Agriculture in the Classroom in a pickle over GM apple

An Agriculture in the Classroom webinar drew fire last week because of its content involving the controversial Arctic Apple, a variety genetically modified to be non-browning.

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) said the webinar content had inappropriate product placement and collaborated with Council of Canadians and several other groups in sending a letter to provincial education ministers asking them to withdraw support.

“The example that was used is a brand name corporate product that was being presented by marketing staff from the company. We think that was an inappropriate level of corporate involvement in this webinar,” said CBAN co-ordinator Lucy Sharratt in an interview.

“The webinar did focus on the apple production chain, which I think is important and interesting but … the webinar was not carefully constructed to provide unbiased information or information that was removed from the company that actually is marketing the GM apple,” she said.

Johanne Ross, executive director of Agriculture in the Classroom Canada, said mention of the Arctic Apple in the webinar, presented as part of month-long agricultural literacy efforts, was an example of how technology can help address food waste.

“This is not an infomercial about a product,” said Ross. “We’re just using the Arctic Apple as an example to talk about innovation and the gene silencing that happens to actually get the non-browning trait. That’s just part of a bigger discussion.”

The webinar, comprising about 45 slides, included four specific to the apple, said Ross.

The main speaker for the webinar, presented to high school students on March 7, was Jessica Brady, a member of the marketing and communications team for Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the company that developed and is marketing the Arctic Apple.

“I think everyone would agree that product promotion is not a legitimate activity in classrooms so if corporations are going to be part of presenting information to students through Ag in the Classroom, the question is, what is that role of those companies? Are they credible sources?” Sharratt asked.

Ross said the program’s funders operate under official donor guidelines requiring them to embrace AIC’s mandate to provide accurate, balanced and current information.

“We call it our ABC principal,” said Ross.

“It’s based on science and it gives multiple views so that the students can have their own robust discussion behind it. And then they can make their own decisions for all the right reasons.”

Ross said the letter sent to education ministers, which was sent by CBAN, the Council of Canadians, Earth Action PEI, the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice and Kids Right to Know, elicited only one query to AIC.

That came from the Prince Edward Island provincial education department.

“They were very comfortable with what we had provided them and there’s been absolutely no communication to me in terms of any education departments getting involved,” Ross said.

Sharratt said her group got two responses. The Nova Scotia education ministry said it did not promote the webinar and the Newfoundland and Labrador ministry asked for more information.

“I don’t know how clear standards are but we thought it was important to alert students and teachers and ministers of what we thought was pretty clear product placement in this case,” she said.

“Schools are a very clear market for this GM apple so it was particularly alarming that the … product placement was so up front.”

Sharratt also noted development of the Arctic Apple has been controversial, even in agriculture circles, so AIC information should recognize that in its programming.

Ross said that is the goal.

“We’re very interested in telling the whole story of agriculture,” she said.

Attention to the AIC program from other groups has raised its profile, said Ross.

“I’ve been told a number of times that I guess this means we’re doing good work, because we’re being noticed. We have absolutely nothing to hide. That’s why it hasn’t been hard to speak to it, because we’re very, very proud of the resources and the programming that we’re offering to schools across the country.”

Ag in the Classroom programming is carried out by farmers and volunteers with limited staff support. Ross praised that involvement.

Sharratt noted that as well, with a proviso.

“We do know that there’s a lot of farmers and volunteers involved. And all of the work that farmers and volunteers do with Ag in the Classroom could be undermined if corporate interests are using it to promote their products to students,” she said.

“That was our concern that was flagged by this webinar. We don’t yet have a perspective on how far that may be a problem inside the program itself.”

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  • The story of those apples is a great example of Canadian farmer-driven innovation going against all odds to develop a consumer-oriented, waste reducing trait. Not sure how one could tell that without mentioning the brand. It should be a source of pride for all Canadians

    • Sheryl McCumsey

      This is exactly the opposite of what you are claiming. This is about the lack of ability of someone to cut up their own apple…….instead this apple will be placed in packaging…….something we need to REDUCE. Reducing food waste begins at the grocery- and some stores already have eliminated that entirely. This is up to retail and consumers to change and this apple has nothing what so ever to do with that. This is to benefit industry NOT the consumer and certainly NOT waste.

      • Sheryl,
        The pre-sliced offer is just one way this apple can be marketed. If the public phobias and anti-technology campaigns can be overcome it would be possible to offer it as a whole apple for those of us who prefer to do our own slicing.

        • richard

          Interesting how the arctic apple is a perfect metaphor for industrial agriculture….. Its all about optics and little to do with nutrition…. Why not an apple packed with more vitamins, energy and taste….rather than a clinically white one still infused with three to five applications of agritoxins, sealed in a wax coat….?

          • The non-browning actually preserves the vitamin content of the apple which is otherwise degraded during the browning process. Apples already are packed with good things and a sliced offer is a way to get more people to actually eat them. I find it sad that people who know nothing about the nature of the apple industry have to get into the insult game. I’ve had the chance to meet the real people in the small family orchard that pioneered this thing, all with the goal of finding ways to get more people to eat healthy produce. By the way, without the perfectly safe wax, you would only be able to enjoy apples for a few months out of the year. As for “agritoxins” I’ve looked at the detailed data about what is used for pest management in apples and it is almost all things with little to any toxicity to us.

          • Jason

            Why is this a metaphor for industrial ag? I don’t see any other forms of ag addressing that issue either.

        • Sheryl McCumsey

          … I just gave ten good reasons in a post above- science based reasons. …

        • Harold

          “Public Phobia”? A mental disorder? There is mental disorder and “anti- technology campaigns”? Does the new apple cure the mental disorder? Who is the expert that clinically discovered this epidemic and disability? What is anti-Technology anyways? I know what anti means and I know what technology means but put together i don’t know how you can place a backward motion with a forward motion and call it a fact word. You either have the technology or you don’t; no technology, you either have the science or you don’t; no science, and unused technology is simply that; unused technology. Anti-science and anti-technology are nonsense words. (perhaps you prefer “anti-sense” in place of “nonsense” for clarity) Everywhere that anti is being crafted to words is where groups are displaying a desire to remove Canadian individual’s rights to freedoms of choice, belief, conscience, expression, thought, opinion, speech, association, assembly, and peace and security of person and those groups are Government and the Corporate Elite. How the Government? The lack of transparency and closed doors (lobbying) and lack and disregard for public communications and news media black outs is not government but has become Government. (no direct weekly press conferences and disclosure of new Bills before the house; 6-o-clock NEWS). Canadian individual rights (Charter) are written for how the government shall consider and act before any law is passed. They are not written to us. When the government violates the Charter, we (public) present the violation to the government and they must act upon it according to OUR will. Anytime we do not present the charter at a time of violation, it is in acceptance to suffering the law agreed to and it is enacted. Our government prevents public knowledge and promotes the suffering of laws that the majority do not want to suffer compounded by the majority not knowing how to withdraw their consent to discontinue its sufferance. All said, forgive me if I have only two words for the “little green apple”; i’ll take my Meds. Nonetheless, what group has the mental disorder and the phobia? Follow the money trails and you will find what a billion dollars can do to the mind. Follow their nonsense word ANTI- Something. Per adventure: another nonsense word anti-terrorism is another example and so forth.

      • Jason

        Sheryl, if it doesn’t benefit the consumer then they won’t buy it. If it does, they will. Why not let them decide if they want it or not?

      • Damo

        I can think of many reasons for a pre-sliced packaged apple. One of which is independence for the handicapped.

  • Rob Bright

    Public school classrooms are no place for industry propaganda. How is this not clear to people?

    • Harold

      What we clearly know is to sit down, shut up when told, and to obey authority no matter what authority looks like or face punishment as was taught by our very own school system. The one’s who dropped out of the school’s systems know authority very differently. Take a freshly graduated student and ask him what his personal authority as a individual person is; ask anybody. Unable to answer, you will see that the Education System did well and why propaganda is taught in schools. It can take many years to un-educate yourself. Aren’t we all just sitting down and shutting up and letting the authority’s whoever they say they are handle all of the concerns while we pass private notes between our student desks awaiting our teacher’s next assignment. (like we are doing now) What is our Authority? Those who say they have “none” have been educated well, and those who say that we are the authority know the truth and they stand. (very few) No Law is passed without majority consent and we just can’t seem to figure out the simplicity of it all. Is CBAN or the Government or the politicians with their own ideological personal well thought out educated opinions the majority? A: only when we consent to sit down, shut up and obey their teachings. What is not clear; the fact that we have not left behind our student desks to roam the halls freely as our parents and teachers do? Why should we interfere with government? A: because we as an individual or as a majority, have a Living Constitutional Lawful and undeniable RIGHT to do so immediately at any given moment and time and our conscience demands it. . (unless educated = the many) The same simplicity occurs at any restaurant; if you don’t have an order, then what you want rightfully does not come to your table by your server and the Chef rightfully prepares nothing and you have only wronged yourself. Are we feeling like we are fasting? Make an order. If you don’t like the sauce, have it removed. No explanation for your dislike is necessary, and importantly, regardless of your mental state. What I mean by this is that the majority makes the decisions and government has no law that gives them the right to question or a right to ignore it. If we remain silent (educated) then the plate that lawfully landed on your table is by your own consent. Silence = educated = knowing what you are doing and Protest/petition = educated = knowing what you are doing, and referendum means not enough signatures to support a petition proving majority. The simplicity of law Is kept out of the schools and from the public at large to benefit whom? I’m sure that the Government elite and the corporate elite will have the appropriate answer.

      • Sheryl McCumsey

        Personally I have not been silent and in fact I wrote the Minister of Education about this issue and spoke with someone from this department. What I was told is that this is not his issue because they deal with the curriculum. I said, “Isn’t the curriculum deal with content?” Yes I was told. So I said this is the content of what our children are being taught and it is not balanced when an industry has decided to market to our children. This puts the responsibility on parents to object. We are expected to object every and each time industry lobbies to our government in regards to removing environmental regulations and influencing our education. We are expected to “know” what is going on when media isn’t fully reporting all the issues. Teachers would need to spend a lot of time to go through information shared in the “toolkit” for teachers that “Ag for Life” shares. They say they are non-profit but they are supported by Monsanto and other chemical companies. This means that we are up against multi-national corporations that have very deep pockets- that are in effect advertising to our children without the informed consent of their parents. If we decide to elect an individual that we hope will listen to us we are out of luck if they do not follow through. A perfect example is Trudeau and his abandonment of electoral reform. This is only one example but industry spends a lot of money lobbying to government and has influence over media. This is just another serious and disturbing example.

        • Harold

          The first step is to win your argument with facts before you attempt to write a letter. You send your letter properly addressed to the full name and full address of the Minister that you are contacting and he personally must respond by a written and signed in ink letter. (You make an Order to do so) This is the undeniable evidence of your communication. A person who speaks on the Ministers behalf is hearsay and irrelevant. If you accept a person other than the Minister and you communicate, you may have unknowing changed the “game”; that was mistake number One. Mistake number two. You do not ask the Minister a question at anytime unless you intend to be his or her student. You present your written fact evidence (proves that you are educated in the matter) and you make an order such as; “whereas this is in conflict with the spirit of the education system and its purpose I hereby withdraw my consent and require your quest be for the matter to be made of no cause and effect in the education system”. (what “This” and what “education system” have to be identified fully) “I require that you personally respond within 14 days of receiving this letter”.(you keep a copy of your letter and it doesn’t hurt to send it double registered to prove that it was received). You have Just created a cause and an order. You have placed the minister in a position where he can only respond to your facts and provide you with more fact. This is the start of your second letter if you can counter and don’t accept a half hearted response without countering with a demand for full accountability for the facts. 2+2= 4 and no matter how many people point it out, or do not point it out, it remains a fact Be prepared to say this if some idiot politician says dismissively that you are the only one with a concern. He is not in a position to challenge your order. The Minister’s return letter and your letter becomes your fact evidence that you will present to the public at large because the Minister is their servant too. This is why you can never accept a half hearted letter written by the title of Minister; you are corresponding to a adult by an adult and not to a child. Your order to the Minister is also an order that the public will follow as well. For example: we the public petition and agree and demand the order carried out as written) Do you think that we are playing any games with the Politician?
          Mistake number three. What you said in part was “……not his issue because THEY deal with the curriculum”. Did you “educate” him or did he just “educate” you and say “put your hand down” Miss so and so. It is a trap and dismissal trick that they hope you accept. (most do) Not fooled you would ask if the conversation is being recorded, and if not, ask him to supply recording; If not so be it. I would then say “I don’t know you, and I don’t understand you (understand means agree) and I will await the Ministers written response; have a good day” and then hang up. (reason later) If adventurous I would take his full name and Rank and then ask who the “they” are. Does the “they” have a name? You know for every “they” that there is a department head that has a full name. (responsibility) Even “they” who live at the North Pole have a Santa Clause. Perhaps he meant Santa Clause. You write down the full name and full address of the name who is the “they” so that you can give the Minister of Education the name of the “they” to help execute the order in your letter. (Mr Minister I “order” you to tell Mr “they/name” to cease and desist) Next I would order Mr.Rank to become a messenger to the Minister of Education to inform the Minister that “you will not consent to Mr Rank or hearsay speaking on the Ministers behalf.” “Inform the Minister, Mr.Rank, that my letter dated (….) remains true and unchanged and that I am awaiting his written response.” What you are doing is keeping your letter active in meaning, facts and orders.This is followed by: “can you Mr.Rank repeat to me what you have written down for the Minister on my behalf.” Hopefully you were recorded and now Mr Rank is liable, so you need the date, time and notes of the details to enter into your file to retrieve the recording and etc later. Next, you bid him a “good day” and hang up. In the background, Mr Rank got an order to call you for which Mr.Rank needs to return a report to the sender. Here is the trick being played. People change their minds and they have a lawful right to do so unless under contract it is prevented. Your letter demands a written response from the Minister but accepting a call from Mr. Rank instead is a change of mind and Mr Rank’s report is attached to your letter as the evidence. Any recorded part of the conversation can also indicate a change of your opinion relative to your letter. That is why Mr. Rank often takes you to la la land and introduces you to “they” and further why it is done over the phone; letter writing and signatures are precise. Mr Rank provides the evidence and now Mr. Minister does not need respond. (you are back where you started) Further, the Minister is not responsible for what he say’s because he just may not be able to recall what he says. The Minister is not responsible for what he thinks that you publicly voiced/phoned to him, for the very same reason. However, he is responsible for every written word and especially where his signature appears. This is why they like to do town halls and speeches and never write anything down or collect order’s bearing a wet ink signature and why we hear monologues but the public is never heard. I will ask you this; what upsets and inspires people more; what you say or the evidence that proves what you say? What are the tricks meant to do? If the Minister has written that he will not obey your order then you go to majority petition whereby consent is withdrawn by the majority. Hopefully this information helps.

          • Sheryl McCumsey

            Yes, it certainly gives me some ideas. Thank you for taking the time to share.

          • Harold

            I hope that I have given you remedies rather than Ideas. Written Law and acting lawfully and providing fact is not an Idea. I have a habit of word checking to gain clarity. Words can be self-defeating. It is very important that you know who you are and not fall into any traps. What gives you the right to bother a politician in the manner that I have shown you? You can try what I said but where is your freedom when asked? The politician says: do you think that you can just barge in here and make demands of me? Who do you think YOU are. I am a Lawful Politician and you are just a voter! What will you say? Will it be anything that you learned in Social Studies at school which would come in damn handy right now? How about saying to the politician: Because I have a damn Right to at any time! Followed by:
            Charter of Rights and Freedoms : Any member of the public in Canada has the right to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any head or central office of an institution of parliament or government of Canada in English or French and has the same right with respect to any other office of any such institution.
            Ask the politician is he sees any restrictions written. Calendar? clock? Restrictions are written and there are none.
            You will notice that this includes your provincial government, schools, your city. town and all of their agencies.
            I have to further warn you of politicians and their opinions. It is also a trap. His opinions are offers only for which you can accept or you can reject. Do not accept any opinion unless you ask any or all of the following. Where is your opinion written down? Show it to me now. It Is Public opinion: Where Is the public opinion written down? Show it to me now. Everybody knows, don’t you?: Where Is what everybody knows written down? Show it to me now. How does your written opinion apply to me or to anyone else? Show it to me now. (he wrote for example: I believe carbon taxing Is the right thing to do and everybody in the church thinks the same so there should be a law.) It is your opinion politician and you are only one, and a Servant. He is the servant and cannot challenge your order and you are there with written word and educated with fact and your servant has provided you with hearsay. Show me politician: your majority ink signed consent to your proposal and show it to me now. Order: Politician Without the authority of majority consent you have no authority to continue. (you enter in Constitutional law violation text) Have the majority been made fully aware of your offer? (you enter in more constitution law showing a violation) Show me the evidence and show it to me now. Did the majority ask for this law? (add more constitution law) Show me the evidence and show it to me now. This may seem rather harsh but if a Politician cannot provide evidence then what the hell Is he or she doing in office? Lip service?
            Your letter to the minister must be Honorable in nature and your words in your letter as much as possible should derive their meaning from the Canada law dictionary. Sometimes unknowingly your word choice can in Law mean something totally different. Check your words regardless if you think that you know them As I have said before, never understand what a politician is saying even if some of what he is saying is correct. Say that you do not understand and then give the politician your complete understanding. Don’t worry, some of the politician facts will be in your painting but your painting is going on the wall because you are refusing his. If I have confused you let me know and I will correct it. If Corporations do not belong in the school system then we should correct the system.

  • SageThinker

    It’s another gimmicky trait. I don’t mind the mention of a brand name in a classroom, but i hope the GMO apple never goes into the lunch rooms of schools, and i hope it’s not taught as some kind of wondrous things. It’s more of an example of pointless technology that introduces risk of harm for dubious benefits. By the way, Steven Savage who also commented here is a known industry cheerleader. He’s author of many polemics for the GMO and agrochemical industry and Monsanto flew him to Hawaii to lobby the government there with Kevin Folta… so make of his comment what you will in that context.

    • mary

      I was a teacher in the Richmond School District in the 1990s, and there was lots of corporate foraging into the education system back then all over the place, to “sponsor” all sorts of school activities, at a time when the school district was super strapped for cash, in exchange for brand placement in the school and in the classroom. Discussions abounded and these are just a few examples of the “collaborative innovative” spirit that education and corporations were exploring: Nike offered to sponsor district sports teams as long as PE strip in the schools was sourced from Nike, McMillian Bloedel would sponsor the purchase of biology curriculum supplies (a big expense) as long as deforestation was down played in course material, and Pepsi actually put in a proposal to rent Richmond School roof space for giant logo advertising placement directed at the planes that fly overhead to and from Vancouver airport. It’s real. and it’s happening. all over the place. Government cutbacks in education put school districts in terrible situations…and brand placement is so insidious that it seems to loads of people that it is both innocuous and a no brainer to avail of it’s funding to our schools. No amount of hope is going to turn that juggernaut around.

      Sucks to AIC and to arctic apples, and kudos to CBAN and the Council of Canadians for watchdogging like they do. Donations their way!!

      • Sheryl McCumsey

        We also give tax dollars to corporations directly and indirectly- instead tax dollars should properly fund our schools and businesses should run on their own. Some of what I am witnessing is just not necessary and is not only unethical but information I am seeing is incorrect as well. Pesticides have increased since the introduction of GE crops. That is fact and is documented in government reports. Ag for Life is “teaching” something else.

  • What next, Pfizer selling synthetic opiods in classrooms as the only answer to teen angst? Where does the special interest end in the classroom if we allow this industry propaganda to be peddled as education?
    “The main speaker for the webinar, presented to high school students on March 7, was Jessica Brady, a member of the marketing and communications team for Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the company that developed and is marketing the Arctic Apple. “

  • grinninglibber

    Another unneeded GMO Trojan horse product. Most fast food restaurants and grocery chains will not carry it.

  • Sheryl McCumsey

    Will students get all the information? Will Western Producer post my comment or will I be sharing this “again” on another page?
    “I don’t think we’re hiding behind the fact that we use that technique,” said Neal Carter, founder and president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits.
    “We don’t want to demonize the product by putting a big GMO sticker on it.”
    The genetically engineered apple (or GMO) called the Arctic Golden Apple is already being sold in the US although we are not being told where exactly. Why not?
    There has been a ton of resistance to this from both consumers and growers BUT now there is definite plans to market this directly to our children in the classroom across Canada. Is it acceptable to market to our children at all especially inside a classroom? Corporations are certainly in the classroom and this in itself is disturbing. Check out who sponsors those non-profits that explain why pesticides are necessary. The United Nations has reports that say we need to change how we farm that does not include pesticides.
    One: Genetic Engineered products all share the same scientific concern. We do not yet know and understand how a genome interacts – “replacing” DNA inside the plant genome changes the entire genome as DNA interacts just like David Suzuki puts it, like an orchestra but now you have someone playing a completely different tune. Does that matter? No one tests how this will affect our health or the environment because it is not required. Early uses of this technology are discussed in, “Altered genes, Twisted Truth” which I encourage you to read. Unknown and untested.
    Two: The enzyme that oxidizes an apple that is silenced has been discussed in studies before this apple was conceived, “PPO gene families perform multiple functions in plants. Little is known about the PPO gene family in apples, but in other plants, PPO genes are known to bolster pest and stress resistance. This raises the question of whether non-browning apple trees might be more vulnerable to disease and require more pesticides than conventional apples — and whether they might transfer those vulnerabilities to other apple trees.” This enzyme has a purpose.
    Three: This is not just an apple with apple genes. Because it is impossible to know if DNA “takes” markers are used so that it can be determined if the desired DNA is actually present. The marker used in this apple is a kanamycin resistant bacterial gene. Kanamycin is used in the treatment of serious diseases such as TB which is on the rise and becoming more resistant to treatment. Kanamycin is given intravenously. This is another concern.
    Four: It is impossible to contain damage to a market. You cannot contain this once it is growing in a field. Serious economic issues to farmers have resulted due to contamination of GE Flax, corn, soy and wheat in the US and Canada. This cannot be contained and growers did not want this apple. Many more countries do not want GE crops than those that accept this for some of the concerns I just mentioned. Damage to markets.
    Five: This will not address food waste but it may increase packaging of a simple food that does not require packaging. If people are opposed to an apple that “browns” they can use lemon juice or buy a variety of apple that already resists browning and does not have any of these risks. These apples are: Cameo, Snowsweet, Cortland, Empire, Gala, Goldrush, GingerGold, Masonova and Shizuka. This apple is redundant and a waste of money and effort. Addressing food waste is very important and can be done with far less effort- including writing grocers to change policies. Redundant.
    Six: Other GE crops have been tested such as corn to show that there is a chemical difference. ” The marked increase in putrescine and especially cadaverine is a concern since these substances are potentially toxic, being reported as enhancers of the effects of histamine, thus heightening allergic reactions.” “These apples make long double stranded RNA molecules (dsRNA). dsRNAs are proven vertebrate toxins. They are called toxins in the scientific literature.” Serious concerns around toxicity already exist.
    Seven: We are repeatedly told that GMO’s are not new, that we are all eating them and that this isn’t any different than other food we eat. This just isn’t true and when issues around GE wheat are discussed the same parties argue that GE wheat does not exist. We have created new foods that does not use this technology at all. We can continue to do this safely and without concerns around environment or health. GE crops are different and have patents on them. Why does this industry say one thing and then another? This is confusing isn’t it?
    Eight: Some people have never liked the idea of “owning” life or the arrogance that seems to always come around thinking we understand the consequences of this when clearly we do not. Then there is the question of labeling. Why don’t you label it? With all of this what is your “gut” reaction? I use this analogy, when standing on the beach in Thailand watching the water move out I would have run like hell and maybe not have questioned what was going on……….and then asked questions about tsunami’s……..we are being hit with a tidal wave of GE crops. Corn, canola, sugar beet, soy……..salmon (that will very well damage our wild populations), apples and even potatoes are on their way. We are told many things about this technology but often it is far from the truth. Label it don’t tell me that I am “demonizing” it- I want to know what I am eating and I am a part of the “majority”. Let’s demonstrate democratic values please.
    Nine: There are 750 studies just released from the Brazilian Ministry of Agrarian Development discussing the hazards and harm of this technology. Science does not suppress concerns it embraces them, recognizes them and discusses them. The bio-tech industry has not been honest or forthcoming and belittles anyone that questions them. Science exists around the multiple and widespread concerns of a technology that is just not needed. Every GE crop has a hybrid that can and often does outperform it.
    Ten: IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Canada is a world class leader of gut issues. There are many diseases that are dramatically increasing in relationship to pesticide increases and all the science around both GE crops and pesticides. Animals show harm in studies and we see it in the general population. This industry however is extremely powerful. Share this widely………before they hear about it. AND get it out of our classrooms. Teach children all about this but don’t let corporations do it for us.

    • Peter Olins

      “Every GE crop has a hybrid that can and often does outperform it.”

      I’m speechless.

      • Sheryl McCumsey

        Good. I listed several here: Cameo, Snowsweet, Cortland, Empire, Gala, Goldrush, GingerGold, Masonova and Shizuka.

  • richard

    The largest single market for organic produce is apples…..You can draw your own conclusions about public perception ……Every skinned food oxidizes the second it is opened up…..your apple is no different…..And children who have been normalized to a junk diet are unlikely to start eating properly because their apple is sliced white. Rather than clever little marketing gimmicks in food, why doesn’t GM finally get down to products that people actually want…….nutrient dense, agritoxin free, sustainable, non feudal food systems……That’s the zeitgeist….. lead. follow or get out of the way….

  • Dale Burns

    Ag in the Classroom is necessary to provide students a more balanced view of modern agriculture. The controversy seems to develop when students are given a view other than “modern ag is bad”. Kids Right to Know often boasts of their visits to schools and demonization of GMO breeding techniques without revealing the family conflict of interest.

    It is rather telling to see this reaction when faced with a program like Ag in the Classroom. After several years where kids’ exposure to agriculture was often limited to watching “Food Inc”, I think it is about time that students see a more realistic version of farming and food production. Attempts to squash Ag in the Classroom are meant to prevent balanced, insightful discussion of food production.

    • Harold

      By whose opinion will a student be considered balanced? Will it be by the opinion of “modern ag”? What is modern agriculture? Assuming that I am living in modern times (2017) I see GM crop and I see organic crop and the year has not changed. It is collectively, both, together. twins, the two, each, arm in arm, united, couple, they must then represent modern agriculture in now time. (GE propaganda term “modern agriculture” baiting “organic” obsolete) So why is there a war? Do neither side have facts? What is in conflict with 2+2=4? is it 3+3=6? No; it is just another fact and no conflict of interest. Is a fact a demon? What then do students deserve? Lies? That is exactly what they get when you bring controversy into the schools. Lies are the topic rather than facts. Perhaps the adults should grow up a bit before they bring their BS to the students. Then there is the teacher of the student. Is he or she qualified to teach Modern GE and modern Organic Agriculture? In today’s world there is no reason to bring an Ag corporation into the school because everything that they need to know is available on the Web and the teacher only needs to bring it to the class room. Both of our modern agriculture practices and sciences and scientists and Farmers are available. Science is the teacher and it is not a peddler of an industry or its agenda. Any viewing on the Web peddling an agenda should be disallowed. You do not give any student an agenda of any kind; a student needs fact only and they will form their own agenda and that is true education. A student deserves no less. It is the duty of teachers to present facts only to their students and to keep that passion but to also leave their own personal agendas along with their little emotions outside the classroom door. Allowing an Industry peddler into the school system is to indoctrinate them rather than to educate them. It is about the money and not about a student’s education. My opinion is that if the GE Industry would just shut their gob and present the facts there would be no controversy. We would form the agenda and the Industry opinion can go to hell. Sounds Democratic; sounds New Canadian. (the old one wasn’t working in case you hadn’t noticed) Poor kids, same old same old.

  • Happy Farmer

    I think education should get back to simple basics like the 3Rs. I have firsthand experience with kids that can’t write letters or sentences. Their math skills are terrible, and they don’t read very well either.

    If we think it is important to teach kids about food, religion or whatever in school, we should then allow presenters from every angle. Once every position has been presented the kids will then be able to decide for themselves. (although this may create more confusion than good, so maybe just get back to 3Rs).

    • Harold

      Those kids that you are speaking of lack word knowledge only. You can say, spell, and use a word in a sentence and still not have word knowledge. One example of this is the common word respect. RE-=do again SPECT= look. It merely means “look again”. Show me some respect means “show me some looking at me again” The “diction”-ary then describes how. The lack of this knowledge promotes anger instead of resolve. One would merely respond with “what am I not looking at?” (then an answer) If a kid is poor in word knowledge the kid will also be poor in math. Math is not another language it is the English language turned into symbols; it is short hand. The short hand is used to describe an English conversation. Two plus two equals four are all English words. 2+2=4 (saves paper space) Imagine if you didn’t know what one of the words meant. The conversation would be 2+2 (?) 4. Take a + symbol and drop it to its side and you get an x (multiply) and that means “go faster”. Subtraction (also an English dictionary word-not a “math word” – a conversation word) also has with it a symbol of division, which is a very different word found in the dictionary, which also means go faster. What is division? Di (split) Vision. Does it mean: split what you are seeing? If you can remember how math is taught in school then it is no wonder why kids are failing. It is not the kid failing it is the teacher’s failure. With complete word knowledge you are not given up to memorization failure. We think in mind pictures and if there is not a proper symbol to every proper and fully understood English word; the kid will have a difficult time in math. The word cat and you see a mind picture cat and not the image of a cat that you have never seen. Hippo-potamus (horse-of the-river) you see a picture and a suggestive origin of the word mind expansion. Forget about the three R’s. You need word knowledge and then you read and the three R’s will look after themselves. Schools today openly admit their failure and state that the kids success is dependent upon home support (home schooling) from the parent. I for the life of me cannot understand their pride of failure. If parents are teaching then just who the hell are they; baby sitters? (we are fearful for our children’s well being and hypnotized by their union rhetoric) A child “homeless” has no chance in this “so called” institution of learning. They pride themselves claiming the child and parent are the defect. If you examine yourself you will discover that no one has taught you a damn thing. You were only present (opportunity) in mind to a learning event and from it you taught yourself; nothing in is nothing out. If stupidity goes in, then stupidity comes out. What you were saying about “kids that can’t write letters or sentences” and “their math skills” are true but let’s not forget about the institution that they came from. Should we keep sending them back hoping for one handful? Yes, I too had to home-school the school. On a side note, when my children came home from school and had home work or a test result for me to sign, I ordered my child to sign it instead. My child is the schools customer and not me. When the test result was not 100% my child wrote unacceptable and signed it. (it was the truth) What Just happened when my child handed the result back to his teacher; he or she was graded as well. Every teacher knew that they were welcome to phone me at anytime to talk about this truth. Imagine if 30 students did the same. If you’re full of re-quests then you yourself quest nothing.

  • Happy Farmer

    Harold, rather lengthy and wordy for me, but I agree with your here.


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