The Food Dialogues 2013 was hosted by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers at the 2013 BIO International Convention in Chicago April 22. The name of the program was “The Straight Story on Biotech in Agriculture: The Media and its Impact on Consumers.”
The panel discussion was moderated by Ron Insana, senior analyst, CNBC and financial industry expert and featured the following panelists:
- Emily Anthes, journalist and author, Frankenstein’s Cat
- Dr. Bob Goldberg, plant molecular biologist currently using genomics to identify all of the genes required to “make a seed,” UCLA
- Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., freelance writer, speaker, columnist and radio host, Food Sleuth
- Pam Johnson, Iowa corn farmer
- Michael Olson, Producer/Host, Food Chain Radio
- Jerry Slocum, Mississippi soybean farmer
- Steve Smith, Chairman, SaveOurCrops.Org
Although the discussion was always professional and polite, there were fireworks at some points during the event.
Let the discussion begin!
There were two central themes to the dialogue as I listened in. The first: Consumers need additional information about genetically modified organisms and bio-engineered food. The second: Although GMO and organic food supplies are very different, we need to find a way to co-exist as farmers. No one said one is better than the other, but there needs to be a way for all farmers, no matter what you are growing or producing, to get their jobs done and get along in the meantime.
From the discussion, it is clear there are myths spread on both sides of the debate and this discussion is not going to have a conclusion in the near future.
Instead, the Food Dialogues is giving both sides a chance to discuss the issue and get input from participants through Social Media.
Dr. Bob Goldberg really applied his knowledge and was not afraid to share it with the panel and everyone listening to the event. He wasn’t afraid to refute what others on the panel called facts and he shared his knowledge of what is going on, not only on farms but in laboratories across the country.
Meanwhile, Melinda Hemmelgarn, showed the crowd some downsides to the GMO debate and was always willing to give her opinion on the topic. However, she seemed to want more information before making any final decisions on anything as it relates to GMO’s.
For readers who want to know or read more about the dialogue, check out the Farm and Dairy coverage. It not only gives viewers a look at what was being said by panelists but what was happening on Twitter as well.