Northeast Organic Farmer’s Association Holds Annual Conference at UMass Amherst

The annual Northeast Organic Farmers Association summer conference is being held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst this weekend, and one of the event’s keynote speakers is working to remove genetically modified organisms from the world’s food supply.

Jeffrey Smith is executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, and an author and activist working to end the production of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. He says food products are most often genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicides and pesticides.

“Another category includes those cotton and corn plants that produce their own toxic insecticide that breaks open the stomach of insects to kill them.”

Smith says his keynote speech at this weekend’s conference will focus on the health benefits of eating non-GMO foods. Smith says some of the health issues that a non-GMO diet could help alleviate include reproductive disorders, immune system issues, and accelerated aging. He says 49 countries now require genetically modified food to be labeled as GMOs. That doesn’t include the United States, but he says many companies in the U.S now voluntarily advertise their products as not genetically modified.

This weekend’s conference brings over 1,200 participants to the UMass campus, and offers 225 workshops on organic farming and sustainability.