Organic Activists Pursue Utopia at Any Cost

Unless you live in a so-called “food desert,” chances are excellent that you can find organic produce in your local grocery store. There’s certainly a market for organic food in wealthy countries like ours, and that’s a fine choice for those who want to buy it.

But as we’re telling Daily Caller readers today, some on the green fringe are demanding—without the benefit of good science—that technology-aided food should be banished from the supermarket, leaving organic as your only remaining choice:

No one can show a real-world scientific reason to fear biotech-assisted food. But activists sue just about any time regulators — even after careful review — allow the planting of new varieties. Last August these Luddites even got a San Francisco judge to ban the cultivation of biotech sugar beets (which make up a whopping 95 percent of our domestic crop), pending an additional "environmental impact statement."

The result of all this hand-wringing (and hand-tying) will be higher sugar prices. And consumers will pay. Most Americans can probably afford it. But overseas the stakes are sometimes much higher.

The introduction of yield-increasing technology into farming holds the key to stabilizing the risk of a global food crisis, says Harvard professor Calestous Juma. He also warns that organic activists’ knee-jerk assaults on “biotech” crops as threats to farming, food production, and human existence aren’t just unscientific—they’re also reckless:

Modern biotechnology is an important force in global agriculture. But it continues to be challenged by those wanting to limit its spread under the pretext of preserving the purity of organic farming. This is being done despite worrying evidence of rising food prices and the associated political unrest.

Working just one-half of one percent of all U.S. cropland, some organic farmers are insisting they cannot, and will not, allow biotech farmers to plant their crops even two miles away. Juma, an advisor for the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project, notes that this militant “zero tolerance” approach contradicts the organic industry’s most sacred tenets:

Conventional farmers further volunteered to extend buffer zones up to one or two miles from non-biotech seed breeders. The organic industry rejected that offer. Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association, said "there can be no such thing as coexistence" with biotechnology.

Such zero-tolerance runs counter to the organic industry's own rules concerning unwanted inputs, which are based on process not outcomes.

Feeding the world’s hungry and teaching underfed countries how to provide for themselves should be something every farmer can agree on. After all, isn’t that the progressive thing to do?

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