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Marketplace story on “The non-organic future’ roils sustainable food advocates – Part II

Organic leek and chard.
Organic leek and chard.
Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

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Back in May, Marketplace aired a report that began with the provocative assertion that organic food isn’t the future – not if we want to feed everyone. According to a report by the U.K.’s Government Office of Science, “Foresight: The Future of Food and Farming,” given limited resources and exploding population, organic agriculture cannot be the single solution to the world’s food supply. That was the jumping off point for the Marketplace piece, which quite a few listeners challenged – vociferously and voluminously. “Shame on you NPR!” reads one comment. “…the risks of GMOs are constantly ignored by mainstream media, which depend on ad revenue,” reads another. This week, CREDO action sent an alert to its supporters, blasting Marketplace and American Public Media (APM) for providing a soapbox for “anti-organic propaganda paid for by Monsanto.” We spoke with a Marketplace editor at the center of the storm last week, who reiterated that programming isn’t influenced by advertisers: “There’s a firewall between underwriters and the newsroom.” Today we ask: what role can organics realistically play in feeding the world? Might it be necessary to include other approaches as well, such as genetically modified foods? We’ll talk with guests on both sides of the debate.


Kenneth Green, environmental scientist and resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Anna Lappé, author, educator and sustainable food advocate; her latest book is Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It