As someone who has played a small role compared to others in organizing this event and getting Paul out to the Wagner, I'd like to make/reiterate a few points.
Dow is just one of many sponsors and collaborators
of the Philadelphia Science Festival, which is a week-long affair that aims to bring together a diverse array of multidisciplinary communities together in the name of science education and awareness. For every Dow you see sponsoring the event, there's at least dozens of local, sustainable organizations and businesses working against the tide of corporate agribusiness. The Wagner Institute is responsible for organizing this event under the umbrella of the Festival, and has no control over where the larger festival funding is coming from. It's also my understanding that Paul is aware of the fact that Dow is a partial sponsorship of the Science Fest. Luckily, he agreed to come anyway. It was only through the efforts and contributions of Wagner organizers and awesome local farms, restaurants, and others (the direct sponsors of the event) that this is happening. Woodland Jewel Mushroom Farm, Primordia Mushroom Farm, Shibumi Mushroom Farm, and the restaurant Russet, especially, are donating a huge amount of time, labor, and product to make this event work and to supplement the limited finds available through the Festival while keeping ticket costs reasonable. The amount of $ coming from Dow is a percentage of a percentage of a percentage of what's making this talk possible.
As I probably don't need to mention, Paul has pioneered the use of mycology in his ground-breaking work in myco-remediation, sustainable forestry and woodlands maintenance, and has pioneered methods of high-yield sustainable cultivation into the hands of the farmers through his publications, seminars, and impassioned talks. He's also been responsible for bringing the spiritually and physically healing, remediative, sustainable, and nourishing properties of mushrooms to an exponentially greater segment of the population than ever before. He is a vocal and outspoken critic of the corporate biotech industry and presents us with practical mycological solutions to fight the direction modern destructive agricultural and forestry practices are taking us, and is the foremost champion of the importance of mushrooms' role in forest health and ultimately our continued survival as a species. His work has changed my and other's lives to strive for greater sustainability in all areas, and was my introduction to permaculture concepts in general. I fail to see how boycotting a talk by a major outspoken critic of the biotech industry is accomplishing anything other than stifling our dialogue and fracturing the community. As my friend pointed out, why not let Dow sponsor their own demise, whether they know it or not?
I'd like to thank those who have brought this issue up. If you have a problem with Dow's sponsorship of the larger event (as I do), I strongly encourage you all to join me in writing the organizers of the Science Fest to encourage them to refuse money from Dow and any other destructive and profit-driven corporations driving us to calamity in the future. I think a boycott of Paul's talk, however, is misguided, counterproductive, and would fail to send any clear message to those who need to hear it.
At any rate, thanks for your time and dialogue. I hope to see you at the Wagner to welcome Paul to our region for what promises to be an enlightening and rare occasion.
Mycopolitan Mushroom Co.