All through the growing season I fall behind on my reading. I’ve had a chance to catch up with the change in seasons. I’m dismayed by some of what I read. An example is a report on a conference called, “Food for Billions” hosted by Ohio State University(OSU). It was on food policy and attended by invitees from the food industry and think tanks. Praise is usually what comes from such efforts to address global issues. However, this conference appears to have been convened to support the Big Ag and Business interests while avoiding opposition views.
The conference had a keynote address by a journalist from “New Yorker” magazine, Michael Specter. Specter is quoted to have said, “[The] organic movement is an exposition of freedom of expression, but unscientific, with no proof of better quality or nutritional value, or any definition of what natural production means.” (Counrty Folks Grower, 11/13, pg 7). Specters reiteration of Big Ag’s talking points does not make them true even if he believes them. His cheerleading for GM crops and calls for investment in technological solutions for the “food crisis” casts him as an industry shill. OSUcould have advanced discussion on the topics but choose to champion the “money” side (re: Research Funding). FYI: Follow this link to see the counterpoint to the “Food Crisis” schemeer, http://www.independentsciencenews.org/un-sustainable-farming/the-founding-fables-of-industrialised-agriculture/
Elsewhere in the Ag publication pile I read about a meeting of the Council of American Phytopathogical Society (APS), an organization of plant health scientists. APS has 5000 members committed to “plant health”. At the meeting they affirmed an organizational position that is opposed to regulating food, feed, and fiber products solely on the basis of the particular technology used to create these products. They are stated to have a long history of opposing such regulation. APS President, George Abawi said, “Biotechnology will continue to be extremely important part of the toolbox for managing plant health. Labeling GM could be very confusing to consumers and could reduce the availability and use of this technology for the management of plant diseases.” (The Farmers Exchange, 10/25, pg. 3).
Wow! I didn’t know GM was so important to “plant health”. I’ll pass on making a comment on that point. What I find worth comment is this “plant health” scientist saying that we don’t want to confuse consumers.
I meet consumers at Farmers Markets. They are of all sorts with different reasons to shop and points of view. When it comes to the food I market I play the role of “informer”. This allows the consumer to make a determination on how to best spend their money. A frequent question shoppers ask are what growing methods we use. I inform them, “organic methods, which means no synthetic fertilizers or sprays, we use minimal carbon based fuels since we farm with animals and our fertile soils promote the growth of nutrient dense foods.” I inform because I believe the consumer has the right and ability to determine how best to make their purchases. Mr. Abawi and APS feel that labeling would confuse rather than inform. Completely unlike my experiences.
Our government seems to maintain a passive role in allowing GM foods in the consumer marketplace. They are a big promoter of GM around the world. We are the subject of a mass public test of GM. Efforts to require labeling have been met with aggressive and well funded campaigns to maintain the status quo. Talking points repeated by shills like Specter and organizations like APS continue to misinform!