Dan Barber and Washington’s Failure

“It’s not hard to see why organic food is expensive. Farmers have to price the organic carrots to reflect the cost of production in a world designed for them to fail. In the checkout aisle, we wince. A consensus is reached: Organic carrots are a noble idea but not a practical one to feed our growing population.

And yet, these ingredients could be a lot more practical and affordable if they received more than a sliver of research and development investment. From 1996 to 2018, funding for public organic plant breeding totaled $27.5 million. I’m reminded of a multinational seed company executive who once boasted that his company invested a million dollars a day in corn seed research. A million dollars a day! In 27 days he would blow through 22 years of public organic seed investment.

Imagine the advances an organic vegetable breeder could make with a fraction of that.”

Here is a link to Barber, chef at Blue Hill in New York and Future of Food Genius. This is the “race” issue of climate change, health care, job growth, immigration. You name it. The way we treat our food supply – mechanize it, homogenize it and sell it to the highest bidder so we can have the cheapest commodities on the shelves and the highest profits on Wall Street touches so many of our “hot button” topics.

Can we talk about immigration and undocumented immigrants without talking about who makes up the agriculture work force? Can we talk about pollution without talking about the thinning of top soil, drainage of fertilizers and feces, methane produced by overcrowded feedlots? Can we talk about health care without discussing food that lacks nutritional value because it’s been grown in over-fertilized soil? Can we talk about jobs and rural america without talking about the lack of subsidies available for family farmers to grow organically and sell locally?

Can we talk about anti-trust laws or money in politics without discussing that the biggest pesticide companies are allowed to become the biggest seed companies? This is not just the way it’s always been. This is recent and we can do better.