So I have a few favourite websites I like to browse, to turn my mind off and stop thinking about day to day issues ... Unfortunately this backfires sometimes as I discover something ridiculous, or absurd or just plain creepy. I found a couple tonight that I'm going to share with you, that I think are worth a second look, or worth a second gasp.
Creepy: Something simple, useful for jams and jellys, crucial for kids snacks, necessary for gel coatings on medicine and tablets. Gelatin is crucial for so many day to day items, that you’ve probably never given it a second thought … so I will not describe the method by which it is currently made. I will just state that it is not at all what I expected, and I will probably put a limit on how many gelatin products my children are allowed to eat.
Aside from this, I have recently stumbled across an article that describes how chemically-reproduced human DNA fragments are being used to create a new type of gelatin that will be safer for people with allergies, is an alternative to anyone who can't have animal products for religious reasons, and can be produced much more consistently and in larger quantities. Gelatin is basically just a mix of peptides and proteins, but it is derived from animals. This carries with it risks that it could provoke an allergic reaction in humans, and it could also transmit diseases from the animals to the humans.
I understand that in the long run using human DNA derived gelatins would benefit all of us, so much more than the gelatin we rely on now … as the process ensures everything is a lot more consistent, so the product is so much better. It has a 99 per cent purity rate that is just far and beyond anything that is done now. But that being said, let me just repeat that ... Human DNA in gelatin.
Absurd: Forcing a landowner to remove a vegetable garden because it is "unsightly" or against bylaw. When we are faced with growing prices for food, fuel and groceries, and when housing skyrockets and economies crash, our basic human needs are getting far more expensive. I've seen some gorgeous well groomed gardens with walkways and trellises and perfectly parallel rows. I've also had a garden, with wobbly rows and thistles battling my potatoes, and cucumber vines wrapping around sunflower stalks. Either way, this is a source of food.
There are quite a few places in the states where quiet battles are being fought in city councils, landowners versus bylaws ... It is a sad state of affairs when an attempt to feed your family safe and healthy food can be disrupted and destroyed by government. We are much more forgiving and flexible in Canada thank goodness for that.
If you think I’m exaggerating, take for example Julie Bass of Oak Park, Mich. She decided that as she was a huge fan of organic foods, she would grow her own and save herself some money, but apparently the way to do it in her city is to hide the gardens in the back. Her city authorities told her that according to local codes, she would have to remove the raised garden beds neatly arranged in her front yard. The codes stipulated that she can only have “suitable” live plant material, and I guess “suitable” is not a substitute for the word “sustenance." Julie Bass is only one of many fighting this battle and luckily Oak Park dropped the charges that could have ultimately landed her in jail for 93 days if she had not complied. Unfortunately these little battles are not won very often. Too often the city comes in and forcibly removes it. I am currently watching news develop on a man named Jason Helvingston, who has a 25x25 foot micro-irrigated vegetable garden in his front yard, and is vowing to protect it.
So, there are your two bizarre facts to make you wonder a little bit. I’m completely stunned that human DNA could be used, so quietly and efficiently without it making any larger headlines, I don’t know if this has developed quickly, or if it has been in process for many years? … and completely stunned that cities and states couldn’t come to some kind of compromise and agreement about what type of vegetable would be considered garden-variety rather than mass-produced agriculture. I know I would be shocked to see a field of corn growing in front of someone’s house, but a vegetable garden would just make me smile.