“Competition Summary” from www.changemakers.com:
“The debate over the future of our food supply is heating up. Everyone is weighing in on the moral, environmental, and nutritional effects that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) will have on our society, but how do we really know what’s on our plate?
How can we help consumers make better, more informed choices? Submit your entry by September 9, 2009, for the opportunity to win a conversation with Michael Pollan, best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma!
GMOs: What do you think? Join the debate here!”
A Huffington Post piece discusses the advances of genetically modified crops and how consumers are benefiting. Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, writes, “..the engineered crops currently being grown are safe and cause less environmental damage than their conventional cousins.”
Norman Borlaug, a professor at Texas A&M University and winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the world food supply, writes an interesting op-ed in the Wall Street Journal regarding the ability of farmers to feed the world’s population.
Says Borlaug, “Given the right tools, farmers have shown an uncanny ability to feed themselves and others, and to ignite the economic engine that will reverse the cycle of chronic poverty. And the escape from poverty offers a chance for greater political stability in their countries as well.”
To accomplish food security, Borlaug writes that “governments must make their decisions about access to new technologies, such as the development of genetically modified organisms—on the basis of science, and not to further political agendas. Open markets will stimulate continued investment, innovation and new developments from public research institutions, private companies and novel public/private partnerships.”
Read Borlaug’s piece in the Wall Street Journal here.
In a fight against world hunger, three internationally known research organizations based in St. Louis– the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital – have formed the Global Harvest Alliance. The Global Harvest Alliance will seek to create inexpensive, nutritionally complete food to help the world’s hungry and undernourished.
The alliance will examine the best approaches to fight malnutrition and work to improve enriched foods by testing and distributing genetically modified crops to boost nutritional content. The goal is to provide affordable crops to farmers who will then be able to produce more nutritious foods.
Dr. Mark Manary, a pediatrician who will serve as the alliance’s director, has provided an enriched peanut-butter mixture to malnourished children in the sub-Saharan country of Malawi that has led to high recovery rates.
Read more about the Global Harvest Alliance’s work bringing together scientists who help the hungry and research specific needs and crops here.
Rice is the staple food of around three billion people, and the main challenge facing rice producers is how to raise yields of the water-dependent crop as 70 percent of the world’s food-growing areas face more drought, said the International Rice Research Institute in its latest quarterly magazine.
Genetic modification may be the only viable way to produce sufficient quantities of rice in the future as drought, climate change and dwindling acreage impact yields, experts said in the new report.
However, according to Gurdev Khush, a University of California professor who was a former senior IRRI scientist, “the environment for accepting genetically modified crops is not as good as it should be.”
Read more on the new report here.