"The Green Giant," Norman Borlaug

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Newspapers 'round the country are filled this morning with obituaries, such as this one from The Washington Post, mourning Norman Borlaug, who died Saturday at the age of 95 at his Dallas home. All the obituaries more or less read the same: father of the "Green Revolution," Nobel laureate, the man who saved hundreds of millions from starving to death. The man who fed the world.

But in 2002, former Dallas Observer food critic Mark Stuertz profiled Borlaug for this cover story, which chronicled Borlaug's battles with enviroactivists who damned his efforts as "a Western public relations stunt designed to fatten the agro-industrial complex, not feed the hungry." Why? Because he advocated using chemical fertilizers and genetic alterations. Far as they're concerned, it's organic or nothing.

What does Borlaug say to those who advocate such agricultural methods? "God bless you," he says. "Use all of the organic matter you want. But don't deceive the world into believing that we can feed 6.2 billion people with organic matter alone. If we tried to do this, we would plow up all of these marginal lands, cut down much of our forests, and much of that would be productive for just a few years. Without chemical fertilizer, forget it."

Mark won a James Beard Award for his piece, which is worth a revisit this morning.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.