Food as a Political Weapon

June 13, 2017 Guest Authors 0

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?

Agvocates: It’s Your Turn to Stop the Mud Slinging

June 12, 2017 Guest Authors 0

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.

Let’s Stop Burying the Lede in the Organic vs Conventional Debate

June 9, 2017 Marc Brazeau 1

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.

Just Say No to “GMO”

June 5, 2017 Kevin Folta 0

Kevin Folta explains why it’s important to use the scientifically accurate term “genetically engineered” to refer to biotech crops and animals rather than the sloppy and baggage laden “GMO”.

Does Industry Funding for Research Poison the Well?

May 29, 2017 Guest Authors 0

When a research team included an industry partner, our participants were generally less likely to think the scientists would consider a full range of evidence and listen to different voices. An industry partner also reduced how much participants believed any resulting data would provide meaningful guidance for making decisions.

Six Tips to Recognize Good Science

May 18, 2017 Guest Authors 0

How can you tell good science from bad science? As the quality of peer review falters and pop science reporting relies on controversy it gets harder all the time. Here are six guidelines for separating the signal from the noise.

Defending Science: How the Art of Rhetoric Can Help

April 27, 2017 Guest Authors 0

When scientists gather to march for science, we want them to know about this body of research. In addition to carrying signs, they can take up the toolbox of effective communication known as the rhetorical tradition. Rhetoricians will be marching by their side, allies in the battle to protect science from politically motivated attacks on one of the greatest treasures of the nation.

(Practically) Nobody is Anti-Science

April 23, 2017 Marc Brazeau 0

As I was at the Portland, OR March for Science today, I walked past a woman who had cornered me at a March Against Monsanto rally a few years back. She had very misinformed, conspiratorial views about biotech in agriculture and when she spied my I ♥ GMOs sticker on my shirt today, she gave me a side eye and I could see her trying to decide whether to challenge me again. It was a little jarring, but not at all surprising to bump into someone who I knew rejected the scientific consensus on more than one issue at a March for Science. This essay looks at why that’s the case and how to process that fact and try to put it to some productive use.

Mental Maps and Power Law Distributions in the Food System

December 21, 2016 Marc Brazeau 1

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.

Tales of a Recovering Pollanite

November 18, 2016 Marc Brazeau 7

:::::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.

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