It was modern, chemical farming that made urbanization possible. Today 49 out of 50 Americans do not live on farms. Most of those 49 understand little about how food is made, a gap all too obvious when listening to the anti-GMO drumbeaters.
Harold Keyser, who before his retirement worked at NifTAL (Nitrogen Fixation in Tropical Agricultural Legumes, has a brief, line-by-line commentary on the GMO initiative. Note that Professor Keyser spent his research efforts on finding and breeding crops (in his case, mostly trees) that poor tropical peasants could use to increase their incomes without spending money on fertilizer (because legumes fix their own nitrogen).
In other words, Dr. Keyser contributed more to reduction of pesticide use than ALL the organic farmers in the history of Hawaii put together. Which is apparent, once you know the background, from this one comment in his review ("11." is part of the text of the initiative; Keyser's comment follows):
11. Agriculture is a [sic] important component of Maui’s agricultural economy. Organic agriculture is a rapidly expanding sector of Maui’s agricultural economy.Organic food is a rare, costly luxury item in the diet of rich people who know nothing of farming and little to nothing about nutrition. We are able to tolerate this wasteful fad in America because our real farms are so productive that there is enough produced to meet (and exceed) all demand.
Response: Yes, according to USDA’s latest National Ag Statistics Service’s annual survey and their latest Certified Organic Production Survey (Oct 2012), the sales of organic farm products in Hawaii of $7.475 million accounts for 1.2% of all agricultural sales, produced on 2,701 organic certified acres (1,049 in pasture/range), or 0.24% of the state’s agricultural acreage. Data by county in Hawaii could not be found.
Dr. Keyser and Dr. Sally Irwin, two of the most knowledgeable people on Maui about ag genetics, will be giving a talk on Oct. 14 at Maui College. I plan to be there, to listen. I hope the antis, of they come, will listen, too. They have a great deal to learn.
The lecture "History, Future and Science of Genetics in Agriculture" will be from 5 to 7 p.m. at Ike Lea Room 144 Lecture Hall.