If Bittman, et.al., truly believe that “farming should happen in harmony with the environment,” then why are they fighting genetic engineering, which offers tools for growing food in a more environmentally sustainable manner, with fewer pesticides, less nitrogen fertilizer, less tilling, less water and higher yields?
Lets’ start this by saying I deplore the use of fear-based imagery in marketing and education. That’s represented in the aforementioned post. But I have also recently called out ‘agvocate’ voices for using hyperbole or bad reasoning in their arguments. When we take sides first and ask questions later, we risk falling on sloppy arguments ourselves. Painting any issue as black or white is a dangerous proposition.
Debunking too often tends to be a team sport and just because it’s inevitable, doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. In food and farm issues, only biotech drives more debunking than the Organic vs Conventional debate. When you are responding to misinformation the “other” side has already defined the terms of the debate and it’s hard to bust out of those frames. Often that means the big picture gets lost.
Recent reporting on organic dairy production in the Washington Post underscores a preoccupation with the aesthetic appeal of organics and little interest in the environmental impacts.
Terence Bradshaw, Director of the UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center tries to bring some sanity and context to the use of protective gear when applying pesticides in both organic and conventional systems.
Alison Van Eenennaam explains how the Washington Post recently conflated organic with grass fed in an exposé of Aurora Dairy a massive organic dairy in Colorado.
Dietitian and science communicator Leah McGrath lays down ten tell tale signs you are watching a food related shockumentary. Plus, we’ve got Shockumentary Bingo cards ready to print!
When Cargill announced on Twitter that they had partnered with the Non GMO Project all hell broke lose in the agvocacy community in a way that seemed out of proportion to the crime. The problem may stem from a breach of trust within a coalition than the real world impacts.
University of Wyoming professor Andrew Kniss addresses the issues of intimidation and chilling effects of the USRTK’s FOIA campaign against researchers active in communicating about biotech in ag.
The continued representation of famines as disastrous events largely sprung upon populations by the forces of nature, prevents us from understanding famine – and food insecurity – as a socio-political process, even though doing so is especially important for realising its future prevention.
UC Davis animal genomics and biotechnology specialist Alison Van Eenennaam weighs in on confusion about research funding and industry influence.
In the organic/conventional debate, you’d think that organic production made up a significant portion of sales and production. In spite of the column inches devoted to discussing organic farming, it only accounts for about 5% of grocery sales, despite two decades of rapid growth. But even that masks how little organic production actually accounts for in the overall scheme of things.
:::::So I was a chef with left wing politics, a former union organizer and farm worker, and an armchair nutritionist when I started stumbling across various voices from the Food Movement some time around 2005. It’s hard to imagine someone better primed for a message of sustainable agriculture, grassroots activism, local economics, and low income community food security. Being a Massachusetts born union organizer who lived in cities but often worked in rural communities in the South has irrevocably scrambled my cultural allegiances in ways that would eventually play havoc with my loyalties in the debates the Food Movement had started. But I’m getting ahead of myself.