Ask Amber: Are GMO’s “Bad” or “Good”?

When you hear “GMO”, what comes to mind? Three simple little letters can say so darn much.

Ye olde Wikipedia describes ‘em as: A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.”

But does that mean they’re good? Bad? Something in-between? There is so much contradicting info out there, it’s hard to know what’s actually up with GMOs.

So we thought we’d reach out to grow-it-yo’self expert Amber Allen, who inspires her community through her IG account @thefairlylocalfamily, all about living an organic life in a realistic, maintainable way. Amber gave us her insight into when GMO’s are A-OK in her household and why she chooses to live that organic, locally grown life whenever she can.

First off, are you one-hundo-p local, organic, Non-GMO?

Oh, definitely not! There are so many things to factor when you’re looking to shop and eat mostly Non-GMO or organic. Budget and accessibility is a big one. I’m a mom and our family has expenses, so whenever possible we will choose Non-GMO or organic food. And we built our garden so we can easily grow our own produce. However, every family is different and sometimes exceptions have to be made. It’s about progress, not perfection.

What inspired you to say N-O to GMOs?

For me, it was easy. I have Crohn’s disease, and switching to a plant-based and primarily organic, Non-GMO diet helped ease my symptoms. But then, when I looked deeping into it, I couldn’t deny that it was a better choice for my family and the planet. So my motivation has shifted from personal health to protecting our planet.

There’s a lot that we don’t know about GMOs, and that is what scares me about them. What aren’t we being told? We do know that traditional farming has deep roots within human history. Why mess with something that is perfectly suited for us? It’s something I feel good about when feeding my family.

Are GMOs ever okay in your house? What are your thoughts on them?

Hahaha, well, I am a real person, like anyone else out there. I have educated myself with regards to GMOs and I understand the difference between Organic and Non-GMO foods – with that in mind, like anyone else, I have a budget and I do not have access to all organic foods where I live. So in a sense, yes, GMOs are allowed in our home, but mostly due to necessity. I do my best by buying organic when I can and avoiding GMOs when possible. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about always doing your best.

How would you define the difference between “organic” and “non-GMO”?

Organic means that the product doesn’t contain any pesticides, insecticides, solvents or additives. Non-GMO means that the product wasn’t made with anything genetically modified, but it doesn’t mean it’s organic.

Do you think organic, Non-GMO food tastes better?

Absolutely – raspberries! Organic raspberries and blueberries taste sweeter. Doesn’t even have to know, could do a blind taste test. And then the next level is what you grow yourself. You can taste the sun, as you pick it fresh off the vine.

What tips would you give for someone looking to live more Non-GMO / Organic?

Take it slow. Follow simple guidelines, like the Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen. No, those lists aren’t perfect. But it’ll give you somewhere to start. Developing different habits are a big part of a sustainable lifestyle change. If you have a farmers market near you, talk directly to your farmers about their growing practices. And remember, you don’t have to do something 100% to be totally successful at it. Just do your best with the resources you have. If you make changes you can maintain, it’ll have a bigger positive impact in your life and within your family.

Sounds pretty doable to us! What do you think? Are you living that No-GMO life? Send us your top tips via Instagram DM or email for keeping it clean in your pantry (or fridge). Or are you for the future of GMOs? We’d love to know why! Let’s keep these conversations going as we work together to protect this big ‘ol planet we all call home!

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