Show Notes


Join host Greg Carlwood of The Higherside Chats podcast as he talks GMOs, Pesticides, and Toxic America with guest, McKay Jenkins.

While many of us can agree that corporations such as Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and DuPont have had a negative effect on the health and well-being of citizens throughout the globe and their products have contributed to the decimation of bee and butterfly populations, pollution of our water supply, and poisoning of our environment -it can be difficult to fully understand the complete impact of their atrocities.
And with many of us living in concrete jungles and cookie-cutter suburbs, slowly we have alienated ourselves from our food sources. So, due to the marginalizing local farms to the outskirts of communities, the subsidizing of inner city food deserts with factory farmed produce, and the bought-and-paid Washington lobbyist working on Big Agro’s behalf -we are left consuming a never-ending chain of bullshit that slowly chips away at our health, and leave us deficient and weak.
While much of this comes as no surprise to many at The Higherside, today’s guest, McKay Jenkins, has taken this thread one step further. As an author of books such as “Food Fight” and “ContamiNation”, Jenkins has first hand knowledge of just has far this problem of toxicity spreads and the most impactful ways to effect change.
2:45 While a phrase like “GMO” is considered a loaded term, it is important to remember that the situation is extremely complex and in order to properly understand the entire picture, we must look at both the macro and micro ecosystems of our planet. Jenkins begins by addressing our relationship with consumption, our detachment from how our food is made, and our ignorance about the chemicals used in their production. He continues by discussing the evaporation of local farms and the subsequent effects this detachment to the food chain has caused.
11:11 With Big Agro hiding behind claims that GMOs are a necessity for solving world hunger and uplifting developing nations, Jenkins walks us through the ways in which this argument is not simply disingenuous, but outright misleading. As McKay points out, the crops designed by Big Agro corporations are not designed to be grown in 3rd world countries, the vast majority of commercial farming using GMOs is done in the US for us and our trading partners, and lastly, major corporations are not even investing in research and progression of crops that would be beneficial to developing nations. Greg and McKay also discuss the impact of World War II and the interstate highway system on how we grow and produce food.
33:42 McKay discusses the sub-discipline of people trying to apply the wisdom of ecology to the growing of food, otherwise known as agroecology. Jenkins explains, although factory farms out put a sizable amount of calories on very little land, it is incredibly inefficient and comes at a higher environmental cost due to the large amount of petrochemicals needed throughout the process.
 43:00 Greg and McKay discuss the topic of government subsidies and areas where government involvement exacerbates the problems rather than alleviating them. As Jenkins points out, our focus shouldn’t be on symptoms of these issues, but rather the systems that allow them to occur, such as the centralization of our food supply, regulation and the revolving door between Washington and corporate America.

Become a Plus Member at to hear a second hour of all THC episodes. This week’s included:

–  the Bee Armageddon

– legal food battles fought in Hawaii and Maine

– how to go back to the old ways

– other toxins in our culture, particularly how bad it is in the largely unregulated cosmetics industry

– safety regulations in other countries vs America

– restoring the true picture of Precolonial America

– lawns, AstroTurf, and water-bottles

A few valuable resources from the interview:
The Golden Rice Project:
Want more McKay Jenkins?
Check out his website: 
Or pick up one of his books, including “Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet” or “ContamiNation: My Quest to Survive in a Toxic World” on Amazon:
Want to hear more THC?
Become a plus member and gain access to the additional hour as well as the THC forums at:
If you want to stay connected to The Higherside Chats, join us on social media:
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23 Responses

    1. Thanks! I rank this one pretty high. I think we have a bit of a higher level conversation about these things than might be typical for fringe circles, but the people will decide!

      1. I’m pretty ‘Green’ when it comes to this whole new world of ‘conspira-tainment’ (as your man Gordon White likes to call it) & I probably wouldn’t be considered a part of any of these ‘Fringe Circles’ you speak of! I’m just your average, everyday ‘Hi-Fiving White guy’ & perhaps it is because of this that I wholeheartedly agree with your ranking this interview high amongst your best work!

        I’ve only been a +plus member for 4 months or so, but sonofabitch! It’s pretty much been a nonstop binge & purge session of listening & processing, accepting or rejecting & then taking that new knowledge to the streets & seeing if I can freak out some squares man!

        Honestly, though, I am very appreciative of the work you do & the things I’ve been introduced to & discovered through it!

        You are damn good at what you do Greg & McKay was right when he responded to your mentioning of being a College Dropout with something along the lines of, “Dropout or not, you just asked me better questions than most, you asked me the questions that are more relevant to the core of the actual issues at hand.”

        Listening to your shows back to back to back like I have, I can actually hear you refining your skills, making improvements & in general constantly progressing & elevating your interview game. It’s awesome to hear & I’m excited to see how far you take all this!

        Keep crushing it Brotato Chip!

  1. Man, I loved this ep of THC+. As one of your older subscribers, I do remember local produce being sold at our local super market. When that disappeared, i’m not sure, but this was an eye-opener Greg. You brother have a real “right-show, right-time” thing going and it works. Much love and gratitude. ;]]

  2. Fantastic! Will buy the book, thanks for the introduction to him. It’s thrilling to hear how satisfied he is with his local farmer and CSA. But I just wanted to do a wee reality check for anyone thinking this is always the case. Loads of CSAs fail. And, I’ve been gardening now nearly 10 years, and I can’t imagine feeding the neighborhood or making a living out of farming. Most folks don’t know how to cook and they see vegetables as the enemy. But I am in rural East TX, so that surely has more challenges. It has been very unpredictable, and yes we started from raw land and I wouldn’t ever go back, but just saying, Don’t quit your day jobs and think you can make it as a farmer!

  3. I know people are going to jump onto the climate change stuff, so please just look past it. There is so much great info here, don’t let a little disagreement close your mind to the rest of the interview.

  4. Fantastic interview and I look forward to buying his book. That said, I do notice that he spends a lot of time Decrying conspiracy theories were on the other hand pointing out that, search is in the Hawaii case, that companies do conspire against the people. Just saying.

  5. This is old news Greg. How bout some Fresh Flat Earth guests. You a shill like Rogan? C’mon man! Flat Earth makes all this other stuff just seem like nonsense.

  6. Hey Mr. Anti-Capitalist Capitalist, When do I get my equal share of THC subscription money? From each his ability, to each his needs. I have some basic essential needs I need money for so I can buy an HDTV and Corvette with my own money instead. haha

  7. Such a great episode, I routinely bring up the GMO / Pesticide-resistent GMO distinction on those conversations, it’s surprising to see how many pro-GMO people have no idea that those plants soak in pesticides. Once you win that part of the argument, it’s pretty easy to convince someone that eating poison-soaked plants is a bad idea.

    One of the other interests aspects of not understanding our food chain is the fact that corn soaks in mercury to separate it out into hi-fructose corn syrup. There’s debate over the type of mercury used and whether it’s harmful, but the fact that it’s even used was news to me.

    Here’s the Mother Jones article covering it:

  8. This is my favorite type of THC episode/alt media; really informative, long format interviews of people who are out of the mainstream and are really knowledgeable.

    Permaculture/natural farming practices have the potential to transform the world. They’re as productive as petrochemical farming, they cost less, and can improve year over year. The average age of the American farmer is 57. It might be the next big thing. If agriculture is the basis of civilization, what happens when it completely changes from the exploitative model to something more in concord with nature?

    It’s probably no accident that the spread of those methods which have been around for a long time parallels the boom of the Internet and the alt media.

  9. This is probably my favorite episode from the three years I’ve been listening.
    As someone who works in the land management/preservation industry, it is SO important for the public to realize the effect of these practices.
    Another issue worth looking into is the spread of invasive species and their effect on our land, animals, and insects. Particularly, Japanese barberry and the spread of the tick population.
    Thanks Greg! Fantastic episode!

    1. Also, while I thoroughly enjoy bashing Monsanto, folks should be aware that safe alternatives exist.
      Diatomaceous earth is an effective pesticide, fish emulsion and bat guano are probably the best fertilizers, and a mixture of water, vinegar, and salt makes an excellent herbicide. I’ve been growing my own vegetable and flower gardens for a decade using nothing but these three.

  10. Hi Greg, for the first time I was disappointed with your guest. For McKay to suggest that GMO’s could be of benefit to agriculture is misleading. McKay is not a GMO scientist and is too reliant on the scientific evidence from scientists who will not disclose what genes are being altered to achieve these super plants. GMO’s are being developed to grow in poisoned soil. McKay would have achieved a greater understanding of the topics he was discussing if he had researched the importance of healthy soil. I have farmed all my life and I am currently running a permaculture block with my wife in New Zealand, and our motto is healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy bodies. McKay’s example of the papaya’s in my opinion is short term science papering over the real problem, if plants are not healthy there is something wrong with the soil, and I believe that the GMO solution will only be short term because the real problem has been not to address the soil. The solutions to all agricultural problems do not come from science they come from nature. Shamangineer gave us one of the best examples of harmony in nature in your interview with him.
    Greg have you read Charles Eisenstein? I believe he would be a great guest for your show and would give an interesting insight into the problems of science in our materialistic world.

  11. So he would eat gmo’s if they werent sprayed because “most” scientists say they are safe? Total bollocks. They havent been around long enough to determine any so called safety aspect. Perhaps he can come back on in about 50 plus years. I knew of some of these professors who were at the big table when it comes to gmo’s (Norwich, England and the USA) and it is purely and simply about money obviously. One guy “invented” a so called anti-cancer purple tomato which thankfully wasnt allowed to hit the shelves (there’s surely irony in a gmo anti cancer tomato…). Inserting alien genes into an organism isnt going to end well eg fish genes into fruit.
    The Russians have it right; no gmo’s.

  12. Good episode. I’m an Okie myself and have been around this stuff my whole life. The glystar is a non selective weed killer. It kills anything it hits. The amini 24-D kills the broadleaf plants only, and won’t effect the grass. The glystar/Roundup is the stuff you have to watch. But when spraying with the 24-d, just to kill the weeds from the grass, animals and cattle can graze right behind it. It doesn’t hurt the beef, they don’t get sick; but just so people do know, a lot of the time the cattle are not separated from the sprayed pastures. So they are eating that shit. Even those only grass fed cows. The grass was sprayed. Luckily there is no chances of runoff after 24-48 hours.
    Iv gave up on wheat. The whole gluten thing, and finding out there’s ZERO nutritional value in any wheat. It’s cotton candy. Although they are not GMOs exactly, I don’t think the reason they are not, is because of people not wanting it. They have selectively breed the seed to the point, where it’s damn near about the same as a gmo. It would be pointless. They are getting max yield already, and it’s already bred to be drought resistant and can stand harsher temperatures. It takes little nutrition to grow, so it cuts back on fertilizers. That’s why there’s no nutrition in it. Also, before harvest of the wheat, do you know how they get the moisture out of the wheat, before harvesting, to prevent molding? They spray all the wheat with Glystar to kill the wheat for a week. Then they come through and harvest it. Notice how all wheat fields turn gold all at once? It’s dead. They also don’t want it to be a gmo, because they still want to be able to use herbicides on it, without it growing resistant to it. You eat wheat, it’s been sprayed with Roundup.

    A lot of the soil around here has been wrecked. It won’t percolate. The water cannot drain through the topsoil, so it just puddles up on top. Cotton fields have ruined some pastures. And it’s only good for grass.

    IMHO the spraying of wheat and crops with those chemicals is a big deal. But, I think overuse of nitrogen in the soil is what’s totally fucking the rivers and water tables.

    EPA… lol. Look up flint, Michigan. EPA are Crooks

    1. Shit, I wrote that comment mid show, after he moved off the wheat. I’m glad the Roundup comments came up on the show. That’s the big reason I moved away from eating it

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