Canadian environment groups want webinar pulled from classrooms over GMO foods

The Council of Canadians is raising concerns about an information session on food that is planned to be shown in high school classrooms across Canada on Tuesday.

Leo Broderick, vice-chair of the organization, is calling on ministers of education in eight provinces, including P.E.I., to pull the webinar Trashing Food Waste with Technology. The webinar is part of a month-long agricultural literacy program organized by the non-profit group Agriculture in the Classroom.

Broderick doesn't like that the webinar's sponsors include several major seed and pesticide producers, and also features a genetically modified apple, created in B.C., that is approved for sale in the U.S. and Canada. 

"Certainly, I don't think that we should be filling up our classrooms with corporate propaganda," said Broderick. 

"This is simply a takeover of a special time when we should be concentrating during agriculture awareness month on another perspective on the future of farming in Canada."

Broderick said that includes organic farming.

"So, we're making people aware. And, I think it's important that we have another perspective and that we not promote through our classrooms across the country genetically engineered food."

The Council of Canadians is part of a coalition of Canadian environmental groups that oppose the webinar.

Webinar explores more than GMOs

Johanne Ross, executive director of Agriculture in the Classroom, said she thinks the coalition is misunderstanding the content of the live streamed webinar. She said the focus is reducing food waste to improve the environment and increase food availability. The focus is not genetically modified food or the Arctic Apple, Ross said.  

She added that the webinar explores more than genetic modification as a solution in terms of technological solutions, such as platforms and shade plots, that extend the shelf life of apples.

The province's department of education said no one was available Friday to respond.

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