The Friday Five: Breaking Ground Edition

My Generation

Pesticides, GM rice, Dr. Oz, gluten-free grocery stores and more: Here are five links to catch you up on the week in food and agriculture.

Published on: May 2, 2014

An interesting trend emerged this week as I rounded up the best links in food and agriculture: people are talking to each other, about topics we care about. Activists and scientists, personalities and number crunchers, bloggers and grocery stores, Oz and people who call him out. It's a fascinating mix, and well worth the reads.

No Herbicides and Pesticides: No Problem: So what would be gained if pesticides and herbicides were to vanish from the United States, asks this Truth About Trade post? Jobs. "Only one thing could prevent massive yield losses: 70 million of us would have to take to the fields, squatting down on our hands and knees to uproot weeds. We’d have to turn our farms into the equivalent of gigantic community gardens."

Pam Ronald, a prominent plant geneticist and a professor at U.C.-Davis, was invited to share the stage with Michael Pollan. "If anyone can make the case for this (GM) technology, it’s Pam Ronald,” Pollan told the audience.
Pam Ronald, a prominent plant geneticist and a professor at U.C.-Davis, was invited to share the stage with Michael Pollan. "If anyone can make the case for this (GM) technology, it’s Pam Ronald,” Pollan told the audience.

A Journalist and a Scientist Break Ground in the GMO Debate: This is a fascinating read from the New Yorker, and I especially like reading anything about GMOs that comes from outside our agricultural circles. It's a window into how the rest of the world thinks. This piece covers a lecture by Michael Pollan and his invited guest, Pam Ronald. Ronald is a pro-GMO, pro-organic scientist, who helped isolated a gene for flood-tolerant rice, now grown by four million subsistence farmers in Bangladesh and India. She has very intelligent things to say, and it's especially insightful if you've just read top link on crop protection products.

Dr. Oz and the High Irony of Diet: This Slate blog does a superb job of dissecting the irony behind a new Dr. Oz episode that aims to call out and the scam artists who use his name to "sell my audience questionable products." Right. Because he never does that. Best line of the piece: "This post is NSFPWDWTHTA (Not Safe for People Who Don’t Want Their Heads to Asplode)." I think that could be said for Dr. Oz in general. My husband couldn't even watch all of that episode on pesticides: "The guy's just LYING!" Yes. Yes, he is.  

Are Grocery Stores Making People Dumb?  Dairy Carrie cracks me up and she knows how to tell a good story. What she wrote in this blog post is exactly what I think every time I go to a big grocery store. And then my head explodes. Fortunately, our small-town IGA doesn't engage in these kinds of shenanigans, which is one of many reasons I love shopping there. And they load your groceries in the car. Love.

Four Die in Plane Crash: Completely tragic news from South Dakota this week, where four young men were killed in a small plane crash, involving a wind turbine. Three of the four were well-known cattlemen and the group was on their way back home from a cattle sale in Hereford, Texas. Just very, very sad, and I'm joining many of you in praying for them as their services are held late this week and through the weekend. A preliminary report on the crash may be available yet this week; I'll add the link if it becomes available.