I have been accused of being “pro-GMO” ever since I started blogging about GMO’s last year. I don’t really know what negative connotation is implied by “pro”, but by sharing the fact that worldwide scientific consensus has stated that GM foods pose no greater risk than any other food, and the fact that for about 20 years and over 3 trillion meals served, no illness or death has ever been linked to GM foods…I guess I am “pro” GMO. This in turn does not allow you to accuse me of being “anti” everything non-GMO, because I certainly am not. We are lucky to have the choice of what food we buy, but we all need to learn to respect each other’s choices. Having said that, the fear of food choices seems to have taken over a great portion of society and it seems that a lot of minds are made up: GMO’s are “frankenfoods”, they are “poison”, they cause Autism, obesity, and are the cause of the rise in allergies, among any other piece of ridiculousness they can think of to throw at you. Even though those who are fearful of GMO’s have no proof, their accusations and worries are completely emotional, and it seems that they don’t understand that correlation doesn’t always equal causation. I could just as easily spread the misinformation that organic food causes autism.
You know what really grinds my gears as a blogger? I strive as a mom, a farmer’s wife, a nurse, and a blogger to share what I learn with my readers on my topics of interest. I do this of my own free will and I do not get paid to write about anything biotechnology, vaccinations, or GMO’s, yet any single time I’ve blogged about any of those topics or tweeted or shared on my blog’s Facebook page, suddenly I am called a Monsanto shill. On the flip side, it is not only accepted, but applauded and encouraged for pseudoscience bloggers to spread fears and lies throughout our community. “Oh thank you for telling me that conventional farmers who use GM seeds soak them in poison before they seed them and then douse their fields with more – I had no idea!!! Think of the children!!! ” and other nonsensical statements.
I am sick of this double standard.
It is not fair and it is a slap in my face. There is a blogger out there who has an incredibly huge following and thus a huge influence on tens of thousands of (mostly moms) that follow her. She is a brand ambassador to an organic yogurt company, which chooses to market by spreading lies and fears of GMO’s and the use of pesticides in conventional farming. She also claims that her anti-GMO diet helped with her weight loss, but one could argue that eating non-processed foods and exercising would eventually lead to weight loss regardless. This company has a campaign, which this blogger promotes, for fighting pesticides used in conventional dairy and farming. Try as I might to engage with her positively (she’s blocked me on Twitter from our first interaction back in the spring) and her readers, they either call me a shill (the irony of this accusation speaks for itself), or their new tactic is just to ignore me altogether.
I have said it many times before: I am not anti-organic. I don’t buy it myself because I don’t want to pay the premium for food that is just as good for me as conventional, but if you want to buy all organic — good on you! But if you are anti-GMO, stop trying to destroy and slander the way that we grow food conventionally. Stop spreading lies and instilling fear among your peers! If you want to buy *all natural, organic, free range, antibiotic free, no-added-hormones, and what you deem to classify “better” food — that is AWESOME and we’re so lucky to even have that choice. Our best friends raise and sell no-added hormone and antibiotic-free raised cattle and we love them to bits! BUT, the romantic idea that organic = no pesticides, is just not true. I am not here to slander organic farming practices, I have respect for all types of production in this industry, but the fact of the matter is that organic farming can and does use organic approved pesticides and it’s debatable as to what impact they have on the environment, as is the impact of conventional farming — no practice is perfect! So if your sole reason for buying organic is to get rid of pesticides from your food, you’ve been misinformed or just aren’t aware yet like I once was.
I have tried to reach out to the audience that follows the campaign of “fighting pesticides” and supporting only organic dairy while throwing conventional dairy under the bus, is extremely misleading and playing on the fear of the mother. Speaking of fear, I came across this excellent article recently that starts off like this:
Advertisers and marketing experts know that in the typical household, the woman is the primary shopper. Whether they are selling cars or light bulbs or groceries, they have to appeal to women, their consumer base.
The same goes for organizations selling fear and worry: If they want to attract converts to their cause, they have to convince women to embrace their views and join them in agitating for action. And so it goes for activists opposed to the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), who bombard women with misinformation about food safety.
Yes, yes, YES. That is why I started to speak up on my blog about GMO’s and our conventional farming practices. There is so much misinformation among moms and it has caused so much fear. I write a blog post about an apple that won’t brown and I do not receive many comments or questions from my regular readers because my post immediately gets bombarded with activists calling me names, accusing me of being a shill, even calling me a bad mother. I handle responding to comments with as much respect and grace as I can fathom, but I am sick and tired of the name-calling and the ignorance of not even taking the time to read my post and trying to understand and ask questions.
Then we have people in our own industry, including farmers, that are shaming “agvocates”. We should just roll over, belly up, and submit to the fears and questions that the skeptical consumer has? Fear has become a multi-billion dollar industry and the activists have a louder, prouder, and stronger voice. Yes, there are more effective ways than others to agvocate, but me writing a blog post on my own blog, unpaid, and being subjected to name-calling…that’s okay?
Like the title of this post – can’t we just accept that others have choices and respect those? If you want to buy only organic, or eat fast food every day, or only buy conventional foods then do it. There is no need to spread fear and lies throughout the community in regards to any food choices. I have been guilty, I fully admit of venting a bit and having fun on Twitter with some ag folks on how we could market a new water and sell it to the fearful masses. Our food is getting so over-labeled now it’s hard to tell what’s actually in the package.
It seems that these companies and brands are just trying to sell their product by playing off consumer’s lack of knowledge. Maybe they should label that celery lactose free as well?
*Note: If you market your product in any of the ways I listed in this post, there is a market for your product and I’m happy that our consumers get that choice to buy your product!