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

Free firework safety courses coming to the West Shore right before Halloween

No permit? You could be fined anywhere between $100 and $10,000

Bonfires allowed in Saanich for $10 but only on Halloween night

Residents can purchase permits at any Saanich fire station

Fairfield-Gonzales residents aim to establish senior care phone line

The Fairfield-Gonzales Village would allow seniors living alone to have a direct line to resources

Vendors open doors to new futures at Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair

More tham two dozen employers, educators signed on for Victoria event

Persons Day to be marked with literary readings in Sidney

Peninsula authors to read from their new books relating to women and courageous journeys, Oct. 18

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Most Read