Growing more food through technology

Pluot by Gwen Harlow

Pluot by Gwen Harlow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wish that the same fervor to prevent “unintended consequences” could be applied to ALL laws proposed within the Socialist Republic of California.

It seems the wizards of smart in California are at it again, and want to force cigarette-like labeling on food sold in California that was, at some point, was genetically engineered. The plan is to con voters into forcing this upon the agriculture industry through a ballot initiative this November. Here’s a great story with links and back-up data on how dangerous and detrimental to human food production this brain-dead idea is.

Never mind that farmers have developed through time the ability to feed more people on fewer acres, with less water. In short, they’ve been able to do that through technological advances that allow crops to be more resilient to pestilences and drought.

But that fact seems to be lost on those who only want the perfect peach or the shiniest apple in the bin, even though much of the food that is culled at the packing plant because it isn’t pretty enough to be sold at market is perfectly fine for human consumption.

In one shining example of waste that boggles the mind and makes me think about  unintended consequences, I once witnessed at a packing shed in Central California where *pluots (a genetically engineered hybrid of a plumb and an apricot) were being sorted for market. The farmer I was talking with was standing next to a large bin of fruit that was destined for the waste pile. “Why,” I asked, “are these going to be thrown away?”

His answer shocked me as he offered a perfectly good piece of fruit for me to eat and enjoy. It seems that the fruit wasn’t unsafe to eat. No. The culled pluots were simply not pretty enough for American consumers to purchase. What if a larger percentage of this fruit were made available for market. Could it be sold to consumers cheaper because it’s more readily available? “Unintended consequences” anyone?

Technology has also been created to aid farmers in the judicial use of water, which in California and throughout the West is more of a commodity to be traded for high dollars than it is a necessity for irrigating the crops we eat. Over time the vast acreage of tree crops and other permanent crops that once required vast areas of level land in the center of California’s Central Valley, are now being grown quite well on hillsides because of the advent of drip irrigation. Farmers can now irrigate their crops in ways that require the use of less water and, as an added benefit, be able to apply the correct amount of added nutrients to the plants by piping the nutrients in with the water.

According to the initiative proposed for the November ballot in California, proponents claim that the production of genetically engineered food comes with a great price. That price is the “unintended consequences” of… well… they don’t say. They just claim that there are “unintended consequences” of genetically engineered food without offering consequential proof. But that’s par in California’s scare-the-people process of conning people into ceding more of their personal liberties and freedoms under the false premise of security and “right to know.”

What about the “unintended consequences” of less food and more expensive food? Did the wizards of smart who concocted this piece of lunacy consider that?

I continue to find it it interesting that farmers continue to feed more people on fewer acres and on less acre-feet of water than ever.

At what point do consumers rise up and yell “enough!” When do we simply decide that it’s in our best interest to stand back and let the farmers produce ample amounts of safe and delicious food so that the rest of us (including the farmers producing it) can feed our families and ourselves.

I, for one, really don’t mind the fact that someone found a way to make better, tastier vegetables and fruit through laboratory experiments and ultimate FDA approval, as long as the food is truly tasty and nutritious. In fact, I applaud it. I love pluots!

My more pressing concern is the rampant increase of food prices because people think they know better than everyone else and want to force the farmers I trust into practices that will ultimately drive up the cost of the food I buy. And, while we’re at it, can we all just stop with the fallacy that corn is better served in my gas tank (ethanol) than it is on my dinner table? Or have the “unintended consequences” of higher cost of everything that is corn-based and fewer miles per gallon at the pump because of the inefficiency of ethanol not been fully realized by the wizards of smart?

*Pluot© and Aprium© are registered trademarks of Zaiger Genetics, Modesto, California

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