by Pamela C. Ronald & Raoul W. Adamchak
Oxford University Press, USA (March 19, 2008)
In modern agricultural politics, organic farming and genetic engineering occupy opposite ends of the spectrum. In the Ronald-Adamchak household, the world is not so black and white. Ronald is a professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Davis. Adamchak manages the student-run organic farm on campus. Together, they’re exploring the juncture where their methods can (and they argue, should) meet to ensure environmentally sustainable food production. Revealing common principles and “leveling the playing field,” this book roughly chronicles one year in the lives of the Ronald-Adamchak family. Through dialogue with friends and family, the authors thoughtfully explore the use of GE agriculture and the concerns expressed by consumers. They discuss the contents of their own largely organic pantry, what they choose to feed their children, and how over the last ten years of their marriage, they have developed a specific criteria for the use of GE in agriculture. From their personal vantage points, Ronald and Adamchak explain what geneticists and organic farmers actually do, and help readers distinguish between fact and fiction in the debate about crop genetic engineering. Loosely organized by season, each section of the book addresses a different issue related to the role of GE and organic farming in food production. Raoul provides a farmer’s view of the philosophy and practice of organic farming and how it differs from conventional agriculture; Pam describes the tools and processes of genetic engineering, as well as the potential ecological benefits and risks of using GE technology to generate new crop varieties. At the end of the book, they describe one of their typical family dinners, explain their choice to bring both genetically engineered and organic food to their table, and share some of their family’s best recipes.
“One of the best, most balanced accounts of transgenic agriculture that I have read.” — David McElroy, Nature Biotechnology.
”They are leading a chorus of young scientists and forward thinkers who see genetic modification not as a threat to sustainable farming but as a new way to make it better…[Ronald and Adamchak] are true believers.” –Forbes