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Monday, February 10, 2014
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Andrew Kimbrell to Discuss Moving Beyond Industrial Agriculture

By Guest Author, Avana Andrade, Yale F&ES '15

On Wednesday, February 12, Andrew Kimbrell, founder and executive director of the Center for Food Safety, will discuss genetically engineered crops as the latest iteration of industrial agriculture. His talk, “Creating a New Food Future,” continues Part III of the Frontiers in Food and Agriculture webinar series, which focuses on genetically modified food and intellectual property in the American food system. Kimbrell’s talk will place the conversation about GM and GE food within the larger context of modern farming, and examine how the future of food really can move beyond industrial agriculture.

As Beyrenevand’s webinar on the Monsanto Rider in the Farm Bill indicated, GE foods raise nationwide and global controversy about the technology’s unknown ecological or human health effects. These concerns are often raised in conjunction with discomfort and anger about the corporatization of the food industry. Repeated legal battles between Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, and farmers demonstrates how the company’s ownership of patented seeds can pose significant challenges for American farmers by making them patent “infringers,” and “dependent on the grace of a single company to avoid liability.” The company, which makes $14.7 billion in annual revenue, continually seeks ways to prevent farmers from saving seeds grown from Monsanto’s stock and is generating wide-spread resentment about its growing “seed oligarchy.”

As Kimbrell will demonstrate, GM and GE foods are one symptom of an increasingly industrialized agriculture drawing wide-ranging criticism from the American public. In the long run, the organic movement may gain greater momentum as a result of an industrial and corporate food system that offers little transparency and yields to consumer demand only after great pain and labor.

Andrew Kimbrell is an author and activist promoting sustainable forms of agriculture. His most recent book, Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food (2006) tackles the current controversial issues of GE foods and the vital need for a more just and healthy food system. Kimbrell is also an international figure in his role as a public interest attorney, and the senior attorney and policy director for the Foundation for Economic Trends. In all of these roles, Kimbrell works to protect the environment and the public from threats posed by global industrial agriculture and faulty governmental policies. Utne Reader recognized Kimbrell as among the world's leading 100 visionaries, and The Guardian recognized him in 2008 as one of the 50 people who could save the planet.

Registration for the event can be found here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/650444167.

To see YCELP’s complete event calendar, including more details about upcoming webinars, follow this link: http://envirocenter.yale.edu/events.

Our final speaker in Part III is Lauren Handel, Counsel at the Food Law Firm, and her talk, “GMO Labeling Laws: Constitutaional Considerations.” Please join us on Thursday, February 27 at 12:00 PM EST for this final webinar before we launch into our fourth and final topic of the series, which focuses on the Farm Bill and the future of farming. Registration for Lauren Handel’s talk can be found here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/804265159.

Avana Andrade is a first year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She earned her B.A. in International Studies and Western European History at Colorado State University in 2010. Before returning to school, she worked as a public historian and backcountry ranger with the Student Conservation Association and the National Park Service in both Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Her work has focused on the history of grazing and cultural resource management in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Canyonlands National Park. Work and recreation on the Colorado Plateau motivates her primary interest in grad school, environmental conflict mediation. Avana is a Colorado native and an avid backpacker and gardener.

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