified growing

Organic farmer supports GMO ban to protect his historic produce

  • Nov. 30, 2012 7:00 a.m.

Metchosin farmer Dieter Eisenhawer is pleased the carrot seeds harvested last year will be protected with a new ban on growing genetically modified organisms in Metchosin.

Fermenting seeds covered in goo that once resembled ripe tomatoes and firm cucumbers sit on the window sill of Dieter Eisenhawer’s Metchosin farm house.

For more than two decades Eisenhawer has been growing up to 40 different organic fruits and vegetables on his two-acre farm on Happy Valley Road. At the end of each season, Eisenhawer starts his seed saving process that varies between vegetables including fermenting and drying processes.

No matter how hard Eisenhawer works to keep his organic farm wholesome and true to its name, anyone growing genetically modified organisms nearby could taint his organic legacy.

On Monday, the District of Metchosin banned the growing of all GM0s, causing Eisenhawer to sigh in relief.

“This is largely a symbolic measure,” said Coun. Moralea Milne. “We are not going to check seeds or plants.”

The motion passed bans all GMO plants included vegetables, fruits and herbs in the district. It stemmed from an agricultural advisory committee recommendation.

The only councillor who did not support the motion was Larry Tremblay.

“I don’t think that we can enforce it because of cross-pollenation. There are too many small properties to have a truly organic farm,” Tremblay said. “I am concerned of the liability.”

If a certified organic farm is cross-pollentated with neighbouring GMO pollen, the certified organic farm would lose its status.

“If you are growing a heritage seed and your neighbour has GMO produce that spreads pollen to your seeds, then your seeds are totally unusable for heritage seeds,” Eisenhawer explains.

He has been saving seeds from the same cucumbers for nearly 20 years.

If GMO pollen lands on organic produce and produces new fruit, Eisenhawer said it would be hard to know if the new fruit was genetically modified.

“You would only know if you searched the genetic makeup,” Eisenhawer said, adding 98 per cent of all the seeds planted on his farm are harvested from his previous crops.

His farm was certified organic in 1990 and Eisenhawer calls himself a pioneer of organic farming. He also helped found the Island Organic Producers Association.


The paperwork and licensing fees became too much for Eisenhawer so he stopped certifying in 2006 but continues to grow organic produce.



Just Posted

Major expansion coming to Royal Bay Secondary

Province will build space for 600 more students on same site

Colwood wins Victoria Flower Count for a five-peat

The 43rd annual Flower Count had over three billion blossoms counted in total

Langford fundraiser for kidney disease is a success

Maureen Hobbs thinks B.C. Transplant says it best: “Live life. Pass it on.”

Preschool group helps release fish into Glen Lake

The number of fish released correlates to the number of fish caught per year

Songhees Wellness Centre event immersed in indigenous cuisine and culture

Camosun and Songhees cook together for reconciliation while fundraising for student scholarship fund at March 23 event

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Most Read