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Organic Farmers Help Monarch Butterflies

Don and Barb Dunklee work to counter some of the devastating effects of GM glyphosate-tolerant crops on the US ecosystem

Recently we announced in our Daily Digest some findings from yet another in a series of studies carried out by different groups of scientists over many years showing that the spread of GM glyphosate-tolerant crops is a major cause of the decline of monarch butterflies in the US. The glyphosate herbicide sprayed on these crops kills the milkweed that is the sole food for monarch larvae.

In response to our report, Michigan organic farmer Don Dunklee sent us some beautiful photographs of the monarchs that he and his wife Barb encourage to breed in one of their greenhouses. They plant milkweed in the greenhouse in between the crops, as well as in open fields on the farm, in an attempt to repair some of the damage that GM crops continue to wreak on these iconic creatures.

Don reports that in 2022, "We had about 30 'births' from our strawberry greenhouse. Several years have left us with 30 to 100 successful 'births'."

Don calls himself "a four-year-old in disguise (actually 67 years old)". He says, "We have lived without the power company for 38 years, with our electricity coming from wind and sun. We built our own home from the ground up. We grow vegetables on our 23-acre piece of heaven. It is on a conservation easement with the Michigan Department of Agriculture. The easement protects the land from future development forever, as written in the property deed.