Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Future of Food

Yesterday I talked to Dr. Rob Myers, founder and director of programs for the Jefferson Institute about today's Conservation field tours.

I talked his ear off-

(I think I say that alot. I must have an aural fixation, I SLAY MYSELF)

-not only about the event, but about the implications and effects of genetically modified foods.

If you haven't seen the documentary, "The future of food," Oh my dog, see it.
It scared the bajeesus out of me.

The scary thing about genetically modified foods is that it's so new that the long-term effects on humans have yet to be sufficiently researched. More importantly, it is not required for a product to identify whether the ingredients in it contain genetically modified foods.

The scary part about genetically modified foods is that their introduction came after a seed was patented- the first time life was patented.

There was a stipulation that these plants would NOT cross-breed with indigenous species, but...... they did.

Farmers all over the country are having their farms infiltrated by companies who test their crops for the genetically modified material and take their plants because the modified plants cross-bred and erased the indigenous coding.

This is a huge problem, not only because corporation's crops are contaminating farmers crops, which are then taken from the farmers, but as these modified plants spread (and many are designed to be resistant to pests, so they can spread quickly) they completely wipe out strains of un-modified crops.

The danger here is that if the diversity of crop types that we have is being funneled down from say 100 species of potato to say, 3, there is huge potential for great disaster should one of those types experience a blight.

Currently, genetically modified corn is infiltrating Mexico and wiping out several ancient strains of corn, a prided crop for the country.


here's my brief about the Conservation Field tours, which had nothing to do with what I was just blathering on about, except in the way that diversity is key in both the event and the issue of genetically modified foods.

Brief for Jefferson Institute's free conservation field tour

Free conservation field tour to be held Thursday
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | 6:22 p.m. CDT


COLUMBIA — On Thursday, local farmers will have a chance to learn how to make money — or at least improve their operations — for free.

Community members are invited to participate in Conservation Field Tour, a free event held tomorrow from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at Jefferson Farm & Gardens, located at 4800 E. New Haven Road.

Attendees will be able to take an hour-long tour either by wagon or by foot to see demonstrations about conservation.

A variety of speakers are scheduled on topics such as water quality, soil conservation, rain gardens and pond management to benefit both farmers and curious community members. One of the speakers, an MU professor, Bob Pierce, will discuss establishing wildlife habitats.

The event will be headed by Rob Myers, founder and director of programs at The Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute. Myers, a former MU professor, has also worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a program director for national education and research.

"The number of American farmers have been in decline," Myers said. Farm operation costs have been increasing, making it more difficult for smaller farms to continue to operate, he said.

Hoping to address the industry's challenges, the Conservation Field Tour plans to focus on sustainable agriculture to help up-and-coming farms and to teach family farmers how to stay in business and compete with larger operations.

Pamphlets from several different organizations also will be available at a booth in the information tent by the main parking lot.

For those who can't attend, Myers offered a basic tip: Mix it up.

"Research shows that farmers with three or four types of crop tend to have less pests," Myers said. "There's a need for farmers to diversify the crops on their farms."

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