FOSEP Book Club recently read Tomorrow's Table – Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food

Tomorrow’s Table – Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food by Pamela C. Ronald and Raoul W. Adamchak, 2008

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The FOSEP Book Club met recently at Third Place Books, Ravenna to discuss Tomorrow’s Table, a book that describes the tale of bringing together organic agriculture and genetic engineering.  Pamela C. Ronald is a Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis and is married to her co-author Raoul W. Adamchak who has been growing organic crops for 20 years and is currently teaching organic farming practices at University of California, Davis.  

We had a very lively discussion about organic farming and genetic engineering, the pros and cons of both and trying to glean a better understanding of what they both mean in the context of the food industry.  We also debated whether these two practices can co-exist?  The group didn’t come up with definitive answers, but in the process I think everyone in the group learned more about conventional and organic farming and has a better understanding of genetic engineering in the food industry and what the major issues are going to be as we move forward. 

Some of the other discussion topics were local versus organic farming, and trying to define what “organic” really means and who decides that something is “organic,” as some argue all food produced is organic, so is it more about how food is grown, the tools employed, and whether or not pesticides/chemicals are used to aid the growing process.  We discussed the pros and cons of pesticide use as well – for example, the negative impacts of pesticides on the environment and human health versus the utility of pesticides to increase crop yields and feed the ever increasing world population.

If you enjoy reading and discussing books, please consider joining us for our next book club meeting.  We have not set a date yet, but will be doing so shortly.  There are a couple of books on the docket, including Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud by Robert Park and Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate by Stephen Schneider.

Please check back with the FOSEP website for updated information on the book club.