Post COVID-19 Implications for Genetic Diversity and Genomics Research & Innovation: A Call for Governance and Research Capacity

At a time of significant technological change and digitization in the biological sciences, the COVID19 pandemic has highlighted again the inequities in the research and innovation ecosystem. Based on a consultation with an internationally diverse group of stakeholders from multiple fields and professions, and on a broadly representative set of case studies, this report offers a new approach to the global governance of genetic diversity and genomic research and innovation.

Read the paper here

Resetting the Table: Straight Talk About the Food We Grow and Eat




Robert Paarlberg’s RESETTING THE TABLE: Straight Talk about the Food We Grow and Eat (Knopf, February 2, 2021) is a bold, science-based corrective to the groundswell of misinformation about food and how it’s produced.

A descendant of Midwestern family farmers, Paarlberg examines in detail local and organic food, food companies, nutrition labeling, ethical treatment of animals, environmental impact, and every other aspect of the American food system from farm to table—and finds abundant reasons to disagree with the prevailing messaging to consumers to buy organic, unprocessed foods, sourced from small local farms. Global food markets have in fact improved the American diet. “Industrial” farming has greatly reduced environmental impact thanks to GPS-guided precision methods that cut energy use and chemical pollution, in addition to reducing land use while producing more crops. America’s very serious obesity crisis does not come from farms, or from food deserts, but from “food swamps” created by food companies, retailers, and restaurant chains. And, though animal welfare is lagging behind, progress can be made through continued advocacy, more progressive regulations, and perhaps plant-based imitation meat.

Paarlberg, an adjunct professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the author of Starved for Science, Food Politics, and The United States of Excess, offers evidence-based solutions to the challenges of our food system today, ones that make sense for farmers and consumers alike. With RESETTING THE TABLE, he gives us a road map through the rapidly changing worlds of food and farming, laying out a practical path to bring the two together.

New Technology and Conflicting Information: Assessing Consumers’ Willingness-to-pay for New Foods

The aim of the book is to make the authors’ scholarly research in the area of consumers’ willingness-to-pay for new foods that have controversial attributes easily assessable to other researchers, students, and food policy makers. It addresses issues that arise in a market with conflicting information from interested parties, scientific sources, and the media. It begins with a discussion of research methods and information issues. These results include how consumers respond to food products that are produced with new technology that lowers farmers’ costs of production, enhance nutrition and food safety for consumers, or adds variety to consumers’ food choices. These results arise from data collected in a series of laboratory experiments on adult subjects at various sites in the US and consumer surveys worldwide. The data include socio-demographic attributes of subjects, and their revealed willingness-to-pay in auctions of experimental foods and food products under randomly assigned food labels and information treatments and contingent-valuation survey data.

Call for contributions for the first European Bioeconomy University Scientific Forum.

The EBU Scientific Forum provides a platform for presenting EBU research, fostering networking and intensifying collaborations between scientists from the EBU alliance and selected partners of the EBU network.

We call for contributions for:

  1. a) Presentations and posters on thematic areas from bioeconomy research.
    b) Pitch sessions
    for presenting research topics and ideas to facilitate research cooperation.

Europe’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy, organic agriculture, and biotechnology

For more sustainability on a global level, EU legislation should be changed to allow the use of gene editing in organic farming. Otherwise, the planned increase of organic production in Europe’s Farm-to-Fork-Strategy may result in less sustainable, not more sustainable, food systems.

Open access paper: Purnhagen, K.P., S. Clemens, D. Eriksson, L.O. Fresco, J. Tosun, M. Qaim, R.G.F. Visser, A.P.M. Weber, J.H.H. Wesseler, D. Zilberman (2021). Europe’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy and Its Commitment to Biotechnology and Organic Farming: Conflicting or Complementary Goals? Trends in Plant Science,

C-FARE’s Annual Brandt Forum

Impacts of a Digitally Driven Global Economy: Opportunities and Challenges for U.S. Agriculture

April 2nd and April 5th, 2021 
10:00 am to 1:30 pm EST

Capture 31-3-21

Monitoring and commerce-driving technologies in supply chains, agricultural production, and international markets are radically changing the agricultural and food marketplace. These technologies challenge the global competitiveness of the United States and other large countries. With thoughtful consideration of ramifications on market prices and related policy, information, and standards, this conference focuses on the social and policy implications of digitalization technologies such as blockchain in the agricultural and food sectors and discusses their impact on e-commerce, food, and agriculture.

This year’s Council on Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics (C-FARE) Brandt Forum brings together scholars and business leaders to discuss the disruptions of digitalization. Because of the pandemic, the event Impacts of a digitally-driven global economy: opportunities and challenges for U.S. agriculture” will be a two-day virtual event, April 2nd, and April 5th, 10 am to 1:30 pm EST.

Day One Agenda (April 2nd)

Friday, April 2nd, 10:10 am – 11:00 am EST 

Thomas Reardon, Professor at Michigan State University

The Rapid Diffusion of E-Commerce and E-Procurement in Developing Regions: Patterns and Determinants

11:05 am – 11:55 am EST 

Wendy Earon, IBM Global Industry CTO / Retail, Travel & Transportation, CPG

AI & Emerging Technology Use Cases in Agriculture

12:00 pm – 12:50 pm EST 

Kellee James, CEO & Founder of Mercaris

Venture Capital, Entrepreneurship and Agriculture

Day Two Agenda (April 5th)

Monday, April 5th, 10:10 am – 11:00 am EST 

Jason Henderson, Director of Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service/Senior Associate Dean of Purdue College of Agriculture

Agriculture in a Digital World

11:05 am – 11:55 am 

Dr. Darin Detwiler, Associate Teaching Professor of Food Regulatory 

The Future of Food at the Intersection of Corporate Social Responsibility, Technology, and Consumer Awareness

12:00 pm – 12:50 pm

Ron Hicks, CEO & Founder of HerdX

Reconnecting with Food


To register for the forum, please click on the box above. This will take you to the event website, which will ask for your email and name. This event is free to all who register to increase accessibility. 

This free forum is made possible with the support of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’sEconomic Research Service, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

GM Crops and the Global Divide – Jennifer Thomson

The Conversation

GM Crops: the West versus the Rest

GM crops have been on sale in the USA since 1996 and in many other countries for a considerable number of years. Since then, there hasn’t been a single proven case of ill health due to their consumption, either by humans or animals. Why, therefore, is it that so many countries in the West, particularly those in the European Union, but also in the Nordic countries and some parts of the USA are so anti GM crops?


Adding to this seeming conundrum is the fact
that almost every major scientific association
world-wide has come to the conclusion that GM
crops are as safe for human and animal
consumption as conventional ones – and this includes organic crops. Examples of these associations include the Royal Society of London,
 the French Academy of Medicine,  and the Academy of Science of the United States. 

This makes scientists like me, living in South Africa where GM crops have been growing commercially since 1997/8, wonder why this evidence did not put a stop to the GMO controversy long ago?