This post was originally published on GMO Answers' Medium page.
From minimizing yield loss to fighting diseases, GMOs and plant science help farmers protect our foods and grow more with fewer resources. (Image Credit: GMO Answers)
Food Evolution is a documentary released earlier this year that goes inside the debate over genetically modified foods. To learn more, GMO Answers reached out to volunteer expert Joanna Wavrunek for her thoughts on the documentary and where consumers can find trusted information about modern agriculture off-screen.
I don’t blame you for having questions about modern farming practices and how your food is being grown. People are further removed from farming than ever before and modern practices can be misunderstood.
However, I do encourage you to find credible sources to become more engaged in agriculture.
The recent documentary entitled Food Evolution demonstrates how easy it is for customers to fall into the trap of misinformation. I am confident this documentary will open your mind to genetically engineered crops or GMOs.
When you watch Food Evolutions, think of it like going to the doctor. We trust certain people to provide us with information that will keep us healthy. For example, we rely on a dentist, eye doctor and family practice doctor to ensure we are making the best decisions for ourselves and families.
As a millennial, I know that understanding modern agriculture can be challenging because it isn’t a part of everyday life for most people. My goal is to break it down into terms that my fellow millennials can understand.
Trust in doctors – Trust in farmers
We trust our doctors because they have years of education and experience under their belt. Farmers have many years of experience too. Nearly 97 percent of farms are family owned, which means farmers have learned from their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Today, many farmers continue their education beyond high school to gain expertise and provide new insight to the family farm.
Keep in mind that farmers are producing food for their families to eat, too. They understand their responsibility to grow safe and affordable food for you and me. Food Evolution describes how marketers use scare tactics to break that trust. They trick customers into buying specific products. Don’t be a victim of their marketing strategies.
Improvements in medicine – Improvements in agriculture
We would not want a doctor to be performing surgery on us with the tools they had five years ago. In the same way, we don’t want our farmers to use the same tools and practices they did five years ago either, if there are proven new technologies that are better. We expect doctors and farmers to use the best tools. Many of us millennials don’t want to use the technology from five years ago or even the last update on our cellphone.
GMO crops are an example of a useful modern tool in agriculture. Using GMOs allows farmers to produce food for our growing population on less land, withstand insects and unpredictable weather patterns, reduce food waste and improve air quality. Food Evolution shows how crops looked in the past and then how GMOs have transformed farmers’ ability to grow food in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.
Getting a second opinion – Asking another farmer
Sometimes we need a second viewpoint from another doctor. We want to make sure we are making the very best decision. The same goes in agriculture. It is acceptable to ask another farmer and gain another perspective to make an educated decision about food. It is essential that you ask someone that is credible and experienced. Food Evolution explains how we are fighting for the same common goal – safe food!
Schedule your next appointment – Continuing to engage with farmers
We don’t visit the doctor once and never go again – at least I hope that isn’t the case! We make an appointment annually to keep us healthy. The conversation with farmers shouldn’t end either. Our world is continuously adapting and we should continue to talk to credible sources. Food Evolution is a place to start to learn about GMOs. I encourage you to connect with a farmer to learn more about how their farming practices affect you.
Overall, I want us millennials to keep our reputation of being interested in how things work or, in this case how our food is grown. Give Food Evolution a watch. After that, if you need a second opinion, contact a few farmers in the area. Don’t become a victim of fear-based marketing and always continue to learn more about advancements in agriculture.