Modern Agriculture

By • April 20, 2018

Sustainability is a major food trend this year – it continues to enter our conversations, whether we’re talking about reducing food waste and plastic use or producing food in more earth conscious ways. People are asking more questions than ever before about the origins of food and its impact – not only on themselves but also on the world around them. 

Yet, the environmental benefits of GMOs and how they check many boxes for sustainability has largely been missing from these conversations. Contrary to misconceptions, GMOs DO help protect the environment in more ways than most think.

To help spread the word about the environmental benefits of GMOs and encourage people to #RethinkEarthConscious foods, we compiled a few big (well, billboard size) shareable suggestions based on common environmental questions asked on our site.

1. How are GMOs impacting the environment?

Despite widespread misconception, GMOs positively impact the environment. In fact, they are one of the best tools farmers have to protect our water, air, land and even limit the impact of climate change. GMOs are one of several plant-breeding technologies that allow farmers to grow more food using fewer resources, like pesticides and land. In the last 20 years, GMOs have reduced pesticide applications by more than 8% and increased crop yields by 22%.

GMOs also have other environmental benefits, such as reducing food waste, improving our soil, air and water quality.

2. What’s the deal with food waste and needing GMOs to help feed the world?

Producing enough food to meet the needs of a growing global population, while limiting our impact on the environment, is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges of our time.

Globally, around one-third of food produced is lost or wasted (approximately 2.9 trillion pounds per year), according to the United Nations. Food losses affects the environment, food security, food quality and safety, and economic development.

GMOs help farmers minimize these losses.

In developing countries, where resources to effectively control weeds and insects are often limited, GM traits, such as insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, have increased yield substantially.  GM traits can also help farmers produce crops that are more resistant to extreme weather conditions.

3. Do GMOs contaminate the soil?

Genetically modified crops break down exactly the same way as non-GMO crops and actually improve soil health. Again, over the last 20 years GMOs have reduced pesticides applications by 8% and herbicide-tolerant GMO crops enable farmers to till — or turn over and break up the soil — less often. This has increased nutrient-rich organic matter up to 1,800 pounds per acre, per year. Less tilling also means increased soil moisture, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and soil erosion.

4. What is the most beneficial impact of GMOs?

Put simply, GMOs have given farmers the ability to do more with less. They are also helping us solve major food challenges like citrus-greening disease, which is threatening an estimated 80% Florida’s citrus groves, and banana wilt virus in East Africa. Solving these issues on the farms where they start means local farmers can continue to make a living and provide enough orange juice and bananas to fill breakfast tables across the world.

So, the next time you’re engaging in conversations about sustainable foods – remember that GMOs are one tool in the modern farmer’s tool box that can benefit us all and the environment in many ways.

QAfter the Flavr-Savr debacle in the US, will there ever be a GMO tomato, even if it is CRISPR-based and non-regulated by USDA's BRS?

After the Flavr-Savr debacle in the US, will there ever be a GMO tomato, even if it is CRISPR-based and non-regulated by USDA's BRS?

QAfter the Flavr-Savr debacle in the US, will there ever be a GMO tomato, even if it is CRISPR-based and non-regulated by USDA's BRS?

After the Flavr-Savr debacle in the US, will there ever be a GMO tomato, even if it is CRISPR-based and non-regulated by USDA's BRS?
Community Manager's picture

PRESENTATION: Get to Know GMOs

Quite simply, genetically modified crops have given us farmers the ability to do more with less. On our farm we have seen a decrease in use of fuel because we are not in our fields as much; our pesticide use has decreased. We have been able to incorporate

Quite simply, genetically modified crops have given us farmers the ability to do more with less. On our farm we have seen a decrease in use of fuel because we are not in our fields as much; our pesticide use has decreased. We have been able to incorporate cover crops, no-till and other conservation methods more freely because we've been able to control weed, pest and disease pressure better with genetically modified seed.

By • March 21, 2018

The following is an article recently published by Esquire detailing the research of scientists from the University of California Berkeley showing how they used DNA-editing software to create sustainable hops-replacements for brewing beer. 

People make a lot of noise about GMOs: They aren't natural; we don't know what they'll do to our bodies. But if GMOs could save the beer industry, would anyone really give a damn?

 

 

The hops used to flavor beer require a whole lot of water to cultivate. An average of 50 pints of H2O goes into growing enough for just one pint, which is expensive and unsustainable. But you need them to make beer taste like, well, beer. Or at least you did. It looks like scientists have succeeded in replicating that sour, hoppy, delightfully beery taste without using actual hops.

Lagunitas is an example of the many craft breweries that use more hops than Big Beer companies—compare the flavor of a Lagunitas IPA to a Miller Lite—leading to an increased industry demand for the flower, and using up even more water. These genetically engineered hops require less water (and fertilizer). And because they suck up fewer resources, they might also lower the price of beer, just in time for beer prices to get ratcheted up thanks to President Trump's tariff on aluminum.

If breweries start using GMO hops, we could have many more years of sustainable drinking at a lower cost with the same beery taste. All you have to do is pop the tab on a science experiment.

In a research paper published Tuesday, scientists at the University of California Berkeley introduced an alternative to hops. They were able to mimic that refreshingly funky beer taste by altering the genome of brewer's yeast, fusing the yeast with genes from mint and basil plants, the Guardian reports.

The results were so convincing that they taste tested them on employees at the local Lagunitas Brewing Company, who admitted beer brewed with the GMO hops was hoppier than beer brewed the old-fashioned way. The tasting notes? "Fruit Loops and orange blossom," without any "off-flavors," the employees said.

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