I grew up with a strong support for the power of technology…But the abuses perpetrated in the name of technological advancement of agriculture in the past few decades have left a foul taste in my mouth. It appears I share that distaste wit Verlyn Klinkenborg…
There is no disputing the enormous productivity of industrial agriculture, as long as you measure productivity solely in terms of the relationship between yield and labor and pay no attention to the health of the land or the well being of the people who live there. But in pursuing the unrelenting logic of an industrial version of agriculture we have left a world of alternatives unexplored.
And to hear the folks pushing industrial agriculture, it is only their existence that has kept us from going, as a nation, into starvation. Funny how their profit margins have increased with each and every degradation of our food supply.
The human species is still running ahead of the Malthusian prediction that we will outgrow our ability to feed ourselves. But this is a deeply troubling time for agriculture, as even a quick scan of the headlines reveals. Soaring food prices in the poorest parts of the world, soaring profits in the richest, ongoing — and wholly unnecessary — subsidies, growing competition between food and non-food crops, the list goes on and on.
To Americans, the continued resistance to genetically modified crops in other parts of the world may look Quixotic, a refusal to accept a done deal. But it is more than resistance to a type of seed. It is also resistance to a model of agriculture whose failings are all too plain.
I find myself angrier by the year at having my health and the health of my family being used in the greatest experiment in scientific history…Without our permission, and apparently without a shred of consequence for the companies behind the lab coats.