Table of Contents:
- Big Ag goes organic (Come again?)
- Pile of money
- There’s a trillion dollars riding on the global produce market and Big Ag is moving toward a much larger share.
It’s GMO-style breeding — with no GMO technology; natural vegetables — produced in a laboratory, with no gene insertion. Wired lists a 4-step generalization of Monsanto’s methods.
1. Identify plants with recognizable, desirable traits.
2. Crossbreed the plants.
3. Sift through the offspring genome for known markers for desirable traits.
4. Grow only the plants with those markers.
The simple 4-step method papers over a high tech approach (backed with billions of research dollars in patience) toward offering consumers premium produce with a new combo of traits. “Figuring out these relationships takes place at a sophisticated sensory and genetics lab perched amid hundreds of acres of experimental farmland in the rural, sun-scorched outskirts of Woodland, a farming town in California’s ag belt.”
For more, see Ben Paynter’s Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie.
No doubt critics will be howling regardless of whether the Monsanto-developed produce lives up to its promise or not. “Nobody has ever tinkered with sugar levels the way Monsanto is attempting; it’s essentially an experiment, says Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist and president of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition. ‘The only result they care about is profit.’”
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That’s fair enough to point out; there is indeed a donkey-choking pile of money to be made. But Lustig’s argument has a boilerplate drone and can be cheaply tossed against any agriculture company or product.
The bottom line is whether the new breed of produce lives up to it’s promise in the long term — and that’s a question the market will decide.
*Photo courtesy of Wikipedia