Category Archives: Farmer Gene

Is a National Fund to Promote Organic Produce a Good Idea?

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Slate recently posted an interesting discussion about the Organic Trade Associations’ requested check-off program. “Checkoff” programs are essentially taxes that farmers pay to a national fund, the revenue from which is used to promote (“market”) the consumption of commodities like pork, beef, eggs, and milk. Checkoff programs’ activities can take the form of generic advertising campaigns, or they can look more like political lobbying. According to Slate, this tax may now be extended to the organic Read More >

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GMO Answers and Ben & Jerry’s Face-Off at the 2015 SXSW

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At SXSW Interactive 2015, Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission Activism Manager Chris Miller and (former) Executive Director of the Council for Biotechnology Information Cathy Enright addressed the question “Can Common Food Goals Find Common Ground?” In an hour long discussion, Enright and Miller addressed transparency in our food system, sustainability in agriculture and the notion of the consumer’s right to know what’s in their food. The panel was moderated by Tamar Haspel of The Washington Post. This Read More >

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G-20 Enacts Plan for Improving Global Food Security

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Agripulse reported that on Monday, May 11, 2015, the United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a statement endorsing a plan to combat food insecurity developed by the G-20 agriculture ministers: “After open and frank discussions, I believe we arrived at a communique that outlines major goals that must be achieved if we are to increase food security in the world. Together, the leaders underscored that food security and nutrition are a top priority for the Read More >

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European Union Lags Well Behind the U.S. in Innovation

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There are many different explanations for the euro crisis: poor fiscal management, loose banking regulation, etc…But one major contributor to Europe’s problems that continues to hold back economies today is a lack of innovation, reported Simon Nixon of The Wall Street Journal. The European Commission’s own “Innovation Scorecard” shows that on almost every measure of innovation, the European Union lags well behind the U.S. and on some measures now lags parts of Asia, while differences between EU Read More >

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Give Your Mom a Color-Changing Petunia for Mother’s Day!

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Nikolai Braun and Keira Havens of Revolution Bioengineering have figured out a way to genetically engineer certain flowers to cause them to transition from one color to another. Together, they’ve created a new breed of petunia that can change from white to red, and back again, whenever you want. Here is how the science behind the color-changing flower works: “Most flower color is the result of anthocyanins, small molecules naturally produced in large quantities by a biosynthetic pathway. In Read More >

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