Romanticized Agriculture (Or, what do you think is the biggest misconception?)
The notion that farming without the benefits of modern technology produces healthier food, is less harmful to the environment, and is more sustainable is a significant detriment to the improvement of world-wide agriculture. Groups lobbying against the use of pesticides, GMOs and commercial farming methods have succeeded in preventing some of the world’s neediest farmers from utilizing technologies that would enable them to feed themselves and their neighbors, and to earn a decent living. In addition, these efforts are making farmers’ decisions to use newer technologies and everyday life more difficult.
Numerous acts of vandalism have been committed around the globe to destroy countless hours of research on genetically modified crops. Organizations with a growing support base are exerting more pressure on governments to restrict, encumber or eliminate modern technologies at all points along the food chain. Advocates of alternative farming methods are using grassroots efforts to indoctrinate large populations on the supposed evils of modern agriculture using unsubstantiated claims or biased studies with no depth. The target populations are mostly uneducated about modern agricultural techniques and benefits and succumb easily to these espoused claims.
The short answer to these issues is simply education. However, education in its present system is inadequate to reach more than just a handful of students pursuing careers in agricultural sciences. We must find a way to make a credible and influential case to cause others to look at the evidence. This too must be a grassroots effort but needs to target those with the most capability to sway individual perceptions. We need to start with those who develop high school curricula and convince them to include the topic in science classes. We also need to appeal to and, if necessary, educate those within all levels of government to the issues at stake. This appeal is best done by those in academia, private citizens or especially the beneficiaries of improved agricultural methods.
Wake Forest, NC