Bastards, bullshit and babies

I’m gonna drop the Food Safety Network name.

Just doesn’t seem to fit anymore.

Too many hacks and posers.

I started sending out news shortly after I began my PhD in 1993. Jack-in-the-Box had just happened, Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet, but I was plugged in through the various twists and turns of life, and started sharing stories — in real time —  with my science-geek colleagues.

They seemed to like it, and research confirmed it was useful.

In 1993, food safety types were conditioned to reading about outbreak investigations when CDC’s MMWR arrived in the mail six months later. That’s still way faster than the Canadian government types write up any outbreak investigation.

I originally called the news distribution the Food Safety Network cause network was sorta new. Sure, it seems dated now, but at the time, we rocked. Now, it just rolls.

The whole idea of calling my lab the Food Safety Network rests with Lester Crawford. I wanted to create a group modeling Georgetown University’s Center for Food and Nutrition Policy (which has since moved). Lester spent a couple of days in Guelph, and told me, whatever you do, make it bigger than yourself. No one cares about Doug Powell’s lab. So give it a name. And bring in others.

So I did.

Unfortunately, due largely to my unfailing optimism, others went for the short game. In the spirit of open and honest collaboration, the University of Guelph went and trademarked Food Safety Network in Canada the day I resigned — and didn’t bother to tell anybody. Then they scooped up whatever money was left to cover the deficit in their paper clip fund.

The actions of so many have been small and petty. But there have always been a few that make it worthwhile.

Katija Blaine and Ben Chapman have both been with me in various capacities since 1999. Still are. We’ve traveled the various minefields of genetically engineered sweet corn and on-farm food safety programs for fresh produce, and now we’re all having babies.

Katija was first up on Saturday, delivering Cormac (right). Congrats to Katija and Jeff.

Ben and Dani and due in Sept.

And me — forever trying to hang out with the cool kids — me and Amy are due the end of November.

Got no time for posers.