The Myth of Safe Pesticides and Genetically Engineered Crops - Problems and Solutions
For 36 years, the EcoFarm Conference has brought together the best people in ecological agriculture to inspire, challenge, and uplift us with a positive ecological approach to the future of agriculture and the food system. The next few days of the 2016 EcoFarm Conference will be a solution-oriented experience on many levels, focusing on soil, water, and human health. This first evening we are presenting an analysis of the conventional agriculture system. In order to change the status quo, we must be aware of the scope and depth of the current challenges we face in the fields, in our communities, and on the planet from mainstream agriculture’s dependence on toxic chemicals and inadequately tested genetically engineered crops. Equipped with this ever more comprehensive understanding, together we will craft a positive outcome that supports our vision of a food and farming system that cares for people and cares for the earth.
Invocation - John Roulac
Author, Founder of GMO Inside, Founder and CEO of Nutiva, Richmond, CA
Ecological agriculture is at a crossroads. Today organic is considered a healthy food choice and accounts for a growing percentage of food sales. Reliable weather and available water are now very uncertain. As climate change introduces new dangers, it also brings the role of soil to front and center. From Sir Albert Howard and Robert Rodale to Rudolf Steiner, our leaders have urged us to honor the soil. As the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere approaches 450 ppm (parts per million), let us understand that the soil can save us. Eco-agriculture can help reverse climate change. We need the renewed tradition of reverence for the soil among small farmers as well as in production agriculture. How will we answer the call?
Genetic Engineering: Failed Promises, Flawed Science– Don Huber, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Dr. Huber spent his career as a researcher in the conventional agriculture system, specializing in plant nutrition and disease prevention. His research led to the discovery of novel soil organisms associated with genetically engineered corn and soybeans. Further research linked these organisms with illness in animals that were fed these crops. Glyphosate and the crops themselves seemed implicated. These findings called into question the safety of genetically engineered crops and the widespread use of glyphosate. This led Dr. Huber, even as he neared retirement, to respond to the moral imperative to make his findings known in a now-famous letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Dr. Huber will share the facts around his findings that reveal the failed promises and flawed science of genetic engineering in agriculture and the dangers of glyphosate, now recognized by the World Health Organization as a possible carcinogen but formerly advertised as an “ecologically safe” herbicide.
Pesticide Residues in Food and Children’s Health – Andre Leu
IFOAM Organics International, Queensland, Australia
Scientific research shows that our children are born polluted by pesticides and other toxic chemicals. A large body of published peer-reviewed research shows that pesticide exposure in unborn and growing children is linked to numerous diseases and health problems. Children are most vulnerable to the harm caused by chemicals. Of particular concern is that the fetus and the newborn possess lower concentrations of protective serum proteins than adults. A major consequence of this vulnerability is greater susceptibility to cancers and to developmental neurotoxicity, where pesticide damages the developing nervous system. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, too, can significantly alter the development of children’s tissues, organs, and metabolic systems. This evidence calls for strategies to eliminate these harmful substances from the food and farming system.
Track and Session Info
Keynote | 8:00 pm
Date and Location
GMO INSIDE, Nutiva
John Roulac is the founder of GMO Inside, a group dedicated to educating people on the dangers of GMO foods. John is respected for his expertise on whole foods, organic farming, hemp agriculture, forestry, permaculture, composting, and the conservation of water and energy. He helped jumpstart the modern home-composting movement in the early 1990s, successfully sued the US DEA to keep hemp foods legal in 2001, and is the author of four books on environmental topics with combined sales of over one million copies. John is the founder and CEO of Nutiva, the world’s leading organic superfoods brand of hemp, coconut, chia, and red palm superfoods.
Research on GMOs. Award winning, internationally recognized scientist, and professor of plant pathology at Purdue University for the past 35 years. His agriculture research is focused on the epidemiology and control of soil-borne plant pathogens, with specific emphasis on microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, and the physiology of host-parasite relationships. His research over the past few decades has led him to become very outspoken against genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetically engineered (GE) foods and the use of Roundup in agriculture in general. Steve Pavich said he was the most vibrant speaker at Acres USA.
IFOAM Organics International
Andre Leu, IFOAM President, has launched a book titled The Myths of Safe Pesticides. Drawing from valid, peer-reviewed science, he challenges conventional farming methods by refuting the often-repeated myths that surround the use and understanding of pesticides. He exposes the dangers of these chemicals and advocates organic practices as the most viable for farming in the 21st Century.