Utne Blogs > Environment

Organic Farming, Meet Genetic Engineering

by Cally Carswell 


Tags: Environment, organic farming, genetic engineering, population growth, food security, Conservation magazine,

“It is time to abandon the caricatures of genetic engineering that are popular among some consumers and activists and instead see it for what it is: a tool that can help the ecological farming revolution grow into a lasting movement with global impact,” argues Pamela Ronald in Conservation magazine (scroll down page).

Ronald’s proposition is a provocative one for organic advocates, who tend to think of genetic engineering as a dirty word. But Ronald says that’s precisely the problem. She contends that avoiding environmental devastation in the effort to feed the world’s swelling population requires repositioning organic farming and genetic engineering as partners in an agricultural movement rather than adversaries.

“Pitting genetic engineering and organic farming against each other only prevents the transformative changes needed on our farms,” writes Ronald. “Without good science and good farming, we cannot even begin to dream about establishing an ecologically balanced, biologically based system of farming and ensuring food security.”

illona trogub
8/13/2010 10:32:56 PM

Ms. Ronald is most likely getting at least part of her paycheck from Trans-national Agribusiness. There are many reasons organic farmers are against GMO's. First off, we do not have the technology nor the experience to mess around with genetic information and expect the same results as we hypothesize. The corporations making GMO's do not do enough testing on them. Our governments do not do enough testing on them. We are not god. We do not have magical powers to make life do what we want it to. Secondly, farmers are against GMOs because it's an expensive process undertaken buy Transnational Corporations who do not have our best interest in mind. They are first and foremost responsible to their shareholders and if it doesn't make enough profit, it's not worth it. If it's perilous to the environment but makes a HUGE profit, then it's worth it. Let's learn to be responsible land stewards, not little children thinking our imaginations will save us.


evans pmcg
9/15/2008 4:51:02 PM

Finally, someone has made known this bridge, reconciling two otherwise competing factions! While people should be wary too much scientific innovation, the scales have already been tipped with overpopulation, and to feed everyone we need some truly innovative (and sustainable!) approaches. Still, my worry is that while drip irrigation and fertilizer can always be stopped or reversed, genetic modification seems irreversible. There is much smaller room for error.