Even the Amish grow GMOs

Last week, I was in the grocery store looking for popcorn.  I ran across a brand I'd never seen before that advertised "Amish popcorn."  I gave it a try and it tasted just as good as the heathen brands.

While munching on the tasty treat, a question came to mind: do the Amish use GMO crops?  As far as I know, there are no genetically engineered popcorn seeds on the market, but all those reality shows I see advertised on A&E, Discovery, and the like show hardy field corn and tobacco plants growing alongside the homes of the Amish.

Sure enough, a quick internet search turned up story after story after story revealing that many Amish farmers indeed plant genetically engineered corn or tobacco.  

It seems the Amish have turned the tables on conventional wisdom.  Most consumers are very pro-technology and innovation when it comes to things like cell phones, TVs, and cars, but are often technology-averse when it comes to agriculture. It seems that at least some of the Amish hold exactly the opposite position.  

There is a deep irony in the fact that the Amish farm is something many people idealize - small, family-run operations - that uses a technology that frightens many consumers.  In part it reveals the disconnect between romanticized images of farm life and the reality of the choices made by the flesh-and-blood people who work there.

While it might do well if more people understood more about production agriculture, it seems I could have known a bit more about the Amish before writing this paragraph at the end of a chapter on biotechnology in the Food Police:

Perhaps we Americans can afford to give up a few comforts and pay more for more “naturally” grown food. But, this return to nature is pure fantasy. Human interactions with nature have altered animals and vegetation in a way that our ancient ancestors could scarcely imagine. The food elite’s vision of the world would return production agriculture to its state a hundred years ago; to a time when food was far less plentiful and in which those who did the back-breaking work of farming lived a meager existence. We might like to visit the Amish but few are clamoring to convert.

It seems that the at least some of the Amish are more technologically progressive than I gave them credit for.  In fact, in this one dimension, they are more technologically progressive than many Americans.