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  #41  
Old 23 May 2014, 01:21 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
Not that that means the food supply system is what it should be, but it is widely accepted that it is much better than it was several decades ago.
Depends how you define "better". Yields are up and sustainability has been improved. However, practices that rely on coal and oil or other non-renewables - as we all do now - are not necessarily going to remain high-yielding and sustainable. So far at least, GMO's haven't helped much and change very little about this problem of sustainability. People can keep saying they have the potential to feed billions more (and I don't disagree) but until it happens that's just so much talk. So before we talk about sustainably long-term high-yield agriculture in the developing world, we should show it can be done anywhere at all. You don't synthesize fertilizer in a solar cell or a nuclear reactor; it takes raw materials. No one has yet made a breatharian GMO food, either.
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  #42  
Old 23 May 2014, 06:07 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Canada Are Organic Apples At Risk of Being Redefined As Contaminated?

There is an interesting new "GMO" apple nearing approval in the US and in Canada called the "Arctic Apple." It was developed by a British Columbia, grower-based organization called Okanagan Specialty Fruit. Certain genes in these apples are turned off so that the fruit doesn't express the enzymes that make the apples turn brown after cutting. You could slice the apples, put them in your lunch or your kid's lunch, and they would still have full flavor, vitamins, and color when it was time to eat them. I think this is a useful, consumer-oriented trait. Predictably, there are opponents for this sort of scientific innovation.

I've written before about this issue before, but in this post I want to specifically address a particular objection to the commercialization of this technology - the concept that the growing of these "GMO" apples could put the local organic apple industry at risk of becoming "genetically contaminated." I absolutely agree that the organic industry is at risk, but not from the Arctic Apples. They are at risk from this new definition of "contamination" driven by the "defenders" of organic, which would unintentionally classify all organic apples as being particularly "contaminated."

http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com...-of-being.html

Warning: contains image of apple sex
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  #43  
Old 23 May 2014, 06:31 PM
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GenYus234 GenYus234 is online now
 
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I'm generally in favor of genetic improvements to produce, but that one seems a bit frivolous.
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  #44  
Old 23 May 2014, 06:37 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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I'm generally in favor of genetic improvements to produce, but that one seems a bit frivolous.
I get what you are saying, it's only cosmetic, right? But as one of the comments in the article - or to the article - points out, if it gets more people, especially kids, to eat fresh apple and get the nutrition of it, then it serves the purpose of allowing the apple to nourish, rather than being tossed out for looking icky.
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  #45  
Old 23 May 2014, 06:44 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
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Glasses

Another new apple is nearing the stores, the Cosmic Crisp. Nearing, in this case, being still 5 years off.

Seaboe
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  #46  
Old 23 May 2014, 07:40 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Depends how you define "better". Yields are up and sustainability has been improved. However, practices that rely on coal and oil or other non-renewables - as we all do now - are not necessarily going to remain high-yielding and sustainable. So far at least, GMO's haven't helped much and change very little about this problem of sustainability. People can keep saying they have the potential to feed billions more (and I don't disagree) but until it happens that's just so much talk. So before we talk about sustainably long-term high-yield agriculture in the developing world, we should show it can be done anywhere at all. You don't synthesize fertilizer in a solar cell or a nuclear reactor; it takes raw materials. No one has yet made a breatharian GMO food, either.
The quantity of food being produced has risen substantially since the '70's. Largely due to better cultivars and to a lesser extent to things like fertilizers and pesticides. Not all new crops are GMOs and indeed the best new crops in third world countries are simply better cultivars.

In the 60's and 70's it was pretty widely accepted that by the early part of the 21st century there would be widespread chronic food shortages since the rate of food production wasn't rising nearly as fast as was the population. The population rose as much as expected, what wasn't expected was that food production would rise much faster than thought possible and has been able to keep pace with the population growth.
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  #47  
Old 23 May 2014, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
I have no doubt that there are agricultural practices that make for better soil conditions and resiliency from drought, flood, etc. While some organic farmers may practice those methods, the methods are not definitional of organic farming or organic produce.
Yes, they are.

The condition of the soil is the very foundation of organic farming. And requirements to protect and improve the condition of the soil are part of current regulations.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx...354.4&rgn=div8

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx...354.6&rgn=div8

(I note that your extensive research into the subject seems to have missed this, which is again utterly basic to organic farming.)

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Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
Right.

Get in a car and drive through the Midwest. You'll pass tens of thousands of square miles of "non-organic" farms. You think they are that way simply because there aren't any organic farms in the vicinity to be the "shining beacon or reason"?

Fact is that if a large percentage of farms went "organic" then they would fail. They would saturation the market with an arguably better product that is more expensive to produce, prices would fall and they would go out of business.
right back at you. Conventional growers have been going out of business in droves over the last century. If going out of business is the argument you want to use against a farming system, I think it's working against you. And by now there are hundreds of thousands of acres of organic farms in the Midwest.

This is still a small minority of the total acreage. But no, I don't think that the reason everyone has not converted at once is solely because the non-converted don't have any organic farms in their immediate vicinity. It's not, however much some people would like to convince the general public of it, just a matter of replacing one spray schedule with another; it's an entire different management technique, which requires a different knowledge base, in addition to in many cases different equipment. Early adopters in any given neighborhood will have the difficulty of working in a damaged ecosystem that lacks many beneficial organisms, and in which any such which they purchase or succeed in breeding on their own farms are likely to be killed by pesticides being used by the neighbors, as beneficials don't respect human boundary lines. For a combination of these reasons, yields are likely to drop for the first couple of years after conversion. Farms with huge amounts of money invested in equipment suited for conventional production, and huge amounts of time involved in learning those techniques, but which are barely managing to make it as it is, are often reluctant to and/or unable to switch systems.

As more growers convert to organic, then to the extent that organic is a more expensive way of producing the given crop (which is true only for some crops and only in some locations), prices of that crop may rise. But to the extent that organic farming is more sustainable than conventional farming, they will rise less than they otherwise will when the disappearing topsoil and mined water tables caused by much of the current system give out. If so many growers converted to organic that it became the default system, the extra paperwork and inspection costs involved could then be shifted to the conventional growers, which would also help even things out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
Yep, and I still don't agree. Better technology will, eventually, reach even the poor countries. Heck, who would have thought that such things as mobile phones and internet would reach them if you asked people just a few decades ago?

We need an efficient food production chain. That's not possible if we can't improve what we do. That means we need GMO.
The posts referenced, as well as others in that thread, point out that farming technology is not the problem. So claiming that "better" production technology will eventually reach additional places is irrelevant even if true. The problems causing current starvation are not in the production chain; they're in the delivery chain. There is absolutely nothing about GMO crops, either current or theoretical, that will improve that.


As far as the apples: from the point of view of those of the consumers who are only interested in what they themselves are eating, the article does appear to make sense. Organic farming systems are taking a wider and a longer view. Apple trees are indeed generally reproduced by cloning, not from seed; but new varieties are produced from seed, not by cloning; and new varieties are continually being produced, both on purpose by seed breeders and by anyone who tosses an apple core into a random hedgerow. Therefore what happens to the seed does matter. What level of contamination should disqualify an orchard from organic status is a fair point of discussion; but to say that it simply shouldn't matter because few people will eat the seeds shows a failure to understand what an organic system means.
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