Tools & Technology

Genetic Engineering and Organic Farming: An Unexpected Marriage

We try to untangle the great GMO debate with the help of an unlikely couple—a plant geneticist and an organic farmer. 

Episode 203 | October 6, 2015

Celebrities, politicians, and scientists have fiercely debated the safety of using genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food. It remains to be seen whether GMO labeling becomes mandatory in the United States, but there’s no doubt that the “GMO-free” sticker is garnering the prestige and premium prices already reaped by the labels “organic” and “gluten-free.” But what’s the big fuss? And how did this great GMO debate begin?

To find out Distillations goes to the soy and corn fields of Iowa where reporter Amy Mayer hears the perspectives of a few Midwesterners, including two farmers who have found a lucrative niche for the GMO-free crops they’re growing. Then, we’ll talk with plant geneticist Pamela C. Ronald and organic farmer Raoul Adamchak. Together they wrote Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food. And they’re married—to each other.


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy
Guests: Pamela C. Ronald and Raoul Adamchak
Reporter: Amy Mayer 
Producer: Mariel Carr
Music courtesy of the Audio Network