Photo by Cyndi Wiggs, Illinois Farm Bureau Photographer
Last week, a team of nearly two dozen people from Chicago boarded a plane and flew to St. Louis for a day of learning at Monsanto’s Research Center. Illinois Farm Families covered the cost of the travel between cities. Monsanto provided transportation to and from the airport, and lunch while onsite at the Chesterfield research facility. The group was comprised of City Moms (of the IFF program), bloggers, dieticians, governmental leaders, and other influential community leaders. The day was full of information and dialogue. Regardless of anyone’s opinion when they left, all agreed that it was a singular experience to visit with the people who are doing the work of biotechnology, instead of those who talk about it online.
The conversations were predictable in nature. The negative rhetoric about GMOs is consistent. The likelihood of impacting opinions, however, is a horse of a different color, so to speak, and certainly not predictable.
Here are a few examples of the general themes of the conversations.
- Roundup causes disease issues in humans, including cancer and leaky gut.
- Bt toxins explode worm stomachs so they must also be bad for my stomach.
- Roundup kills the butterflies.
- Monsanto prevents access to their technology in the developing world.
None of these positions are new. Each conversation about the positions, however, feels new to the people involved. That’s one of the reasons why it is so important to engage in issues like this in a respectful, understanding manner.
To help in the conversations specific to Monsanto and their technology products, the company created a website years ago called www.Discover.Monsanto.com.
Monsanto has recently unveiled a new website called ModernAg (www.modernag.org). It is a different approach, more along the lines of a narrative.
Both websites are worth a look.
To see the latest work of Illinois Farm Families, visit the website at www.watchusgrow.org or find it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Illinois Corn Marketing Board offers support to IFF along with other farm organizations in Illinois.