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ELIZABETH HENDERSON – Organic Farmers Are Not Anti-Science but Genetic Engineers Often Are

At one of the public brainstorming sessions for the New York Organic Action Plan, an organic farmer made an impassioned plea for “independent science” and told us that, with 8.5 billion mouths to feed by 2050, we will need genetic engineering to prevent starvation.

I would like to examine these words carefully to decipher what they mean, how they are being used, and suggest how the movement for locally grown organic food in this country should respond.

What is the meaning of “independent science”? As co-chair of the Policy Committee for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY), I have been an active participant in the coalition that is campaigning to pass GMO labeling legislation in New York. In this capacity, I have spoken at public meetings, to the press and on radio interviews. The question that I hear from proponents of biotechnology is: “Why do you organic farmers oppose science, like the climate deniers?”

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