Everywhere in Mexico, from the megalopolis of Mexico City to the smallest farming community, the squeaking, creaking sounds of a tortillería churning out corn tortillas can be heard. Corn is the most important staple of the Mexican diet. Corn tortillas of many varieties – white, yellow, blue – figure into every meal of the day. The grain works its way into the national cuisine in endless other ways: The large kernels of hominy corn in rich pozole soup, as the base for spicy tamales, in sweet breads, and in hot, thick atole drinks. It’s native to Mexico, where some 59 indigenous strains of corn exist.
Which is why an emerging debate over whether to allow growers to cultivate genetically modified corn has heated up. Opponents of GMO corn have urged the Mexican government to ban GMO. To draw attention to their cause, on Thursday four local Greenpeace activists climbed a 335-foot monument on Mexico City’s busy Reforma Avenue and dropped a banner reading “No GMO” on the iconic Estela de Luz tower in protest, according to a Greenpeace spokeswoman.