Eating organic kale is about status

In 2017 I interviewed about 800 to 1,200 people about agriculture, agronomy, science and food.

Looking back at the responses, to probably more than 3,000 questions, one comment stands above the rest.

It came from Kevin Folta, professor and chair of the University of Florida horticultural sciences department and a well-known science communicator. Folta frequently talks about genetically modified foods and other tools of modern agriculture.

During our interview, I asked what he’s learned from hundreds of speeches and hundreds of hours spent on social media, talking to the public about GM technology and pesticides.

“It only took me 12 years, of really working hard to share science and give people facts, to realize that it wasn’t working,” he said. “I was able to preach to the choir. That worked great. The choir was happy … but I wasn’t reaching the people who were just concerned. The people in the middle who didn’t know, one way or the other.”

Folta’s comment is relevant because the ag industry, for decades, has been trying to convince the public that technologies like GM crops and growth promotants for cattle are safe. The evidence clearly shows they are safe, but talking about the science has done little to change public perceptions. Fifty percent of consumers still think GM foods pose a health risk, based on public opinion research. See Public still can’t swallow concept of GM food.

Folta’s comment reinforced what I’ve heard from other plant scientists and advocates of modern agriculture. Emphasizing “the science” to explain the safety of GM foods, pesticides or growth hormones in beef cattle is pretty much useless.

Having the science in your back pocket is necessary but it should stay there until you’ve established a relationship, emotional connection or common ground with the listener.

Folta’s comment inspired me to write a follow-up piece on why science doesn’t change minds, at least when it comes to food. See Food fundamentalism: is food the new religion?.

Gillian McCann, an associate professor of religious studies at Nipissing University in Ontario, provided comments for the article.

In 2017 McCann co-authored The Sacred in Exile, What it Really Means to Lose Our Religion.

In one chapter of the book, she wrote about how food has become more important than religion for part of the population.

“With the decline in religious belief throughout much of the western world … the body and food are left to carry a tremendous amount of meaning,” McCann said.

“Food is a way of creating community and boundaries and a way of saying, ‘we’re pure.’ Because you are virtuous, you can (describe) people who don’t participate in your movement as unclean.”

Rephrasing her comment, people who eat organic could be described as a group with common ethics. And the members of that group likely believe that their values are superior to people not in the group.

The religious explanation may be valid but there is another way to interpret McCann’s comment: “Food is a way of creating community and boundaries.”

In a word, it’s about “status.”

Once upon a time, food status was an expensive steak at a restaurant with white linen and where suit jackets were required. Those food choices and the stories told after the meal informed the world that you can easily afford a $200 meal and that you belong to a group that dines at two-star Michelin restaurants.

Today, that sort of food status is nearly extinct.

It’s been supplanted by a new status that’s all about organic kale salads, non-GMO breakfast cereal, $9 gluten-free bread and overpriced veggies from farmers markets.

Take one category of food status: the vegetarian. When someone becomes a vegetarian they rarely stay quiet about it.

Unfortunately, it almost always comes with a tedious, 40-minute tale about their personal transformation from an immoral meat eater to a pure and healthy vegetarian.

That journey and the yawn-inducing story that goes with it could be described as a religious experience — almost a born-again tale. But it could also be characterized as a ritual to achieve vegetarian status.

Having reached that status, the person is now part of high-minded, elitist club. The status comes from living the right way and belonging to a group that feeds their kids locally sourced pumpkin soup instead of Happy Meals.

Most humans want to belong to a group.

And most aspire to belong to an elite group.

Those basic human instincts, like belonging and the desire to move up the social ladder, are hard things to fight.

And it may explain why science doesn’t change minds when it comes to things like growth hormones and GM foods. Telling people that their status is ridiculous and based on misinformation, rarely goes over very well.

That’s because status and the feeling that comes from belonging are usually more comforting than cold facts and hard data.

Unless a new food status comes along, where people value common sense and logic, upwardly mobile consumers in wealthy countries may never accept modern agriculture and the science that comes with it.

If that’s the case, Canada’s ag community may need to acknowledge that reality.

Put more succinctly — if you can’t beat ’em, feed ’em what they want.

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

About the author

Comments

  • Denise

    LOL!! If this article was written to stimulate discussion about the quality of our food, this one should do it! Nice try guys but your arguments are so last decade. Very funny, indeed!

    • richard

      …..and aging cast of white males who cant believe they came by their ignorance the hard way……….

      • Denise

        Yes Richard. It is time they stopped drinking their own bath water.
        As funny as their remarks seem to us, it is, also,very scary that they buy into the big agro-corporations’ philosophies of GM crops and pesticide/chemically- based agriculture, so religiously!!!
        If one concoction starts to fail, they just make a stronger one by adding more chemicals and tell farmers to apply more! But “farmers beware” if new (old) formulations lessens your yield or kill your neighbours’ non- GMO crop, it’s your fault because you didn’t follow the instructions properly.
        The evidence is out there if people are interested in finding out the truth . Thank god for the internet. Mainstream media won’t touch these kinds of issues, with a ten foot pole.
        Europe and many other countries are trying to get out of this mess, but the USA and Canada are, still, so monopolized by powerful corporate interests, consumers have to take the lead.
        Change has to come from the bottom up.

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Now that you have posted all that nonsense. Did you see the Danish study that showed the effect of residues is the same as drinking a glass of wine every 7 years?

          • richard

            ……versus the reality that seventy percent of global pharmaceutical production is consumed in North America…..

    • Harold

      The fact that one could simply want kale for the mere fact of enjoyment and as an edible alternative to eating lettuce for the rest of one’s life, is a simplicity that seems to escape the talking bobble heads so they need to create a fascinating and complex fictional story around it to make some self-serving glorious sense of it all and to the appearance of being intelligent above all. I had organic Kale growing in my garden this year and had I known that my status had changed I would have demanded a little more from government and society this year. I am wondering what growing carrots, potatoes, herbs and etc. meant? Should I approach the Mayor? Apparently the talking bobble heads believe that a pantry full of choices is some sort of a status symbol , so I wonder what a pantry half full means to them; choice? Clearly the message is GMO and there is no other reasonable choice; thank you corporate sheriff.
      Like you, I could not get though the article without wondering where Toto and Dorothy were and why they were not included in the narrative of OZ and the corporate yellow brick road. I assume the Author would like me to pray to Kevin Folta before I eat my next meal. The only thing that he can tell me is corporate GMO – GOOD – Natural State – BAD. The article to my mind was so lame that the nutrition – the only reason to eat – of the organic Kale was not even mentioned but they compared it to nothing, to empty space, and to religion anyways. I guess the bobble heads do not understand flavor variety and texture variety so they didn’t mention this either but of course this would have broken apart the narrative of their little GMO fairy tale.
      The fact that Robert believes that I think that Kale is my status symbol above a head of lettuce proves to me how out of touch with reality that he truly is. Kale is of the same family as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussel sprouts. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Vitamin A:(from beta-carotene).Vitamin K: Vitamin C: Vitamin B6: Manganese: Calcium: copper: Potassium: Magnesium: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Iron and Phosphorus; omega-3. Also, a cup of kale contains more vitamin c than an orange.
      Ya Kevin Folta and Robert Arnason, kale is a status symbol and blah blah blah – GMO GOOD – non-GMO BAD. If this is their example of informative journalism, I would hate to see what shoddy journalism is. Clearly, if Robert is getting his information from Kevin Folta then Kevin Folta has no idea of what he is talking about, but nonetheless, I didn’t need Robert to point that out to me.

      • Denise

        I will give kale another try. I had no idea it had such an abundance of important vitamins and minerals in it, that our bodies need to maintain good health. Thank you.

        • Harold

          You do notice that a little true information destroys almost all of their entire narrative. Kale is a religion? Kale is a status symbol? Food is a social ladder? Vitamin’s in a plant (kale) is best discarded and left to the hands of industry technology? With all of the nutrients in Kale, how over priced is it when compared to a head of industry lettuce or a litre of industry orange Juice? The article in its entirety runs as deep as a bird bath and does more to take people away from their health than to lead one toward it, but then it is the industry’s standard to do just that. The industry is pharmaceuticals and sprays and they are both chemical corporations and not nutrient corporations and neither can they patent Kale or even promote it for human health. For example, a medical drug pusher also known as a Doctor akin to what you find on a street corner will send to a drug store rather that point you towards kale and other beneficial plants. Everyone knows that when a body becomes nutrient deficient the body becomes sick and to replenish the body you need to eat the nutrients that you are lacking to restore your health. Is a Vegetarian wrong to eat Kale? According to the article, the author has concluded that he has provided “cold facts and hard data” and “common sense and logic” and I assume that that comes with four cases of pesticide laden beer to help a person swallow it and digest it. Denise, if you do not like the taste of kale, (Blah!!) but still want the benefit, you can make a smoothee and mix in other ingredients to deaden the flavor or you can juice it with carrot, apple, celery and even a beet root if you like. If you do not have a juicer I recommend a cold press juicer to avoid the high speed heat (friction) that can destroy the value of the nutrient. A smoothee, all though high speed, does give you the benefit of extra fibre in your diet to keep the cholesterol in your blood low or to avoid constipation, keeping in mind that turning your food into juice is exactly what your teeth and stomach are doing every time that you eat. When you Place Kale beside a drug store Vitamin pill upon your counter top your mind will automatically tell you which one you should eat and which one the Doctor will prescribe. Repeat the process with an apple and vitamin pill and so forth. (what glue do they use and what glue does Kale and the apple use) The quality of Kale and the apple and so forth are guaranteed because you are staring at it and the vitamin pill is “say so” and a $gamble$. The only trusted source is you.

          • Denise

            Thank you for the info, Harold. I’ll willing to try it.
            I’d rather pay a bit more for nutrient-rich food, and eat my way to good health than having to take pills for vitamin and mineral defiencies.
            Kale is not expensive, though,and you get a bunch for your money.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Nope, I will change what I grow if need be. But I will not cater to the marketing fraud and the ignorance that goes along with organic. Some folks are learning. The best chef in our area now avoids organic. He is aware of the trivialky higher risk of a food born sickness and says. Why should I pay extra for that? The truth took a step backwards today though. The jerk that runs Uganda essrntially spit on his own people by refusing to allow the release of the disease resistant potatoes and bananas. Crops like this have the potential to wake up the some of the fence sitters.

    • richard

      But youre quite happy to cater to the marketing fraud called global subsidy agriculture, where the taxpayers underwrites your delusions of sustainability……???

      • Harold

        Well said, but of course I can say this and agree with you only because I know the mountain of information behind what you are saying and obviously you have been there yourself.

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        Not only was that a straw man argument. I am opposed to all business subsidies.

        • richard

          I know… the truth smacks doesn’t it?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Your comment makes even less sense than usual.

          • Harold

            Straw man? How about this; producing exactly what I want and saving me the energy of producing it myself is the only reason that I should give you any of my money. I don’t owe you money upon your dictatorship or your fancies of how you think things ought to be. Is this simple enough for you? If not, figure out who you owe your money to and if you are not getting exactly what you want for your money then who is to blame. When the government gets involved in anything they are using our tax dollars, (our money) to arbitrarily prop up an industry of the governments own choosing and not the choosing of the public at large who would rightfully have that same corporation collapse. Without government aide, the corporations is in a constant threat and in that threat the corporations keep their products clean and offer the lowest prices or they face bankruptcy. There are two markets in today’s modern agriculture and each has life based upon those who are supporting it with their directed money. Unfortunately, true realities cannot be identified due to the government’s arbitrary involvement and control in every aspect of our lives and behind the scenes actions in their coveted secrecy so therefore we in the most part are only privy to our own imaginations – and that leaves us all divided. You have the speech of division and you have done the government well. You are not the one to say where the public ought to spend their money or what they would produce on their own if given the opportunity. The money would speak for itself but the government in its involvement has censored that speak. In a true democracy, capitalism is unhindered and the public control capitalism by the direction of their money. Our government is truly a parasite to democracy and the blood that feeds the parasite are the corporations who are standing behind them feeding them. Corporate Lobbyists are the unelected and they do not represent the will of the people; they are self-serving and want control over the public and taxpayer handouts and favorable laws that benefit the self-serving and they are the reason that Canadians cannot obtain a full disclosure from our government agencies. Who is indeed the straw man – the one bound to a pole and at a standstill with no blood life or brain but dressed and treated as though they are human; Is it not every taxpayer by governments own doing and our inaction?

          • richard

            Your comment makes even more sense than usual……keep it up!

          • Harold

            I cannot make sense or “more sense” so there is nothing for me to “keep it up”.
            If I see something – and you see it too – you have made the sense – but if I see something that you do not see – then you cannot make sense of it at all. The same is for me and it is the reason that I ask questions and challenge those who hold opinions; It is to gain a sense – a “living” object. Often times the people who are fierce and hold the strongest opinions have nothing for me to look at and they change the subject; they are not conversationalists and neither are they educated in the subject matter that they profess. To be very simple, I cannot make complete sense of your home unless I have been there too. I can ask you many questions to gain an idea but I have to do the “leg work” to make a sense complete; visit. Many people today only like to peer over the shoulder of another preferred student and copy the answers that they see onto their own exam sheet yet they believe that they themselves are amongst the 100 percentile. Be that as it may, I can place words but creating the “Idea” and the “leg work” is all up to you.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Nonsensical word salad.

          • richard

            kinda like a hundred billion dollars of taxpayer salad to feed broken dreams of a failing agriculture…..

          • Harold

            Your comment was expected and you are not the first nor will you ever be the last. Do you think that you are the brick wall that I need to climb over? Perhaps you need to discover how many senses the body has so that you can understand what sense and non sense actually means and therefore by doing so understand what ignorance is.

      • Bruce

        You mean grow more when it is not needed Richard. Yes, this is marketing fraud.

        • richard

          Listen how many times we are told we should be thankful for cheap and abundant food by the so called champions of free enterprise……the same ones addicted to a hundred billion dollars of taxpayers largesse each and every year in Europe and North America in order to survive……And then watch how the low brow bravado of reactionaries floods these pages with lame ad hominems and macho dreams of conquest anytime anyone dares question status quo ignorance and hypocrisy….. and you realize how disconnected agriculture is from food……and reality. And that is why necessary change will prevail over necessary illusions…..

    • Kevin

      Hi Eric. Still promoting GMOs. Your local “chef” would have no luck feeding me poison. GMOs kill native pollinators and you.

      • Happy Farmer

        Kevin, please answer this question – if I plant my entire farm to GMO crops, and use no pesticides or insecticides on them-“Will they kill native pollinators or me”?

        • richard

          Too late, your precious proprietary seeds are already infected with systemic, persistent fungicide, pesticide…….and the concomitant saturation with your favourite beverage glyphosate comes along for the ride……The tables been set, you eat whats put before you….. no point speculating on coulda, woulda, shoulda…….Kevins point stands….smart people don’t want agritoxins in their food……..at any level, with any arbitrary limit…… hello? earth to nozzleheads?

          • Harold

            Kevin’s statement stands because I do the same. I do not eat any Chef prepared meals unless I know the food source and Ingredients. I will not pay for a meal that does not meet or exceed what I do for myself. Why would anybody pay for less quality – but they do – lowering the quality of the food that they are eating when dining out. Out of the hundreds of food service companies that there are I have only a handful that I will dine at. Those meals are very expensive but I save money by not eating at the garbage chains of chemical food additive “value” – and not nutrition – but those savings make quality food more affordable. If in my home I had to pay a chef and a maid to prepare and serve me all of my meals, then yes, my food would become very expensive yet people expect it to be otherwise when they dine out. You can’t change the labor or energy costs so the “value chain” lowers the quality of the food; Yum.

          • Happy Farmer

            Thanks for the answer “Kevin”.
            Oh , sorry. I just re-read you comment and it does not answer my question. Quite typical of your responses to deflect.
            Where’s the proof to your claim in light of my question?

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        … The safety record says GE crops kill neither.

        • Harold

          The hospitals speak volumes about any food safety record. What safety record are you looking at that is drawing a distinction between GE and non-GE. Is it the imaginary distinction that because people do not drop dead immediately after consuming GE it must be safe? The experts cannot seem to find a cause to many illness to eliminate that cause; they can only find a treatment. If the experts do not know the cause but yet there are many sicknesses and only treatments, then what possible safety record can you possibility have in your possession? If a safety record does exist, its existence would prove a reduction in sickness and that model would be used by every hospital. Your so called safety record is merely no safety record at all and that satisfies you as being a founded proof. A safety record proves an injury and proves the elimination of the cause of that injury; that is a safety record. What is the depth of recorded history – that is the record – and what do you find. Tobacco had a long standing “safety record” which was only a user-ship record which is having no safety record at all. The safety record was produced at the time (day one) it was discovered that the people were dying from tobacco use. The cause and prevention understood – no treatment.
          Until you can find a harm that GE causes, there is no safety record, only a industry kept illusion.
          “The safety record says”…..? Really?

        • ed

          And you believed that. Whoa!

      • Damo

        What? How?

      • ed

        Yep!

  • richard

    Of course eating real food is about status… status of someone who actually gives a damn about their health and well being……. And its gotta be better than eating crow….. something Mr. Folta et al have become quite adept at….. Spitting out pejoratives like organic, kale, transformation, religious, elitism…..is just more tired sophistry from a cult of corporate missionaries who’s theology captures no ones imagination but their own. If it was really so clever it would not be costing taxpayers of Europe and North America alone, a hundred billion dollars USD a year to sustain the illusion of progress…..People want clean, nutrient dense food Kevin…..that’s the zeitgeist…..go to the light… it will liberate you!

    • Keith Duhaime

      Funny how any time I challenge one of the gullible local fools that choose to waste money on ‘certified organic’,’non-GMO’,’gluten free’ for their health that when I challenge them to come join me for a basic 10 mile run or to hit the gym and pump some serious iron they always seem to have else to do. And I am talking people literally half my age.

      • richard

        Funny I was fuelling my half ton up the other day and the guy across from me was filling his Lexus with premium petrol. I asked if it gave him superior performance….. He said ” cheap fuel leads to poorer performance and shortened engine life”…….As he pulled away and into the drive thru line at Burger King on the same parking lot.I wondered to myself if alpha dog tales of strength and superiority are why agriculture continues to find itself with its head stuck firmly up its ass……..Food is sacrosanct pal, its 2018!

      • Kevin

        I am over 65 and you would not have much of a chance to beat me in the health and strength departments. Non GMO is the way to go.

        • Harold

          As I do, you know of a time when all thing were Organic and therefore you can see right through the BS of GMO. You also know of a time when sickness amongst the elderly and people generally at large where often times rare and the pharmacy was not a supermarket helping people to get through a single day; Drug stores sold more comic books than they sold drugs and elderly and 50+ didn’t walk around sporting sacks of pharmaceutical drugs. You know strength and health better than this generation of people do who were born into sickness and believe sickness is the normal human existence.

        • Damo

          Didn’t know that science was determined by fisticuffs.

          • Kevin

            If it was there would be no GMOs. I think you brought the subject up, not me.

      • Bruce

        I have a problem trying to figure the reasons behind people like Keith Duhaime being anti organic. It has been proven 100% that the price of wheat today is the same as 1980 because of overproduction. So without organic farmers there would only be more wheat ruining the price of wheat. Makes no sense then at all to be anti organic.

        • richard

          It makes sense when you see your life flashing before your eyes…. being made obsolete in your own time by people you despise….. learning suddenly that everything you know is wrong……..

        • ed

          Having a collective selling agency kicked the hell out of that as well. Many farmers fought to have that happen. Now they are growing magic beans and destroying their soil as tgey go broke. Smooth planning there!

      • Harold

        I assume that you think that everyone that eats as you are is also exercising in the same manner as you are and are just as capable. Is muscle and tone developed by what you eat or is it developed by what you do? Your challenge is a nothing burger and has more to do with illusion than it does with anything else.

  • Robert Howd

    My concept of status is to be known as one who shops knowledgeably, based on nutrition and value. That means almost always passing up the foods labeled “organic” and “non-GMO.”

    • Harold

      Nutrition is the only value, so why have you separated them? Does your body gain health from consuming “value” money? If you are sick can you eat a lower price “value” and get well? Nutrition has nothing to do with money and the only reason to eat – is nutrition, and nutrition is simply replacing what the body has depleted in the act of living. Nutrition turns off the sensation of hunger and water turns off the sensation of thirst. Passing up the labels “organic” and Non-GMO in favor of a lower price is not evidence of the knowledgeable; it is evidence of one whose primary concern is to save money. What does Organic or NON-GMO lack in nutrition that is made up for in GMO products? How do you get past your own garden at home? What is it labeled; Local? Is your home garden treated a little different than the commercial gardens? Does the commercial garden have more nutrition than your own home garden? Residual pesticides are not nutrition and Organic is genetic and its genetic modification does not guarantee health any more than the original state but failure and risk is only relative to the genetically modified; not the original state..
      Nutrition is the value no matter what you pay and a lower price does not represent knowledge; only a fatter wallet.
      Here is something for the “knowledgeable”. The organic label is affiliated or owned and controlled in the most part by the same corporations who also own and control GMO. Do you see a little profit fixing and profit steering going on here? No? Yes, even PepsiCo owns a piece of the “organic” pie and so does Cargill and a host of other major corporations who are selling and pricing from out of both hands; left and right. The “value” that you are expressing is only the expression of the corporation’s ability to steer you and nothing more.

  • Keith Duhaime

    This article reminds me of a joke. How can you tell which one is the vegan in a crowd? Answer: Don’t worry, they’ll let you know.

    Seriously, as for the status of organic food consumer = the idiots that slept through high school science that the rest of us provided the opportunity for them to learn something from via our taxes.

    • Harold

      Do you believe that you actually told a Joke? How will I cook for a Vegan if they don’t tell me exactly how to prepare their food? If I am serving Beef, what will my Vegan guest eat? Is my guest supposed to bring a lunch pail of food and that is how I make the vegan welcome to my food and table? You have only told a joke if all social manners have escaped you.
      You have an interesting comment about high school. Is the cream of the scientific crop scooped out of the high schools or are they still being scooped up from the higher or highest levels of the University? What did you learn in high school professorship to set yourself above the ones who so called slept to aide you when shopping in the supermarket? Low price good – high price bad? I suppose that you would also have me believe that high school has taught you that if Organic were cheaper, you would choose the higher priced GMO instead. I suppose you would also have me believe that the choices you make have nothing to do with money. Because you opened with the word “seriously” am I supposed to believe that every word following is of a critical examination? If so, I didn’t find any critical examination at all or in the very least. However, to your credit, obviously high school did teach you how to insult the people who have made choices that differ from your own.

    • Savvy?

      Your joke reminds me of another joke. How can you tell which one is the non-vegan in a crowd? Answer: Don’t worry. They’ll tell that same old lame joke about vegans.

      • richard

        Did you hear the one about the two agronomists……one asked the other whats the difference between ignorance and apathy? The other one answered….I don’t know and I don’t care…

  • MrLeebooher

    You don’t need to have a PhD to figure out that foods genetically modified to resist pesticides that are one chemical element short of Agent Orange are going to F you up a little bit now and forget about your future. Facts are facts so anyone that thinks Big Agriculture has your back and only wants to healthy think again.
    It’s all about profits and shareholders.

    • You also don’t need to have a PhD to figure out that “one chemical element short” means absolutely nothing in science. It indicates the chemical structure is different, therefore it is different. Your use of the name Agent Orange is a scare tactic. There are popular scare stories on the Internet that declare margarine as being “one molecule away from plastic,” which mean as much as your statement of genetically modified foods being “one chemical element short of Agent Orange.” It’s all about trying to scare people with conspiracy theories about “Big Agriculture.”

      • Keith Duhaime

        Let’s not forget that carbon, the basis of all life as we know it, is one chemical element (nitrogen) away from being cyanide.

        • Robert Howd

          And carbon is one atom away from carbon monoxide!

          • richard

            And critical thinking is a billion atoms away from willful ignorance……but you know theres a tectonic shift taking place when the very mention of the “O” word elicits apoplectic blowouts from a generation of worn tire casings whining down the highway of science…….

      • Harold

        Interesting; you like others throw the words “conspiracy theories” around as though every issue of your taking points and every issue in nature have already been examined thoroughly and have previously been decided by some great mind who is perhaps god like. Is that your “scare tactic”? If you don’t adopt the thinking of the PHD you will die? I do know that – that thinking – earns the Industry a lot of money and feeds the wealth to the Elite. On the other hand, the scientists are “poor” in contrast, and are begging for money and handouts from the Industry and more so, handouts from the government. (taxpayers) Can you explain the discrepancy? Nonetheless, it seems that you, like most, have confused technology with science and believe that the two are the very same. To be confused feeds the hands of industry and the Elite who profit by the Industry led confusion. Margarine is a technology – and not science. Science dismisses the technology when the technology is proven harmful by studying the “guinea pigs” (agent orange, PCB’s, and a long list) which most often are humans. For instance, Canada has banned, or have severely restricted, over 500 chemical ingredient technologies that were for the use in cosmetic products which would leach through your skin and into your fatty tissues and blood stream and to your organs, including your brain and this doesn’t include cleaning product chemicals, food chemicals, pesticides, industry chemicals, pharmaceutical chemicals, which are now banned and the further discoveries of technologies that at a future date will also be banned. How did these chemical technologies get into the market in the first place and who is/was producing them; safe science? What human body needs 500 cosmetic chemicals, not to mention the chemicals which are now in use and are not yet banned? Is the world a food producing company or a chemical producing company? How many chemicals does a Human possibly need to get through a single day? Did the public ask for this sickness or to be the industries Guinea pig? Have the great minds of the PHD’s and scientific community had a hand in empting out all of the Hospitals or are the Hospitals still spilling over the top with sickness – for all “science” really knows about our Nature? If science continually comes up with an “unknown cause”, then how deep do they run and what do they truly know that matters? It is interesting that the answers to toughest questions are still an unknown yet people still hang their hat on a PHD unaware that the PhD is only a journey that has no predetermined destination other than into the unknown; the unknown directs the known. Did nature evolve because a man with a PHD was creating it and guiding it or is science merely the event of playing the record backwards to determine all origins? What does science know about DNA to determine all of nature? Can they create DNA yet or even instruct RNA? To create DNA they need to have control and keep control of the life force and instruct the life force (energy) to adopt the elements presented. In other words, they create something from nothing by using none other than an energy source and directing it.
        If nature had not provided the original seed, science and technology would be dead in its tracks and the technology of messing around with its properties impossible.
        Exactly who is BIG Agriculture? Does my ordinary singular house plant qualify as big or is there nothing of great depth to discover within it? Can science duplicate that original seed from nothing or do I have to wait for the original plant to do it? Can science take a GMO seed and change it back to the Original State seed? Good luck with that if you believe that Science is that elevated.
        All aside, what do you think is your personal margin of error in all matters of life and agriculture and nature? Do you think that it is any different for a scientist?
        Back to margarine vs butter. When you can show me the elements that make up a tub of margarine oozing out of any of natures mammary glands, perhaps then I will consider “one molecule away from plastic,” as having anything to do with a “scare tactic”. The hype of margarine is in fact a scare tactic used to lead the public away from natures mammary gland and into the realm of an Industry produced cheaper petroleum substitute. It’s not about health; it’s about the money and they make their money on the fear of butter and the willingness of the public to spend less money. Moreover, have you considered why the body maintains the temperature that it does and creates a higher temp (fever) when sickened? Does the body do this because science discovered it? Has science been able to prevent it or have they been able to tell the body the split second in which to protect itself and heat up? Today the body, as always, is speaking louder than the science so therefore, what can be the propaganda; the body?

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        Besides that, he counted wrong. There are more than one “chemical element” short.

      • Savvy?

        Margarine is far from healthy…not the best support for your argument.

      • ed

        Yes, if your reasearch makes you think that your food is poisonous and will cause you illness and cancer, do as the science says, eat less of it…..Alot less….And that is what people are doing. Knowledge is power and bullsh_t propaganda is, well, dare I say it again.

        • richard

          ….or put another way…… money talks and [bs] walks……which is why intelligent people are more than happy to pay real money for real food

        • Well then, if “your research” makes you think your food is poisonous, then how about providing some examples of this “research?”

          • ed

            Google should keep ya busy.

      • H2O

        H2O2

        One molecule different. Very different chemical properties.

      • MrLeebooher

        When you have to modify any vegetable and or food to be resistant to chemicals that are proven to cause cancer you have something seriously wrong with what you’re eating and that is a fact that is Undisputed

  • Dayton

    So flood the market with Gluten free bread and Organic Kale. Then see what happens. It’s working for most other commodity’s.

    • ed

      Yes, high quality does sell.

  • RobertWager

    Small problem. “organic agriculture can only possibly feed four billion. i don’t see two(now 3.5) billion volunteers to disappear” Norman Borlaug.

    • richard

      Big problem…..we cant feed the seven billion we have right now and there are no volunteers…….but there are many who die in spite of your techno fantasies…..And I anticipate no adult conversation here to address that fact….

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        Baloney, We can grow the food. we just need gov’ts, warlords, and anti modern ag folks to get out of the way

        • Welderone

          But Eric the whole problem is solved. The world already produces enough food that no one must go hungry. Probably with still billions of bushels left over with a grain such as wheat. You are right civil wars are a major problem. Once this problem and poverty are corrected. A lot of these countries that want food aid. Can simple produce their own food.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            While getting the vermin out of the way would be wonderful. There are still pockets where growing their own and thus gaining food self sufficiency would be a problem.

          • Harold

            A lot of countries would not need our help; if they had democracy and a cheap energy source they would produce their own These countries are kept starved to benefit the profits of the super rich Elite who have enough money to clear the world of debt and feed the entire planet. The war mongers are not the visible ones threating war or doing the shooting, they are the ones who are holding the worlds money in their own hands.

        • richard

          ….like I said…we cant feed seven billion….

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            More nonsense. We can grow it. We already are close. We just need to get the vermin mentioned above out of the way. Less folks like you would help as well. Production needs to improve in food insecure areas. The next group of GE release will be of great assistance with this.

          • richard

            ….yeah, I know the usual projection, invective and nozzle head pipe dreams… but even with a hundred billion wasted annually on agribiz delusions of efficiency, the hungry still starve…..Kinda makes you who the vermin is???

          • ed

            You will go broke doing it that way. Get out of that sand box. That us not sand, it is kitty litter.

          • ed

            Nobody intends to do that.

        • ed

          Good luck. Monsanto is standing along side them.

    • Dayton

      Thankfully the consumer has one thing that is diminishing in modern agriculture…”OPTIONS”. Let them decide.

    • Kānāwai Māmalahoe
    • Harold

      Robert, you know that GMO is an organic that has been genetically modified and that GMO is organic. Based upon what you already know I wonder why you cannot decipher the BS of the nothing burger quote. Does the misinformation about Organic earn you some Industry talking points, because if you think that it does, you haven’t realized why people are “hanging up the phone”.

    • ed

      No, organic sustanable yeilds are actually much higher when looked at in nutrient densities. Considering that the planet produces 10 times more bulk commodity food calories annually than the worlds people could eat annually that is a moot point anyway. More production just drops the bulk commodity prices even further below the cost of production and not only impoverishs farmers, it actually enslaves them. Of course that is the plan and with much mis-information and lack of real education rural fenceline to urban picket fence it is working well. That will not change to quickly, if ever.

  • Dr

    Is it status to insist on having the choice of what we ingest and what we don’t?

    When pesticides are in the environment and fertilizer is wasted and runs into our water some people don’t want to drink the kool aid Mr Jones

  • old grouchy

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm – – – if food is a new religion I would suggest that farmers treat it as a new religion. History has shown us that every new religious group is very much like the group they broke off of in about 70 years. The organic movement is about 40 years old. That means there is about another 20 to 30 years of spouting and by then they will be us.
    Easier, less stressful and not so expensive.
    Funny food movements seem to last even less time. Thinking of the Atkins diet, the grapefruit diet, the protein diet etc most of those have about 5 years and then their sell buy date seems to hit. Then its on to the ‘next big thing’. Funny how most everything in moderation is such a bad thing!

    • Bruce

      But old grouchy. Using your thinking. Seeing that organic was the only way all grain land was farmed. It is only a matter of time before all grain farmers are organic. Easier, less stressful and not so expensive.

    • Harold

      Organic is as old as the beginning of life is and GMO is simply altering a organic, but GMO remains an organic and that is the only difference; Natural organic state and altered organic state. A food fad is a food fad and is the same fad as drinking a can of soda unaware of its content. The date in which a fad fails is the same date that sickness occurs. There are many deceivers but the body will never be deceived. Deceive the body and you get sick, remain sick, or die.

  • Savvy?

    “Take one category of food status: the vegetarian. When someone becomes a vegetarian they rarely stay quiet about it.” That’s because people keep offering them meat. And asking them why they don’t eat meat. Stop being curious, and they will magically stop talking about it.

  • Denise

    Yes, please feed us what we want. We can’t all plant gardens in our back yards or afford to buy nutrient-rich foods to keep our families healthy. Obesity, cancer and Type 2 diabetes are rampant in North America.
    http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2017/mar/9-2

    • ed

      Yep!

    • Farmer_Guy

      How predictable of you to post an activist blog

      • Harold

        What is wrong with being an activist? How do you do something right in the face of a perceived wrong if you don’t act? Do you somehow believe that your comment is not activism? Do you expect someone to always speak and act on your behalf or will you resort to action and do those things yourself? How does it help Denise by going to the GMO activism web sites; will she find the same information? Perhaps the root word of activism has escaped you in all of your distain. ACT, ACTIVE, ACTIVISM. What did you act upon? Yes, GMO sells GMO and Organic sells organic and both are active; are we a little beyond predicting now?

  • Yes, people make food choices for elitist, tribal reasons.

    When dealing with such people, it’s amusing to agree with all of their delusions, admit that you too were once an orthorexic kale fiend, and then suggest that the *really* cool kids have left all that common hippie nonsense behind. To be truly elite is to let science rather than folklore guide your eating choices.

    But spare them the details of all the peer-reviewed articles you’ve read from referred journals because they need some magic to explore.

    • richard

      You must be referring to the peer reviewed journals that led to the “magic” of dioxins, PCB’s, BSE, BST, CWD, antibiotic resistance, weed, pest and disease resistance of agritoxins…….watershed contamination of nitrates, phosphates, pharmaceuticals and ritual animal abuse…..feed the planet mythologies, voodoo economics, overproduction, eight hundred million undernourished……and an aging caste of reactionary white males who look out their cubicle windows to witness the walls of Jericho coming down before their eyes…. and that just scares the hell out of them.

      • Harold

        I don’t think that he is referring to history at all: I think that he is waiting for a scientific peer review of history.
        It is interesting to note that at the top of his preferred food chain is an elitist tribal organization who are solely dependant on peoples food choices to survive; Those with a stiff neck would benefit from a second set of eyes placed in the back of their heads.

        • richard

          “Just because theyre paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get them” (Groucho Marx)

          • Harold

            Why didn’t Groucho Marx say – just because they are NOT paranoid it doesn’t mean that someone is not out to get them? Would the focus have been too sharp? We do get scammed even though we believe that our eyes are wide open and paranoia, if there is any, seems to follow right after the scamming until such a time as there is resolve. Groucho Marx used a little word play for humor but for this, Marx missed the Mark. I have found no value in his quote.

    • Jorge Menendez

      What do you mean by elitists? For all the Borloug lovers, Norman is dead and so is support for BigAg. People are Supportting their local organic growers instead. Back in the day folks like Dick Bennet called us hippies. Now they call us elitists?😂 Are these symptoms of BiPolar? Manic? Serious man. Do a quick internet search for local grocers selling local organic foods. Or come to the farms. You can Search for local organic growers ar localharvest. Many winter organic growers up north are using solar power to heat greenhouses. I spent three months working in Detroit in the winter. They are providing fresh-picked organic foods to folks ib Detroit, Cinncinati,Chicago. And fwiw, many BigAg promoters have an angry uppity vibe. That’s a big turnoff. Come to Homestead and get your hands dirty with us. Learn some real science by working with the land. You limit your knowledge supporting only the studies that support your platform. And lose the name calling. Fearmonger is getting as okd as some of the people pushing this heavy shovel of bs.

      • richard

        The trillion dollar fifty year campaign to morph the machinations of war… into war on Nature…. normalizing bad food, bad health,and pharmaceutical dependence…..has been shipwrecked by a rogue wave of exponential common sense generated by the intrepid winds of change………They cant help you, theyre drowning…..

      • Heh, he called me Dick,

      • hyperzombie

        Many winter organic growers up north are using solar power to heat greenhouses.

        LOL, up North? Like where up North? Southern Mexico is “Up North” to people in Costa Rica.
        No one is heating a greenhouse in the winter in the nothern US or Canada.

        • Harold

          Edmonton Alberta has three huge pyramid greenhouses in their own river-valley and it operates year around. . You would be better served by saying; no green houses that you know of – because a lack of knowledge is never proof and beyond what you can see in the horizon is not proof that thereafter nothing else exists.

  • ed

    Just like not getting cancer is about status. The richer amoung us have the ability to strive for better education, better homes, cottages, transportation solutions and a better, fuller and healthier life. Their time devoted to education primarily is responsible for that, maybe even organic kale. The chemical agricultural industry only has to pay a bunch of donkeys a few bucks to go out and dispel these protective insights from gaining traction. They can even make people beleive that if they save enough on cheap mass produced chemical laced foods, that they too some day will be richer. Maintaining that the majority of the population is chasing that mirage $$ is not that hard to do, but you do have to stay on it.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Nonsense. seed companies want us to succeed with their products. that way we will buy more seeds. …

    • Harold

      And if seeds become the profit of the chemical corps and they also gain intellectual property rights to the seeds – what then? Have you examined who now owns and controls the seed companies?

  • hyperzombie

    I never said that there were no greenhouses in the North. Just that they are not heated with solar power. The big pyramid greenhouse in Edmonton is called the Muttart Conservatory, kind of an awesome place, one of the only good tourist attractions in Edmonton. I have visited many times, but not since they got rid of the sloths. The sloths were the best part. Anyway this greenhouse is always heated all winter with natural gas. Here is a pic of the chimney.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a6ab0f5edf6710dd52859bf389466bf66620756e2efb065338551c708706de8a.jpg

    • Harold

      I know of the Muttart Conservatory and I even watched as they were being built but thanks for your concern just as well. Your final statement “no one is heating a greenhouse in the winter in the northern US or Canada” does not suggest that that you were referring to just solar energy. The opposite to “no one” is everyone and I doubt that you have a scope on everyone. As I suggested, you would be better served by saying no one that you know of because that leaves you with a reasonable margin for error. There is another green house operating in Lloydminster that uses natural gas and produces year around produce and was introduced to the readers by the WP awhile ago. Shannon farms. The trouble we have in the north is day time lighting and solar power has not addressed this yet. Natural gas is the way to go but government and climate ideology’s stand in the way. Canada is only minus a few inventions and needs a whole lot less of government.

  • hyperzombie

    I know of the Muttart Conservatory and I even watched as they were being built

    Wow, you must be fairly old, and I don’t mean it as a slight, just I remember visiting as a small child and it looked like it was there forever.

    As I suggested, you would be better served by saying no one that you know of because that leaves you with a reasonable margin for error.

    Well no one North of the 42 parallel is heating a greenhouse with just solar. there is just not enough energy from the sun to keep it heated. Just math.

    Natural gas is the way to go but government and climate ideology’s stand in the way.

    Yes natural gas is perfect for greenhouses, not only does it generate electricity the byproduct CO2 is also plant fertilizer. Co Gen is also a great way to heat greenhouses. I think Nova chemicals has a greenhouse that they heat with excess heat from the ethylene glycol plant. Any industrial plant with excess heat, could use a greenhouse to vent that heat for something productive.

    I agree Government is not the solution, they are the problem.

    • Harold

      To answer your thought, I was about 25 years of age when they were built.
      I believe that government in collusion with Industry have always prevented innovations that would take away from them their profits and the government’s ability to tax and for that they are a problem. Government will never willingly vote away any of their power over us and neither will the Industry vote away any of their profit and power; that is the public’s job but we have listened to them and believed their BS and in doing so we are all much more divided and now incapable as coming together as one even though we all have many common goals. They have divided us to conquer us and have done a very good job.

  • ed

    One that is extremely blatant and you may already know about, or possibly not is the cancer rate increases in the populations of second and third world. When you overlay the increase of poisonous chemicals on their food crops from zero, to some, to an unconscionable amount of the poorer nations catching up, over the first worlds cancer charts from decades earlier, you clearly see that the spike in almost every type of cancer mimics the increases that are grafted here. A direct coronation at the exact same timeline markers with only one causation possibility. Pretty open and closed case, unless your mind is closed and not open. Oncologists in North America and around the globe are very up to speed on this well researched issue, as it helps them in their chosen field of work. Better to be informed rather than not be informed is how they look at it. Knowledge is power when it comes to possible solutions here.

    • I asked for examples of your research. You just typed more words which you could be making up out of thin air. Kindly provide a reference to back up your claims about “cancer rate increases in the populations and second and third world.”

      • ed

        You will be able to find it easily if you take a bit of time to look. You could fill libraries with all the concrete evidence that points directly at this, and in fact there are. But like many believe, even in light of this, the greater good is served. Lots of cheap food that will not kill you immediately and a health care system that will try and eleviate your pain and suffering when these food like products finally start to take you out. The same chemical companies are involved with both sides of this equation and the over all efficacy of their products is tragically similar on both sides as well, but extremely profitable. Many unnecessary jobs, and the pyramid power of the majority of the profits to a few very immune corporate entities. The system itself has gone way to far to be fixed as the coverups would unravel too many lies designed ti stay hidden. “We just don’t know enough about it”, ya know. And it would take alot of work, when I would rather be eating toxic plastic food at the lake, ya know. This comes down to individual choice at this point and putting a value on the last 20-30 years of ones life. Not that good food is much more money. It is just that people have to make small sacrifices to find that extra bit in a world where these same companies bean counters are using advertising to tie up every extra dollar that you might have and lend you a few more thru your credit cards or reverse morgages to seal the deal. It is certainly interesting to study this stuff and see how it all comes down. Cool…

        • And still no examples of what you say we “are able to find easily.” Again.

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