The Science of Food: Non-GMO Farming


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    Some people praise genetic advancement for giving farmers the opportunity to feed a growing world like never before, but not all farmers want to adopt the technology.

    Instead some producers are seeing a growing demand for naturally grown foods.

    While conventional farmers use a variety of advances, 26th Street Farms in Hastings produces diversified vegetables with no use of technology. The farmers say they always have to keep a close watch on their product.

    Hannah Keen, of 26th Street Farm said, "You constantly have to be aware of all these different products -- everything from an onion to a lettuce head. It's all very different and that's tough."

    Jim Knopik farms on 480 acres and said the demand for non-GMO foods really boomed in the last five to six years. Meanwhile 26th Street Farms only needs one-and-a-half acres.

    The farm is funded directly by consumers. Consumers have invested in Community Supported Agriculture or CSA, and some say it's competitive to get a share of that funding.

    Will Boal with 26th Street Farm said, "We were shocked that we would keep getting inquiries all year long about our CSA program."

    Opting out of using technology both Knopik Farms and 26th Street Farm sell directly to their customers.

    While conventional farmers say seeds are central to their production, Non-GMO farmers say soil is central.

    "It's amazing, you dig up dirt and see life in the soil now," Knopik said.

    In the long run some non-GMO foods may cost more, but farmers say it's a fair game.

    Keen said, "We start the seed (in the greenhouse), we transplant it, we package it and we're there when someone picks it up."

    "Now you can see the demand, you see something click in society now. That it's really rolling," Knopik shared. "Everybody would like to eat organically; I know they don't believe they can because they feel prices are too high, but all I can say is prices are fair."

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