The Dialog Begins: Howard Vlieger, Iowa Farmer and GMO Crop Expert

This is an important presentation, I think most for its honesty. And because it is being delivered by an authentic Iowa farmer, not some fabrication on contract hauled out to speak the corporate line because of the special interest of the parties involved.

The GMO issues are extremely complex. I know this because I have a major in botany/ecology and I’ve been trained in science. I also know of the implications because I grew up farming organically with a mother devoted to J. I. Rodale.

I saw the disastrous effects of DDT. And I’ve lived in farm communities in the Midwest most of my life and felt the extreme social-economic changes. We are at the breaking point with the Monsanto deceptions; even responsible, reputable academics know this.

We’ve gone too far. Science is in no way bad but the short-sighted exploitation of science for private monetary gain and the distortion of truth practiced by unscrupulous business people is. We simply must bring the integrity of science back. This valuable presentation by Howard Vlieger, along with others like it, paves the way to an open dialogue.

I am a committed ecologist and organic farmer. I will argue for natural over engineered methods of farming probably as long as I’m around, but I will never discredit the real value of scientific understanding and responsible application — our cultural advancement depends on it. We are the product of invention but we are also alive because of our sense of justice and our compassion both for each other and for Nature.

The problem is not the science of genetics, it’s the dishonesty by business interests in the application of genetic engineering. And for that reason alone, I will keep fighting the hidden GMOs in our food. But I believe honesty will win out; that attitudes are changing.

“Organic” is the way I was brought up. It is also why I migrated to ecology rather than engineering in school. I will continue to be “organic.” But I will also respect and listen to creditable scientists who fairly debate the GMO issue and openly disclose their research funding sources; scientists who talk science, not propaganda and respect the people who seek long term, less engineered solutions. Real scientists who in collaboration evaluate the long-term impacts on social structures, and equate economic equity, public health and the health of the environment.

There is no quick fix in the resolution of GMO issues. They are definitely complex and both sides need to admit it. However, the negative effects of shortsighted industrial intrusions into agriculture are all around us. And climate change is upon us — no fooling! Therefore, I believe we’ve gone way too far out on a limb with technocracy and we need to get back to the fundamentals of soils, air and water, of animals and plants and their natural interdependence; and that we need to heal and restore our farm landscapes as well as our retail food networks.

The dialogue has begun. Howard Vlieger, Iowa farmer, is definitely part of it. For a while we need to measure real effects. And next time, if we make the GMO leap, we need to recognize the real scope of our actions. Real ecologists recognize when they grab a hold of any living organism, it will most certainly be connected throughout associated living systems — that is good science, not unfounded belief or intentionally-bought research propaganda.

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1 comment to The Dialog Begins: Howard Vlieger, Iowa Farmer and GMO Crop Expert

  • We had the pleasure of hosting Howard for a talk to our members back in Sept as part of our I-522 campaign work. We videod it and put up on our site (http://yelmfood.coop/2013/10/howard-vlieger-grange-now-tube/) – (your quality is MUCH better !). We also got him to talk to a local organic, non-GMO farmer who still had some misconceptions about GMO.
    Both his talks were very illuminating even to those of us who considered ourselves well informed.

    We also had Pamm Larry in at the same time and she was also a great motivator!

    Tom