Blogger Betsie Estes: OSF offers transparency, consumer benefits

Betsie Estes, in her own words, is a “Mom, wife, 9-5’er, blogger, Field Mom (@FieldMomBetsie), maid, chef and chauffer.” Over at her blog, Super Suburbs, she shares her thoughts on anything and everything – including agriculture and biotech foods. Last month, she got the chance to see a presentation from OSF president Neal Carter at BIO 2013, and today she shares her thoughts on our company and nonbrowning Arctic® apples:

I have been fortunate enough to have some very enlightening experiences over the past few years, from touring farms to talking to scientists, and along the way I am learning all I can about agriculture and biotechnology. I understand that many people have not had the experiences I have had, yet reactions still surprise me when I write something in favor of GMOs. Readers are quick to assume that I’m in cahoots with a big-name biotechnology company, when in fact nothing could be farther from the truth.Betsie Estes

When people hear “biotechnology” they think many things. Evil scientists. Huge corporations monopolizing the food chain. Small family farmers being taken out of the equation altogether. Meanwhile Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) stands in direct contrast to what so many people believe biotech companies to be. Here’s how:

OSF believes in voluntary labeling of their Arctic apples. The company understands that regardless of the research, people have concerns about GMOs. They understand that transparency is important, and for that reason Arctic apples will be labeled as such as the supermarket.

OSF is a small company. Okanagan Specialty Fruits has just seven employees. Seven. This is not “big ag,” this is a family-owned business just trying to get their product to market like so many other entrepreneurs. 

OSF offers direct, clear benefits to consumers. It’s hard for most people to understand how genetically modifying soybean seeds, which are then used to grow something a person might never eat in its whole form, benefits them. But with Arctic apples, OSF offers direct benefits to consumers by reducing food waste and helping people eat healthier foods.

I was lucky enough to hear Neal Carter, owner of OSF, speak at BIO this spring. I think something very telling about his TEDx talk is that he introduces himself as an orchardist first. He discusses working in poverty-stricken communities, and any listener can tell he truly believes that biotechnology has life-saving benefits. These are not the words of an evil scientist. Carter does not helm a huge corporation, and his six employees are certainly not in the business of eliminating family farms. While many people fear biotechnology and the companies normally associated with it, Okanagan Specialty Fruits is a clear example of how we are all on the same side – just wanting to provide healthy, wholesome food to our kids, and to the rest of a hungry world.

For more from Betsie on biotech foods and their safety, check out this great video, courtesy of Best Food Facts, where she chats with Plant Molecular Geneticist Dr. Sally Mackenzie: 

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