GMO Communication (Part 2): A ripe educational opportunity

Last week I shared some of the personal experiences that have shaped my understanding of GMO perceptions. This week, I will be talking about the importance of biotech champions, and some of the most important lessons we’ve learned for effectively sharing information on GMOs in a way that resonates with a wide, diverse audience. Bridging the communications gap In January 2015 Pew Research found that 88% of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) say GE foods are generally safe, but 57% of U.S. adults aren’t so sure. Months earlier, the International Food Information Council (IFIC)
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Joanna Sax: GMOs – Science battles with the public again

Joanna Sax, PhD, JD, is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and a Professor of Law at the California Western School of Law in San Diego, and we are very pleased to share a guest post of hers on the disconnect between public opinion and the scientific community when it comes to GMOs: GMO foods are fighting a hard battle with the public. Some concerns by the public may be warranted, other concerns have no factual basis.  We have a problem with our food supply. Children are dying of starvation.  Not only do we need more food, but
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Neal Carter: Perception of biotech foods boosted by consumer benefits

There’s no question that farmers are well aware of the benefits biotech crops can offer, as ag-biotech is the fastest adopted crop technology in history with 18 million farmers currently growing biotech crops worldwide. Consumers, on the other hand, have not yet seen many direct benefits for themselves, nor have they been the focus of educational efforts until recently. OSF president Neal Carter explains, in an opinion piece published by Fresh Fruit Portal, that the rise of educational efforts, and the “next wave” of biotech crops with direct benefits for consumers will help foster a positive shift in consumer perceptions
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Q&A Series: Agvocate Dr. Cami Ryan (Part 1)

Many readers of this blog are likely familiar with Dr. Cami Ryan, an outspoken advocate for farmers and agricultural innovation, especially biotechnology. For those who don’t know her, be sure to check out her blog and @DocCamiRyan on Twitter – her experience in agriculture and expert communications skills make her well worth following! Dr. Ryan grew up surrounded by agriculture in the Canadian prairies and earned her Ph.D. & Bachelor in Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan. She passionately writes about agriculture, exploring the relationship between consumers and the food they eat, and thus, is the perfect person to help
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Misperceptions of consumer intentions

When General Mills announced they would be removing all biotech ingredients from their original Cheerios®, it was a pretty big story. The media loves controversy and the anti-GMO critics appeared to have won a major battle. In reality, though, the opposite may be true! A number of recent articles have shared some interesting news – making Cheerios GMO-free has done nothing to boost sales! This comes on the heels of reports that Cheerios and Grape-Nuts (which also recently switched to non-GMO) are now “certainly less nutritious” than before and have lost vitamins like B12, D, A and Riboflavin and sourcing
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Apple industry leaders can’t wait for Arctic® apples

After a decade of real-world experience in field trials, Arctic® apples are quickly approaching deregulation in the U.S. and Canada. And, while we’ve previously covered some of our consumer research showing that the majority of apple eaters can’t wait to enjoy nonbrowning apples, we also asked a number of industry leaders for their thoughts. As you can see for yourself below, they can’t wait either! From November 2006 to February 2007, we had a third party communications company conduct 40 in-depth interviews with leading members in the North American apple industry. Those interviewed included growers, packers, processors and more. All
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The Promise of Biotechnology

Last month’s issue of Produce Business Magazine featured OSF’s own Director of Marketing & Sales, Jennifer Armen. In the publication’s “Voice of the Industry” section, Jennifer, a 30-year veteran in the specialty crops arena, discusses the success of biotech crops and the benefits they can offer the produce industry. Some of the article’s highlights include : Why ag-biotech is the fastest adopted crop technology in history  How we can overcome consumer resistance What kinds of biotech crops, particularly fruits and vegetables, are on the horizon The need for more education and outreach And, of course, OSF’s nonbrowning Arctic® apples! You can
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Britain banging on biotech’s door

Last year marked an unprecedented 100-fold increase in acreage of biotech crops planted since 1996 (420 million acres in 28 countries – 20 of them in the developing world). And yet, despite all the evidence over this time demonstrating the massive benefits and conclusive safety of these crops, many countries are still woefully resistant. However, the dam now appears ready to break in trend setting UK. Britain has long been opposed to growing biotech crops, yet Prime Minister David Cameron recently talked about the positive shift in the UK’s attitude towards the technology. He emphasized the importance of fostering a
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The Lowdown on Biotech Crops

It’s always great to see individuals take it upon themselves to develop well-rounded opinions of agricultural biotechnology. Former biotech opponent Fourat Janabi (@fouratj) has done just that by not only reaching out to scientists like Kevin Folta (@kevinfolta) in a Q&A we shared last month, but also by interviewing family farmer Brian Scott (@thefarmerslife). His third and final Q&A on the subject is with our own President, Neal Carter! The Q&As are useful sources of information because they complement each other well. They each provide a different perspective on ag-biotech. “The Lowdown on GMOs with a Scientist” covers misinformation about biotechnology, how non-scientists can differentiate
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Working with the apple industry towards a shared goal

We’ve been growing apples in the beautiful Okanagan Valley for 18 years and have loved every minute of it. More often than not, we’re up before the sun in order to look after our fruit, and if you read Louisa’s post from last fall you know that we truly embrace the orchardist lifestyle. We didn’t found Okanagan Specialty Fruits because we don’t like apples the way they are, or to make a quick, easy buck (believe me when I say that nothing is quick or easy about bringing Arctic® apples to market!). We did it because we’ve seen declining apple
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