The small tropical nation of Costa Rica celebrated 65 years without a permanent standing army this past December, and now, they're moving toward another important milestone: A legal framework for becoming a 100% GMO-free country.
The situation was detailed in a recent article by the popular genetically modified crops research website GMWatch.org.
According to the article, Costa Rica's cantons are working to become GMO-free by pursuing legal strategies on the local level.
The article notes that a total of 62 out of 81 cantons have already adopted legislation to prohibit the cultivation of GMOs within their borders. The strategy is often called an "anti-Monsanto doctrine," of course referring to the world's largest, most aggressive distributor of GMO seeds, which often locks farmers into long-term contracts that are difficult to get out of legally.
The article noted that the new GMO-free territories are Vazquez de Coronado and Zarcero; both are large agricultural jurisdictions that are known for natural dairy production including specialty cheeses that are popular.
Monsanto has been working to tap into the Costa Rican market because of its rich agricultural resources, but strong grassroots resistance has been brewing. Efforts have been made through the "Monsanto Protection Act" and other similar large scale legal changes to usurp local laws, however, in other nations, so activists will need to keep a watchful eye in the future.
Environmental activists have recently proposed implementation and outreach programs to educate farmers and residents on the dangers of GMOs as well. The crops are fraught with long-term risks including the need to buy many more toxic chemicals to continue to produce crops and fight off superweeds and insects. Independent studies have also shown serious health risks to lab animals fed GMOs including allergies, weight gain, organ damage and even cancer.
Within Costa Rica, produce is said by many to be more flavorful and rich than in the United States and other areas that use more chemically intensive farming methods, including GMOs.
Among other nations that use non-GMO and more natural methods are Bhutan, which recently made headlines when it announced it planned to become the world's first 100% organic nation in many years.