As one of the clearest examples of the direction in which our food and agricultural systems are heading, Deconstructing Dinner has paid considerable attention to the evolution of genetically modified or "engineered" foods. These ever-present ingredients in our food supply represent one of the most controversial and debated shifts that have taken place among modern agricultural practices over the previous few decades. With the product of this genetic engineering being a plant, tree or animal that could never exist through conventional breeding techniques or natural processes, genetic engineering leaves many farmers, eaters and the majority of countries around the world quite skeptical of their known and unknown risks.
The major foods that have been genetically engineered consist of canola, corn, soy and cotton, and it has long been suggested that genetically engineering all commercially used plants, trees and animals, is the future of our food system. In a world where it seems everything is being privatized, such a prospect comes as expected, because when a company genetically engineers a living organism, they can then patent that lifeform and thereby own that lifeform.
Some notable news in the world of genetically engineered food has bubbled to the surface over the past six months that confirms that the future is shaping up to be a genetically modified one. This episode will examine the recent arrival of genetically engineered sugar into the North American food supply and will discuss the steps being taken to introduce genetically engineered alfalfa, genetically engineered trees and perhaps the most controversial... genetically engineered wheat.
Lucy Sharratt, coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) (Ottawa, ON) - Lucy Sharratt has extensive experience as a researcher and campaigner with organizations concerned about genetic engineering and global justice issues. She worked as Coordinator for the International Ban Terminator Campaign in 2005/6 (the international moratorium on Terminator at the United Nations was upheld and strengthened in this phase of the campaign). Lucy was the Coordinator of the Safe Food/Sustainable Agriculture Campaign at the Sierra Club of Canada and worked as a researcher for the BioJustice Project of the Polaris Institute in Ottawa. Lucy also worked as Project Manager for Voices from the South, a project of the Working Group on Canadian Science and Technology Policy, which focused on issues raised by genetic engineering in the Global South.
Carl Casale, vice-president strategy & development, Monsanto Corporation (St. Louis, MO)
E. Ann Clark, associate professor, Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph (Guelph, ON)
Bucky Buckaw - Host, Bucky Buckaw's Backyard Chicken Broadcast (Boise, ID) - Bucky Buckaw gives advice on raising backyard chickens as just one example of how a locally based economy can work. Through this segment, he informs listeners about the downside of factory farming and what kinds of toxic chemicals you can expect to find in the resultant livestock. He promotes organic gardening and composting, and supporting local farmers.