The Paltrow effect: When it comes to GMOs, consumers trust ill-educated celebrities more than science. How might farmers respond?

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Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is known to promote questionable ideas about food safety and nutrition. Image Credit: Rex

For a world that has largely forsaken religion in favor of science to base its attitudes towards food on nothing more than belief and feeling is something that should make us uncomfortable and embarrassed. This is what seems to be happening. It’s alarming.

It changes things for me as a writer. No longer is a column about food and agriculture about demonstrating truth — perhaps it never was. Instead, it’s now about staging an attractive argument, like a house that you can picture yourself living in.

Science that calls into question our practices and our belief systems, whether it relates to religion or our soil tillage habits, is easily dismissed as tainted by bias.


As a farmer wanting to show a side of farming that is honest and accessible, I need to entertain and dazzle and otherwise make cool or en vogue a vocation that is driven by agronomy, i.e., science.

Related article:  German farmer's group calls for updated EU GMO crop rules to combat climate change

[Editor’s note: Toban Dyck is a farmer and science writer based in Canada.]


A generation ago, storytelling or communication in general was not a skill regularly attributed to the greater farming community. That is changing. It has to….The next generation of farmers will grow up in an environment that expects that of them.

We may not want to admit it, and it may not sit well with us, but a Beyonce endorsement of GMOs would go a lot further than science.

Read full, original article: A Beyonce endorsement of GMOs would probably help farmers a lot more than science

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