Contact: Shelby Cefaratti-Bertin, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-327-8012
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WACO, Texas (Nov. 3, 2023) – November marks the beginning of the holiday season, which is full of holiday festivities and feasts. As consumers head to grocery stores and farmers markets for ingredients for those family meals, they will be faced with a choice: Organic or conventionally farmed produce? What impact does that choice have on human health?
The inaugural Nutrition Mythbusters Discussion Series at Baylor University – sponsored by the Nutrition Sciences program in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences – will tackle the questions, assumptions and misconceptions surrounding organic versus conventional produce and farming from 5:30 to 7 pm Monday, Nov. 6, in the Fudge Family Auditorium on the second floor of the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, 905 S. University Parks Drive, Waco, TX. This timely discussion will include six panelists whose focus is to increase public understanding of food science and how to be smarter consumers.
So, what do consumers need to know about organic and conventional produce? Panel organizer Leigh Greathouse, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition sciences at Baylor, said this conversation is important all year long, but especially relevant for consumers seeking healthier choices during the holiday months.
“I’ve been wanting to do this series for a long time, so I thought this would be a great first place to start talking about these ideas about organic and conventionally farmed foods and lay the groundwork for the difference between them,” Greathouse said . “A lot of people think that healthy eating is only eating organic, and that’s not necessarily the case. I’m always shocked when I do my Nutrition Mythbusters Quiz about how many of my students think that organically grown produce doesn’t use pesticides or fungicides or herbicides.”
The panel – made up of experts on conventional and organic farming – hopes to clarify myths surrounding the two practices. The panel is a diverse group of experts with some of the most unique knowledge of conventional and organic farming. The speakers include:
Dr. Jourdan Bell, Conventional Farming Specialist, Associate Professor and Agronomist, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo
Dr. Dan Hale, Livestock and Meat Specialist, Associate Director for Ag and Natural Resources, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Michelle Miller, The Farm Babe, Conventional Farmer, Gainsville, Florida
Dr. Donna Nickerson, Indigenous Gardener, Da’Shack Farmer’s Market, Waco
Ron Rabou, Organic Farmer, Rabou Farms, Inc., Albin, Wyoming
Bob Whitney, Organic Farming Specialist, Regents Fellow and Extension Program Specialist, Texas A&M University Agricultural Economics
“It is really important to us as nutrition faculty that this be a balanced conversation. We are not trying to persuade or dissuade anyone from making the choice that feels best to them,” Greathouse said. “There are many more important choices in our life that we should make in terms of diet besides organic or conventionally raised produce.”
Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences plans to make this discussion an annual event and to further engage with the public through virtual options to make the discussion more accessible.
“In the future, we’re hoping to have more discussions just like this but on other important topics around climate change, agriculture and dairy and meat production,” Greathouse said.
ABOUT ROBBINS COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SCIENCES AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University seeks to prepare leaders in health and quality of life through science, scholarship and innovation. Together, the departments housed within the Robbins College – Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health, Human Performance and Recreation; Human Sciences and Design; Occupational Therapy; Physical Therapy; Public Health; and a number of Army-Baylor graduate programs – promote a team-based approach to transformational education and research, establishing interdisciplinary research collaborations to advance solutions for improving quality of life for individuals, families and communities. For more information, visit the Robbins College website.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.