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What Program Would You Like To See Presented Next Year?

By Staff | Dec 5, 2017

The Palo Alto Garden Club met at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at The Shores. The meeting was called to order by President, Cynthia Berkland, who led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Garden Club Creed. 19 members answered roll call, “What program would you like to see presented next year?” Several very good suggestions were made by the group.

The program GMO VS. NON-GMO was presented by Cynthia Berkland. Cynthia reminded all of us that farmers have intentionally changed the genetic makeup of the crops they have grown and the livestock they have raised since domestic agriculture began 10,000 years ago. Every fruit, vegetable and grain that is commercially available today has been genetically altered through human intervention and selective breeding. This type of breeding involves crossing thousands of pairs of genes and takes many years. GMOs have been around for about 20 years. This process allows a specific trait found in nature to be transferred from one organism to another. Once a trait has been identified and a specific gene isolated the gene can be transferred to a crop plant. The improved plant is extensively tested to ensure its safety for people, animals and the environment. There are up to three regulatory agencies in the U.S- USDA, EPA and FDA that need to approve a plant before it can be commercialized. GMOs are considered safe. Some GMOs are even saving lives. Since the 1980’s genetic engineering has been used to develop human insulin. Cynthia also shared that there are several vaccines derived from GMO techniques that are preventing a range of diseases including hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio. GMOs can also have a positive impact on the environment. Farmers can produce more food on less land, require fewer chemicals, and help conserve water and energy while improving air quality. There are only nine genetically modified crops available in the U.S. today: sweet and field corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya, potatoes, and squash. Cynthia warned us that if we see “GMO-free” labels on produce it is quite possible that it is just a marketing ploy to create fear. Being informed consumers is important for each of us. Cynthia gave us lots of information and made each of us more aware of the impact of GMOs in our lives.

Our meeting continued with the minutes of the October meeting, which were read and approved. The treasurer reported a balance of $1334.23. The report was filed for audit. In correspondence a thank you was read from Miriam Patton for helping with the Honey Queen presentation at the Nature Center and for assisting with the harvesting of seeds at Telford Prairie. We also received a request from the Upper Des Moines Head Start Book Club Program for assistance with funding. Judy Weis made a motion seconded by Sharon Hobart to donate $50.00 to the program. MC

In unfinished business we finalized plans for our December program. We will be recognizing the 80th birthday of Palo Alto Garden Club. Each club member is encouraged to bring 1 dozen cookies that day so we can make Christmas plates for the nursing homes.

In new business Cynthia presented a request by the Nature Center to decorate a tree again this year. Jamie Christensen, Angie Beem, Lois Neighbors, Pat Steffen, and Cynthia Berkland volunteered to take care of that. There were sign-up sheets available for the day trips planned for next year. We will be going to a Lavendar Farm in July and Seed Savers in September. The sign-up sheets will provide an idea of who is interested in going.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, December 12th at Iowa Lakes at 10:00. We will be celebrating the history of our Garden Club.