A Missouri Conference Addresses the Dangers of GMO Foods and the Benefits of Organic Farming

Many of us as preppers are keenly aware of concerns with GMO foods. We’ve heard about the benefits of organic farming and gardening. And we see the need to support those who produce locally grown food. These issues came together at the annual conference held by the Missouri Organic Association, February 5-7, 2015, in Springfield, MO.

How much do we really know about genetically engineered crops? How safe are glyphosates (the weed killing chemicals in Roundup and similar herbicides)? Aren’t modern farming practices supposed to guarantee safe, inexpensive food? The government and mainstream media tell us everything’s OK. Do you believe them?

My guest on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio was Sue Baird, Executive Director of the Missouri Organic Association. (My thanks to Mike Slack, a previous show guest, for putting me in touch with her.) During our conversation we talked about that conference and other topics. It promises to be of special interest to those who want to grow, and perhaps sell, organic produce and livestock. We also talked about the dangers of GMO foods and the use of glyphosates in crop production.

You certainly don’t have to be from Missouri for this kind of conference to be of interest. In fact, as many as 40% of the attendees aren’t from Missouri. Also, if you come across this post and show after the conference has past, you’ll still glean good info from my visit with Sue Baird. Check out my notes from our conversation, listen to what we talked about, and explore the Additional Resources below.


A Note About MOA

The Missouri Organic Association (MOA) is a nonprofit organization seeking to educate farmers and consumers about the value of producing and eating locally grown, clean, organic food. While the majority of members consists of farmers and producers, the number of consumers is growing. In fact, the GMO plenary at this conference was specifically meant for you and me as consumers.

MOA is growing. Sue Baird has been instrumental in revitalizing the organization in recent years. And the annual conferences draw in new members, especially as people wake up to the value of wholesome, safe food.


A Note About the 2015 Conference

This conference offered 54 hands-on workshops and 73 vendors to provide information and products on a wide variety of topics for farmers and gardeners. Such a meeting is a great place to network, too.

You can find out specifics about workshops and sessions at http://www.moaconference.org, but broad categories at the 2015 meeting included…

  • Grain farming
  • Raising livestock and poultry
  • Growing vegetables and fruits
  • Marketing
  • Food policy
  • Consumer education
  • Cooking
The big attraction was the GMO plenary held on Friday, February 6th. It featured world renowned scientists and activists who shared vital information about the dangers of GMO crops and glyphosates.


A Few Notes on the GMO Plenary

Would you believe the use of Roundup has doubled in the past five years? Weeds have developed tolerance to it, which was obviously not the intended outcome.

Glyphosates have been portrayed as harmless. Now there’s real scientific evidence to the contrary. What are they really doing to our soil and environment? Our food supply? Economics? Animal and human health? The featured speakers at the GMO Plenary were there to enlighten conference attendees on these areas of interest. Panelists included…

  • Dr. Robert Kremer–a soil microbiologist, who has done years of research for USDA and is an adjunct professor for the University of Missouri and knows the negative impact of glyphosates and GMO’s on soil
  • Robyn O’Brien–a leading advocate in the fight for GMO labeling
  • Dr. Brian Baker–Founder of Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), on the effects of GMO crops on the environment
  • Jim Gerritsen–President of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, who filed a lawsuit which went all the way to the Supreme Court concerning contamination and cross pollenation of non-GMO crops
  • Steven Druker–Executive Director, Alliance for Bio-Integrity, an attorney who initiated a lawsuit against the FDA for the lack of risk assessment of GMO’s on human health. He’s author of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth.
Sue mentioned a few more presenters, such as a plant pathologist, an MIT researcher to speak about glyphosattes and autism, and others.

As it happens, it may not be science that swings a number of farmers to grow organically. Money could be a big factor. It’s expensive to buy GMO seeds and the chemicals to put on the fields. When crop prices are low, Sue says that’s the time to get the message to farmers that there’s a better way.


A Few Notes on Organic Certification

Sue and I talked for a while about the steps farmers must go through to be certified as organic growers here in the U.S. I won’t try to spell it out here, but there seem to me to be plenty of safeguards to assure that something labeled as organic really is. She has a thorough knowledge about this process because she’s a certified organic inspector who helps determine whether a farmer is truly an organic grower. Sue mentioned there are those who figure out ways to get around the system, but they’re heavily fined when caught.

We also talked about small growers who sell to farmers markets. Can they call themselves organic growers? It’s possible to be organic in practice without being officially certified as an organic producer. Small producers who want to claim they’re raising organic food would do well to stay informed, keep good records, and play fair.


A Note About Listening

Hear my conversation with Sue Baird when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for January 19, 2015. (Right click to download.) Get more info about the Missouri Organic Association’s annual conferences by going to http://www.moaconference.org.

Plus, take time to check out theAdditional Resources below. Read the articles, watch the video presentations, and I think you’ll agree with me that what we know about the negative impact of GMO seeds and glyphosates is nothing short of frightening.


An Additional Note

There are other organic associations around the country. If there’s one near you, support it.

And, by all means, support your local growers. Why should so much of our food come from as far as 1,500 miles away? Find out about farmers markets in your area. Get involved with CSA, community supported agriculture, which enables you to support local growers by buying produce directly from them. To connect with local growers, start with the farm map feature at http://www.missouriorganic.org.


Additional Resources

Sue Baird graciously provided links for most of the following material. You can see her in the Show-Me Ag interview below. Bookmark this page, then come back to view each video.







Previous posts on this site feature other resources and documentaries, and include…


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.