Tag Archives: Genetically modified food

Science Resources that support Biotechnology and GMO in food

knowledge is power science research gmo biotechnology genetically modified foodWhere can I find solid information resources on biotechnology, genetically modified organisms, and the seemingly endless list of science issues that arise in discussions centered around food today?

This is a big question I receive when folks are involved in discussions about hot topics related to our food supply. Folks against GMOs have a seemingly endless supply of news links and articles damning biotechnology and threatening an endless list of harm to our bodies if we consume anything but naturally selected foods. To make this even more frustrating, many of these studies supporting the anti-GMO argument have been proved as “bad science” by the academic and research worlds, which makes the conversation even more frustrating.

Where can we find solid, academic, unbiased peer-reviewed science centered around the biotechnology debate? It’s difficult in a society that is increasingly illiterate when it comes to science and when emotion outsells logic by a long-shot, but there are resources available.

Search engines for scientific literature

My first and most accessible recommendation would be Google Scholar. It’s just like Google, but directs your search to research literature. There are also online databases like PubMed which search multitudes of research journals. If you run into a road block with paid-access journals, check with your local library or University. Those places usually have subscriptions to information sources like these. However not all journals are created equal. I’m leery of journals where someone can pay to have their material published and trust the process more when a panel of peer reviewers must accept the research. The impact factor is a good way to measure the relative importance of the journal.

I have found a few pages with in-depth reviews of the science literature surrounding the safety of GMOs and biotechnology in our food supply. Continue reading

GMO Activists March Against Monsanto – Farmers’ Perspective

What’s that you say? There’s a rally on Market Square today? What’s the cause? Oh, they are marching against GMO foods…

march against monsanto gmo food biotechnology
Image via March Against Monsanto

Today, Saturday, May 25, thousands of people across the globe are organizing a March Against Monsanto. The group claims in a mission statement that GMO foods are not sustainable and cause harm through increased risk of cancers, infertility, and birth defects. The group believes that chemicals produced by Monsanto, like glyphosphate (Roundup), are poisoning our environment. This group strongly dislikes government and FDA support and approval of GMO foods and the recent, as they call it, Monsanto Protection Act. This groups wants to unveil the truth about GMOs, boycott Monsanto, and increase research on the harm caused by consuming GMO foods. You can read more about the desires of this event on the March Against Monsanto page. I’ve included the links to the MAM page, because you’ll find it through an easy google search and we might as well learn what everyone has to say about it.

I think that it is great that we have the freedom of speech and choice in this country. But at the same time I believe that activists rallying against Monsanto would be  better off to direct their attention to better efforts. Monsanto is a company that has responded to the demands of consumer markets. They are one of many companies supplying seeds through the use of biotechnology to help farmers produce more crops with fewer inputs and have a smaller impact on the environment per unit produced.

If these concerned folks really want to make a stronger impact against GMO, there are a few more productive steps that could be taken: stop purchasing food and products from organizations that do not support your beliefs, support local food sources, grow your own food, and take time to have an open mind and respect others’ choices. Most of us could benefit from doing a little more research and hear out both sides of the issues. There’s good science and there’s bad science, we need to learn how to identify both.

What do farmers and agriculture have to say on the issue? Here is a run-down of a few topics and several perspectives that have been shared with me this week. I trust these individuals for information and I hope you’ll take time to hear out their $0.02. Continue reading

I Occupy Our Food Supply Everyday [Reblog]

Ryan Goodman:

If you’re concerned about genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the farmers that grow these crops, this post from my friend, Brian Scott, is worth the read. Today WordPress’ Freshly Pressed blog featured this post where Brian discusses his use of GM crops and how he works with the technology and Monsanto. Brian even includes a PDF of his 2011 Monsanto Agreement. Definitely worth a read if you want to learn more about GMOs from a Farmer’s point of view.

Originally posted on The Farmer's Life:

Me occupying some popcorn

Today is the day.  The Occupy movement is going to occupy the food supply.  According to the occupiers and Farm Aid president Willie Nelson large corporations have too much control over our food.  I won’t deny that there has been a lot of consolidation in the food and seed markets over the years, but that seems pretty common and big does not equal bad as some occupiers would have you think.

Willie Nelson recently wrote “Occupy the Food System” for The Huffington Post.  He ends his editorial piece by saying, “Our food system belongs in the hands of many family farmers, not under the control of a handful of corporations.”

As you may know I happen to be part of a family farm.  I’m the 4th generation to work this land.  I’ve seen a lot of posts online about how corporations control farms or farmers are…

View original 1,513 more words

Farmers quit hating on your neighbor!

Photo Credit: environmentalgeography

Instilling fear in your customer at the expense of your neighbor is weak marketing, it’s wrong, and does no good for the community as a whole. It leads to the spread of misinformation, lies, and a general belief in this misinformation as fact by those who fail to do their research. Then, when concerned individuals try to share another side to the story, they are assumed to be spreading propaganda and lies. We’re left in a heap of a mess because no one knows who to believe anymore.

I don’t care if you think GMO‘s from Monsanto are the devil, it doesn’t make you the bigger person for saying so just to line your pocketbook. I don’t care if you think small-scale organic farming has no place in feeding the world, you shouldn’t bash them because they are responding to customer demand. If you can’t market your own product without cutting your neighbor off at the knees for their farming practices, you should reevaluate your business plan.

See a more extensive conversation about this topic between a variety of farmers on this Facebook post.

Yeah! Exactly what Agriculture should be doing to market our niche products! Let’s put up images to scare people away from another farmer’s foods because apparently we hate our own neighbors!
*note the heavy sarcasm in the above statement* Dividing is not conquering when we’re instilling fear into our customer about food. Farmers need to quit this.

Each and every style of farming has its place, has developed as a result of customer demand, and plays its role in feeding the world (whether that be local or global scale). We’re cutting our own selves off at the knees by dividing our selves in the public eye. Food and animal rights activists love to see this happen because it makes our community weaker.

I’ve been told time and again that organic farming doesn’t have a place. Well, it certainly does for those who believe it has value to them.

We’re in the same business together – providing food for our customers and fuel and fiber products for the world. It’s high time we learn exactly how stubborn we are, step out of the trenches, and realize this. I’m not asking for everyone to hold hands and sing hymns, just quit bashing your neighbor.

Customers don’t know who to turn to for food information. Book authors, Daytime talk shows, and mainstream media have become trusted sources for food information because they are selling sensational, exciting stories – regardless of scientific investigation or background research.

When a farmer like myself steps up to share my story, I’m faced with criticism for selling propaganda for the likes of Monsanto or the Beef industry because my story isn’t as sexy as what was just on television. Yes, I believe farmers, ranchers, and those working in Agriculture are the best to share the story because they are the ones on the ground witnessing what goes on. At the same time, those concerns raised are legitimate and we need to take a look at how/if we can address them.

I do not see how agriculture will make any real progress with gaining customer trust until we own up to our own mistakes. There are always improvements to be made with modern techniques, that’s why learning is a life-long process.

I am guilty of this myself, and it’s a learning process for all. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change for the better.

We speak of heritage and strength of community within Agriculture, it’s time we really back up those statements. Embrace the fact that there is more than one way of doing things, including farming and food production. If you don’t agree with something, embrace the ability to choose and stick your money with the products your support. Have an open mind and spend time listening to those with whom you disagree. I promise you’ll learn something.