For two weeks, I’ve been pondering and literally lying awake at night trying to find some direction for my MBA sustainability paper. Now, with the pressure mounting – the paper is due in exactly 2 weeks and 26 hours – I finally feel like I’m getting closer to a topic.
You’ll see, the problem was not that I didn’t know what to write about, rather there was too much. I spent 30 hours immersed in discussion on the role of corporations to create sustainable value, and while only briefly touching the subject, I drew parrallels to the agri-food industry throughout the entire discussion. Our food system is So. Incredibly. Broken.
Where does one start when you want to examine the total value equation on food production? There are so many issues. In a Jerry Macguire-like moment I scribed a state of the union; only to find it made the task of enacting change seem even more insurmountable. If interested, I’ll post this document. In truth, it reads more like a summary of “The End of Food” by Paul Roberts.
Since then, I’ve been on a rollar coaster of agri-food emotion. Too haunted by the Smithfield processing plant horror stories of Food Inc., I numbly stared at the “Only $5” sign hanging above the poultry section at the grocery store. I physically could not pick the chicken off the shelf. Nor could I venture to purchase the sausage or ground beef. My mind flickered back and forth between a conversation with a CFIA meat inspector (ironically re: our class discussion on Maple Leaf Foods), news stories of “pink slime” and my beef and pork farmer friends, working their hardest to make a good living raising quality meat for Canadians. At the same time, I was hard-pressed to have an open and candid conversation with my roommate over why she chooses organic without getting my back up and feeling a need to defend.
How can I be growingly wary of one aspect of the food system and yet embrace seed technology and believe whole-heartedly GMOs are part of the sustainable ag solution? This confusion is only a fraction of that which the general public must feel. I am beginning to understand why the issues become so emotionally charged. When you can’t possibly know all the facts, you fill in the void with speculation and belief.
In two weeks, I’ve come across two young people, speaking out against GMO’s.
Their quest is noble, but my resolve is made only stronger when I see the myths on which their arguments are built. The anti-GMO movement has latched onto them to propel their anti-corporate rhetoric, and I wonder, at the tender age of 11 & 13, are they already too far gone to be educated?
When I ventured to comment on an article “The Only Real Way to End GMO’s” I was berated by readers who clearly weren’t interested in a different perspective. It was deflating, and in retrospect, I should’ve paid closer attention because I wasn’t going to win over any readers in this forum anyway.
So, that was a lesson the GMO vs organic debate is so hot, it probably can not be tackled in one 3000 word paper. So that leaves me to continue to try to narrow the many issues down to something manageable. At present, I’m looking at food waste reduction or the role of technlogy. Looking for reader feedback; if you have a moment to shoot me a comment!