Interview with a Jayhawk Girl….Carey Gillam

Organics Admin
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Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
Organics Admin
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Me on the Radio

In the movie Donny Brasco there is a Line by Al Pacino’s character…Even a dog gets a warm piece of the sidewalk…While my talents are not on the same level of Al’s, although I have been told there is a  resemblance, I’m not so sure of that either. What I do know because a very wise man once told me…if you never give opportunity a chance, opportunity will never happen. When I was considering asking for this interview it was my father’s voice I heard talking about opportunity at the same time I could see the shadows of Little Man running around in the canyons of my mind yelling…WILL YA JUST DO IT ALREADY!!!!! So I asked Carey Gillam via Twitter if she would do an interview with me for the blog. When she responded…sure…well talk about acting like a giddy school girl…oh my!!!

Carey Gillam, the award winning Investigative Journalist and Author. From the Heartland to the Home of Fenway then on to the Big Peach and back, one could say Carey has made quite a name for herself. Herself and the truth about a weed killer, that is. As an Oakland fan I was apprehensive about asking but just had to know, Royals and Chiefs or Sox and Pats…Jayhawks Basketball, a Jayhawk Girl.

When I started writing I did it on a whim, sometimes I wish I’d have paid more attention in my English and writing classes. I mean I actually enjoy writing, going on little adventures with Little Man, digging into court briefs for articles. However, its interviews I enjoy the most, maybe that’s why I like radio so much, the interaction of live give and take. Conversations for interviews are the best as you really get a feel for the person, technology is a wonderful thing.

As an investigative journalist, sources are vital. Today information is at our finger tip via cyber-land. That said, one has to be very cognizant of the source of a website just like other media outlets, cyber-land is full of disinformation in addition to misinformation. I often find myself ending debate with, “when you use slanted facts you have a distorted slanted truth”. There is a lot of that out there, especially when it comes to the subject of Genetically Modified Organisms, or as we have come to call them GMO’s. For whatever reason, lines have become drawn in the sand on this subject. You are either “Pro” or “Anti” GMO. Refreshing when you talk to one that is kind of like you on the subject. I have always considered myself a “Straddler” because I firmly believe the GMO Technology is pretty sound science, I just have a problem with the deception of how said technology is being used. Pecuniary Greed in the chemical industry, combined with our broken political system created a problem that our wonderful chemical industry already had a solution for.

This position makes it very difficult for the folks I refer to as “industry shills” that work off a cheat sheet in various social media platforms to debate you because your answers do not fall into any catagories of talking points on their cheat sheets. They especially hate it when I tell them to check with their handlers!! While I have never actually seen Ms. Gillam comment in any platform other than Twitter, she is routinely the subject matter of discussions. When you see what is written in various social media platforms…attacks is probably the more appropriate term, as with anything GMO there are only two sides and if you’re “Pro-GMO” you must hate Carey and can only spew vitriol commentary about whatever has been written. That said…our interview.

As a Jayhawk Girl, you chose Journalism, what was so intriguing about the field of Journalism?

I always wanted to be a journalist, from about the age of 12. I thought there could not possibly be any more interesting job in the world and I still feel that way.

Were you always a Farm Girl?

I did not grow up on a farm. I was born in suburban Kansas City and moved to suburban Boston when I was four years old. I did eventually convince my parents to buy me a horse and we got a little acreage and built a barn, but that was far from farm life.

You had worked your way into a pretty successful journalistic career in the financial sector, `When Reuters asked you to go back to Kansas to report on agriculture was that like saying hey you’re from Kansas you’re a farm girl go report on agriculture for us, or was there an interest on your part to go rediscover the farming industry?

 I was covering the banking industry for American Banker, owned by Thomson Financial (which eventually merged with Reuters) and has just had my first child in 1998. I was living in Atlanta when I learned about an opening Reuters had in Kansas City covering the wheat futures exchange and agriculture. It was significantly more money than I was making and a chance to raise my daughter in a place with less traffic, a lower cost of living and better public schools.

Were you aware of the “Substantially Equivalent” position our regulatory agencies took in the early 90’s when you left Kansas for the big city lights??

Once I started covering the ag beat and learning about GMOs I became familiar with the legal and regulatory framework.

I have always maintained that the “Ruse” to feed the hungry children of the world, while a noble cause, the GMO issue is one driven by Pecuniary Greed. How long before you realized that the underlying issue for the GMO industry was to sell a chemical?

If you look at data provided by the agrochemical industry and reported through industry -funded ISAAA you can see that the single most planted and cultivated type of GMO is that which is designed to be sprayed directly with herbicide. There are other trait technologies, but the most widely adopted and used in the 1990s and today is that which conveys herbicide tolerance. It’s clearly not about feeding the world.

Is that what led you to look at the regulatory issues???

 Covering the ag beat means understanding the regulatory framework.

Your book Whitewash – The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science  has as part of the title is “Corruption of Science” What made you start to examine the science?

Following and familiarizing yourself with the science surround the issue you are covering is a critical part of any journalist’s job. I’ve been tracking the science for the last two decades.

Many for the Pro-GMO proponents, (their term not mine) make numerous negative claims about you. Was perception of Carey Gillam being an award winning journalist to a discredited journalists an overnight thing or did the industry gradually turn you into some sort of anti-science monster that needed psychologizing??

The industry has not turned me into anything. Industry players sling mud and write and say nasty things and desperately try to do anything they can to discredit me. They do this to others as well but have increased their efforts against me since my book came out. They are trying to protect billions of dollars in profits and they are willing to be very deceptive in their tactics. But that doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t change who I am or the veracity and the significance of the work that I do.

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