When U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski introduced legislation last month seeking to ban Aquabounty’s so-called Frankenfish, they put the interests of Alaskan citizens over corporate plutocrats and near-sighted regulators. We should applaud the senators for their intervention on behalf of our state’s most important economic, cultural, and natural resource.
But the simple fact is this: nearly all the food we put into our bodies contains the same genetically modified organisms that we supposedly decry in our debates about this salmon. The corn that finds its way into products as diverse as breakfast cereals and filet mignon has been reengineered by biotech firms to resist a host of pests and pesticides that might otherwise damage the country’s most valuable agricultural good. The soy products that extend meatloaves and enhance soups have undergone similar manipulation in the past two decades. At this point, 90 percent of all soy grown in the United States — 60 million acres or so — is genetically modified, most of it to withstand the application of glyphosphate, a toxic herbicide.
If we expect consumers down south to pay a premium for our wild Alaskan salmon, we too should make a similar sacrifice to purchase products that guarantee that we are not eating genetically modified organisms. Certainly, we can push our food producers to utilize non-genetically modified food stuffs; we, too, can purchase foods certified organic by the USDA. Such sacrifices will be difficult, of course, but we will be taking a stand against the biotech oligarchies that have a stranglehold over our food system.Anything else would be unjust to our fishermen.
• Mink teaches environmental studies at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. and is a summer resident of Sitka, where he runs the Sitka Conservation Society’s Salmon Tours program.
A guide to Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act is now available online from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Recent changes to the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, make it important that not just working journalists, but public officials and also citizens have a primer on current provisions in FOIA and the state’s Open Meetings Act, said David Yepsen, Institute director.
The guide is an “advocacy tool that will hopefully help people with the law,” Yepsen said.
“We need to make sure that citizens are empowered to use it,” Yepsen said. “Some of this can be a little intimidating.”
The 29-page “Citizens Guide to Using the Freedom of Information Act,” is available for download from the Institute’s website, http://paulsimoninstitute.org/. Written by former veteran Illinois political reporter Adriana Colindres, now a public relations specialist for Knox College in Galesburg, the Institute received input from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, William Freivogel, director of SIUC’s School of Journalism, and Josh Sharp, director of government relations for the Illinois Press Association in preparing the guide.
From The Register-Mail:
While it has existed since last May, the Knox County Food Development Council finally had an unofficial grand opening Tuesday evening with its first Food Growers Forum at the Knox Agri-Center.
The forum began with three breakout sessions: Western Illinois University Assistant Professor of Agriculture Joel Gruver discussed cover crops; Extension’s Mike Roegge discussed growing season extension, and the council’s Amy Brucker discussed specialty crop marketing…
Also in attendance were Knox College’s community garden students, including senior Helen Schnoes.
“What struck me most is the divide between doing it for yourself and being aware that there’s a need for the individual local growers to work together and expand the greater local food market base,” said Schnoes.
Brucker said that as more resources become available in the form of grants, she hopes to see the local food movement expand and diversify.
“The times are changing,” she said. “Hopefully this is the first of many.”
For more information on the Food Development Council, email Brucker at email@example.com
Knox College announced their choice for the new president Monday after searching for nine months.
Teresa L. Amott will bring a change to the college, and new direction to where they hope to be in the future.
Knox student Bill Schaefer explains how he feels about the new president and the college’s direction.
“The college has kind of been going through a transition period with trying to keep a consistent image and what are we going to be in the future as we’re coming up on the 175th Anniversary of Knox as an institution, so I think she is going to have a key part in that, what we are now, and where we are going in the future.”
Schaefer says that even though he is a senior and won’t see the changes Amott will bring to the college, the new president seems to be a “natural fit.”
From The Register-Mail:
In what Knox College President Roger Taylor called a day of “excitement, joy and confidence for the future,” the college announced Monday the selection of the first woman to be its president.
Teresa Amott was elected unanimously by the Knox College Board of Trustees at its meeting Saturday to succeed Taylor after his June 30 retirement. An audience of well over 100 Knox students, faculty and staff spilled from Seymour Hall’s Skylight Room into the Lincoln Room to welcome her Monday.
“I’m a little emotional, but I understand Roger is, too, and I’m very pleased, because if your first president who choked up was a woman, that might be a problem,” joked Amott, to which the audience responded with laughter and applause. “I’m glad I don’t have to be a trailblazer on that particular point.”
Amott currently serves as provost and dean of the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, a position she has held since 2005. She has also served as vice provost of Gettysburg College and held academic appointments at Bucknell University, Harvard University, University of Massachusetts and Wellesley College.
From The Wall Street Journal:
For the first time in its 174-year history, Knox College in Galesburg has a female president.
Teresa L. Amott was named Monday to succeed Roger L. Taylor, who announced last April his intention to retire after 10 years in the post.
Amott currently serves as provost and dean of faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, a position she has held since 2005.
Board chairman Jan Koran says the trustees were unanimously impressed with Amott’s commitment to the liberal arts. She added Amott’s enthusiasm for Knox’s continued growth was clear.
Before joining Hobart and William Smith, she was vice provost of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. She also has held academic appointments at Bucknell and Harvard universities, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Wellesley College.