The threat of genetic engineering to contaminate native New Mexico chile has emerged as a hot-button issue for many in New Mexico’s grassroots un/Occupy movement. In December 2011, un/Occupy protesters marched in downtown Albuquerque to protect traditional chile. Hundreds of people “like” Occupy Green / Red Chile on Facebook and have joined a boycott against the New Mexico companies who support genetically modified chile. Now a group of “Traditional-Chile Lovers” from Española, NM are petitioning the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Board of Regents to stop the research and development of GE chile at NMSU.
The petition at Change.org says, “Chile is historically, culturally and economically important to New Mexico and Colorado. We have raised crops of chile for hundreds of years in this region. As land-based peoples, our daily lives have centered around our environment. We have sustained ourselves through subsistence living fueled by corn, beans, squash, and chile.”
The petition continues, “We have watched as GE crops in Canada and Mexico have infected non-GE crops of canola and corn … Those who grow traditional chile should not face the same fate of having their crops contaminated through cross-pollination. New Mexico State University must stop the research and development of GE chile in order to protect our traditional chile. We stand together to preserve the heritage, traditions, and culture of this region of the United States. We stand together to protect our Traditional (Native) Chile! We petition the NMSU Board of Regents to STOP the Research and Development of Genetically Engineered Chile, NOW!”
Albuquerque filmmaker Chris Dudley has created a documentary film focused on GMO chile entitled Genetic Chile, a movie about “Genetic Patents” and the unknown health risks in genetically modified food. The film is an in-depth disection of the corporate takeover of the world’s food supply and the resulting increases in hunger, poverty and death. Here is the trailer:
In brief, the background on this issue is that the New Mexico Legislature has funded New Mexico State University (centered in Las Cruces, NM with extensions throughout New Mexico) to research the feasibility of GMO chile. In turn, the New Mexico Chile Association has lobbied for and supports the research and development of GMO chile. While various reports have said that GMO chile is not yet available for sale and production on the commercial market, NMSU could decide to release it at any time — unless traditional-chile lovers rise up to stop it!
Learn more about the issue: Red, Green or GMO? (Santa Fe Reporter) ~ Help Save the New Mexican Chile (Slow Food USA Blog) ~ Save New Mexico Seeds ~ New Mexico Seed Sovereignty Declaration – video / text ~ Genetically Engineered Chile May Ruin Crops, Farmers Say (KOAT) / GMwatch.org / SayNoToGMOs.org / Seeds of Deception / Non-GMO Project / ¡El Tiempo! Nuevo México / Agriculture Implementation, Research & Education