CBI recently blogged about a coexistence workshop at the Maine Agricultural Trade Show in our Ag Biotech Across the Nation series. The Kennebec Journal also reported on this event that aimed to bring ideas from organic and biotech advocates, and create constructive solutions that will lead to more sustainable crop production.
CBI expert Dr. Pamela Ronald, Professor of Plant Pathology at University of California - Davis, and her husband Raoul Adamchak, Market Garden Coordinator at the UC – Davis Student Farm, were involved in the event and advocated for a sustainable agriculture definition that includes genetically engineered crops and organic production methods. Dr. Ronald pointed out that in China the use of insecticides fell by 156 million pounds with the use of genetically modified cotton. She also said agricultural biotechnology is needed because “genetic technology is key to helping feed the growing population.”
You can read more about the coexistence event here.
Russ Parsons published an interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times on January 6 about the realities of food and farming. He calls for “a more constructive give-and-take, the start of a true conversation” about our food production system.
Parsons lays out a few ground rules that will help us move towards a constructive conversation, which begins with the understanding that food production is a complicated issue. He reminds us that there is a shared motive on all sides of the conversation, and he is pleased to see a growing interest and awareness about the way food is grown and produced.
You can read the full article here
Michael Specter, a staff writer with the New Yorker, confronts the widespread fear of science and the negative impact it could have on scientific progress in the areas of global agriculture, health and nutrition in his new book Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives .
Specter was on MSNBC and NPR’s “On the Media” program promoting Denialism and explaining the importance of agricultural biotechnology in addressing certain global challenges, and the resistance to it among certain groups.
A video of the MSNBC interview can be found here and a transcript of the NPR interview is available here.
Please share your thoughts on Denialism and how attitudes towards science and technology may be limiting progress.
On organic fruits and vegatables Los Angeles Times “California Cook” columnist Russ Parson in today’s Los Angeles Times writes that organic “is not a surefire solution to all of life’s (or even agriculture’s) ills.” He states that organic advocates oversimplify the benefits of organics:
“[T]he ones who need to do the apologizing are the often-well-meaning organic advocates who paint such a black-and-white picture of the way farming works that it seems there should be no choice at all.”
Parson takes exception with those who put forward organics as the “only” option in sustainable farming. He writes that “there is a huge gray area, and this is where most farming is done.”
“You can be a bad farmer growing organically, and you can be a good farmer and still use chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.”
Parson’s thoughts echo Dr. Clive James remarks in a video we posted last week:
“Can biotech crops contribute to more affordable food? Can biotech crops help mitigate climate change and contribute to sustainability? Can biotech crops contribute to global food security and the alleviation of poverty? We believe the answers to each of these questions are unequivocally yes. Biotech crops can make an important contribution, but are not a panacea. They can provide a contribution but are not the whole solution for these three questions.”