A brief history of soy


Of soy. I'm joined by Christine DuBois, and I'd like to start by saying that I've sort of intimate personal relationship with soy. I eat a lot of it as vegetarian, but I also grew up in rural Illinois surrounded by soybeans. That said I didn't know a lot about its history or the tremendous scope of its global impact. Until I read your book. Can you start giving us an overview of the breadth of what you cover. So my book, the story of soy might consider it, a biography of soy soy were a person this would be their biography starting from its early domestication moving through its use in Chinese and Japanese food ISM its development to use during various wars, including the rest of the Japanese war and World War Two. And then it's use in factory farming of Higgs and chickens primarily on through its genetic engineering. It's Houston biodiesel and its environmental effects as well. It's his it's affects on nutrition in the book, you take deep dives into different parts of soy's history in the role it played in wars societal development politics in the environment. If we go into any of those though, I think will lose the big picture. So can you summarize just how important this little bean is on a global scale? Soybeans are one of the most traded crops around the world. Most people have no idea how incredibly important this plant is because it is fed primarily to chickens pigs on large factory farms with relatively few employees. So most people especially people who live in cities are not aware of how in agricultural areas, particularly in north and South America. This crop is huge. It's hugely profitable. And it is hugely shaping our world. It was the first commercially really successful genetically engineered crops, and because it was so commercially successful. It has spurred the development of other genetically engineered crops. It is used in countless products with industrial products and many many food products, although in very small quantities. So it's everywhere in our environments, and it has everything to do with cutting edge science, and it is massively important to a Connie's and trade disputes slim pick up on that trade dispute item because a few weeks ago, the Washington Post had a really interesting piece on how North Dakota soy farmers were being especially hard hit by the tariffs implemented as part of this ongoing U S China trade war because they sell the vast majority of their crop to China. Do you see that that loss of access to US markets, whether it's temporary or long term is going to have a worldwide impact like will other countries start growing more soy in? What would that mean the way soy is being handled as a crop worldwide, especially in South America right now? And it's really a looming problem for Africa as well is often quite environmentally destructive. The only reason I'm not mentioned North America. Here is that we already destroyed the North American prairies longtime ago, even be sore Sawyer was planted there. So it's a done deal here in North America. But in South America, there's a lot of land that was still virgin wilderness that is being deforested or disadvantaged in order to grow soy because it is such a lucrative crop. And it's really a very very serious problem, particularly in places like Hera Guay, which have much less strict environmental regulation. And places like Brazil, which has increasingly strict environmental regulation to protect the Amazon, but which has their difficult problems of enforcement, Cargill and the nature. Conservancy have worked together to try to improve some of the systems for protecting the Amazon, but there's such a long way to go. And some of the things that are being done to assist. The soybean farmers of Brazil in particular, the completion of highway that cuts right through the Amazon is which is a national highway is really leading to deforestation along its borders within fifty miles of any major road. You get a lot of people coming in building all the things that would service the truck drivers. And then town spring up in then when towns spring up you have to have schools in hardware stores, and churches, and so forth and more and more gets built up along highway. So there's a very deep concern. And of course. The concern relates to how is all of this going to affect global warming and right now with what's going on with the United States trade war with China. We have slapped a twenty five percent tariffs on to our soit being exported to China, which is our largest fire. And so right now, the Chinese don't have a lot of options for making up that soy. But in the long run they are going to want to look for other suppliers that are not going to be slapping that tariff on them. And so they are investing as they already happened. But they're probably going to celebrate it now investing in more virgin lands in Africa and South America. But they're really doing a lot in Africa that are probably going to start being planted in soy. And so more wilderness are going to be destroyed and this is a very grave concern for climate change Christine. What her new book is the story of

Coming up next