April 2, 2010

The Future of Food

Just watched the movie, The Future of Food. It's crazy scary. At one point I turned to Rob and said, "This is a horror film!"

The first half of the film gives a scathing review of Monsanto's actions for the past few decades. The film pretty much agrees with what was said about Monsanto in the movie, Food Inc., but it includes damning documentation from Monsanto itself.

Within the discussion of Monsanto, several overarching issues are also addressed, most especially the patenting of life and the loss of property rights (of farmers). Even when a farmer and his predecessors have been growing and modifying a crop for generations, if even a little bit of Monsanto's patented gene gets cross-pollinated into it, Monsanto can take you to court for patent infringement. In such a case the farmer is required to destroy the seed that his family has been growing and modifying for generations because Monsanto didn't keep its patented seed from intermingling with his family's seed (and Monsanto is not required to keep its seed out either).

The movie then rolls right into the problem of genetically modified foods -- especially as they proliferate outside of the lands where they've been planted. Food allergies are a problem because genetically modified foods are not labeled in the U.S. and therefore can be unknowingly consumed. And there's the problem of a genetically modified organism containing the terminator gene (a gene that renders the next generation of that seed useless for planting) spreading into the world at large. (This is where it started to sound like a horror movie. Can you imagine what would happen if a large percentage of the world's crops got inadvertently crossed with the terminator gene? That would be our last year of those crops. The following year would be one of mass famine.)

Anyone who's concerned with the property rights of the individual, the health of yourself and your children, or the health of the environment, should watch this movie. ... Actually, if you eat, you should watch this movie.