Blown Away

Friends,

Here is an article entitled: Study Based on Farmers’ Experience Exposes Risks of GE Crops.

The article is a little technical, but has some good information.  The question which we should all be asking ourselves, as we face a worldwide food shortage and even food rationing in the U.S. is, are Genetically Engineered crops really the answer?

In my mind the issues around food, resource distribution, and world hunger have a lot to do with the massive shift to industrial agriculture and away from small local sustainable farming. 

Recently I had the very good fortune to give some talks on Genetic Engineering at the the University of Hawaii at Hilo.   What blew my mind though was the the students’ general lack of knowledge about agriculture, farming, or even gardening.  In one of the classes not a single student of the the 25 or so present had even grown vegetables in a garden!  I was completely stunned.  I had just assumed that most people had some minimal exposure to growing food.  That is obviously not the case.

The statistic on farming is that less than .01% of the US population is involved in agriculture.   The students at the University made this statistic very real for me.

Consequently I had to spend a tremendous amount of time during my talk explaining very basic things about farming – like how plants grow and pollinate, how they are planted and how they can be harvested.   I gave information on all of the things that go into growing food on large farms (Industrial Ag.) and small family farms.   I talked about organic agriculture and sustainability.

Let me say it again, I was stunned by what these students did not know about the growing of food!

It cannot be good for people to be this disconnected from the land and the source of the food upon which their lives depend.

Peace,  Paul

 

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2 Responses to “Blown Away”

  1. mwana Says:

    Do you think this kind of ignorance is what has muddied the debate about genetically modified foods? We have so many people who don’t know what these foods are all about. Unfortunately these are the folks who go out to work for the Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. They end up distorting the science behind genetically genetically foods. James in his blog called GMO Africa (http://www.gmoafrica.org/) tackles this issue as much. You have your job cut out.

  2. Peace Paul Says:

    Mwana,

    Yes, I do think that a lack of basic knowledge about farming and growing food has definitely created an environment for misinformation – from both sides. There is also often a lack of critical thinking on the side of those struggling against Genetic Engineering. The answer to how we will feed the world’s population in the years to come is very complex. There is will be no single simple solution.

    We need to begin by looking for solutions in the complex natural systems that have been maintaining life for millions of years on this planet. We need to abandon the idea of dominating nature and recognize that we are part of and dependent on the health and vitality of the planet as a whole. This means, among other things, maintaining genetic diversity, sustaining natural systems, and focusing on small scale local agriculture whenever possible.

    Here on Hawaii Island we are struggling, against some very powerful forces, to create a sustainable agricultural environment. It is people power against big money and corporate power. So far the people are holding there own.

    Peace, Paul

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