March 4, 2003
Food For Thought
"Agricultural Biotechnology and Sustainability: Food For Thought" will be held April 25 26 at Calvin's Prince Conference Center.
It's an important topic says Calvin biotechnology professor and conference organizer Dave Koetje.
"Agbiotech may have wide ranging implications for food production systems, food security, conservation and world trade," he says. "It has sparked intensive debate. Yet how we relate to these issues is strongly influenced by our fundamental value system, our worldview, and we rarely consider this in our public discussions. This conference is a chance for participants to explore the relationships between fundamental values and concerns about agbiotech and sustainability."
The issues, says Koetje, are numerous. What are the potential risks and benefits of agbiotech? What are ways to manage risks and share the benefits? What are the ethical considerations for scientists, producers, consumers and others? Should there be limits on the development of genetically modified foods? How can a pluralistic society reach consensus on these issues?
The conference is aimed at a broad audience: farm and food industry groups, consumer groups, policy makers, ethicists, environmentalists, clergy and more.
"Anyone," says Koetje with a smile, "who is concerned about food production. This will be an opportunity to learn more through presentations and discussions in everyday language that involve real people in open dialogue."
Among the presenters will be:
The conference is funded through a grant from the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship with additional support from the Calvin biology department (which offers both a biotech major and minor) and the Calvin Summer Seminars in Christian Scholarship program.