Archive for August, 2010

David v. Goliath?

August 28th, 2010

I recently submitted the following comments as a response to the dialog surrounding this post:

Please feel free to read and weigh in via comments.

I read this article the other day and enjoyed it immensely.  It is fun to come back a few days later and see the discussion that has started in the comments!  This is one of the reasons I love the Internet and social media, it allows us easy access to information and to have discussions with people we might have never met.

Having just watched the trailer, I would be interested in watching the entire documentary and looking into the source information used for the documentary.  Kim you mentioned that:

The other side of the story isn’t presented here in all cases, so why should a documentary, with seemingly nice backing from the German government (HIGHLY anti-GMO), be required to show all sides of the story? That’s the beauty of documentaries, to give a more focused picture into an unexplored subject matter of interest that conventional media outlets cannot.

I think that it is the responsibility of the person creating the documentary to discuss both sides of the issue so the viewer can have an informed reaction to the material presented.  If only one side is presented, I think the intent of the material switches from documentary to propaganda, and can become downright deceptive.

That being said, I want to say my perspective comes from growing up on a family farm in North Dakota.  I have lived overseas where GMO crops aren’t widely used.  One of my current occupations is operating a seed dealership for our family farm here in ND.  We sell seed that comes from both Dow and Monsanto’s genetics.  Our family is also a proud supporter of a local CSA farm.

The “David v. Goliath” theme that is presented here also manifests itself when looking at organic versus GMO.  There is a growing number of people who tend to view organic as good and GMO as bad without fully investigating the issues at stake in making that decision.  People tend to think that GMO or non-organic crops are worse for you because of pesticides.  Organic foods, however, tend to have a high level of toxins due to the defense mechanisms they need to produce to grow.  The point I’m trying to make is that people on both sides of the fence tend to, in my opinion, oversimplify the matter and ignore the complexities and unanswered questions that exist.

I am a fan of GMO crops.  I think that the advances in research brought about by companies like Monsanto are making agriculture a better place and industry.  We are seeing yield potential in crops that would have not been dreamed of before.  Using GMOs allows for less pesticide, and consequently fewer trips across the field which saves on fuel emissions, etc.  The innovations in GMO allow for a stable product to come to market in a shorter time which allows for more innovation and focused research. 

I’m a firm believer that organic/natural production can co-exist with GMO produced crops.  But I think it’s unfair for one side to ostracize the other when we’re really after the same goal:  feeding the world with healthy, sustainable agriculture.  The moment we stop throwing stones at each other and start working together to achieve these goals we will have made progress.  Discussions like this are just the start of that process.