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April 2006
The Future of Food is Now!
Film Review by Olivia Lane

 

The Future of Food
Directed by Deborah Koons Garcia
88 minutes

Ask people how they feel about genetically engineered foods and most likely their response will be a mixture of negativity and confusion. Maybe they’ve heard something about a recent study on the news in passing or even started purchasing organic foods in order to avoid them, but they can’t explain exactly what GE foods are or why they distrust them.

Deborah Koons Garcia’s 2004 documentary, The Future of Food, is a sort of primer on genetically engineered food. Using a multitude of interviews, Garcia builds a fascinating story of the social-political history and science of bioengineered produce and its relationship with the rights of small farmers, our government, public health and safety, and global biodiversity. While films as densely informative and long as The Future of Food have the potential to either be too much for a viewer to understand or too boring for most people to want to endure, Garcia manages to pace the information in a way that makes it accessible. She develops the titillating story of GE foods and the corporations who propagate them as though they were celebrities being profiled on “E! True Hollywood Story,” unpeeling layer after layer of dirty secrets.

The experience of watching The Future of Food had a similar disillusioning effect on me, as did seeing Meet Your Meat. It made me aware that the majority of foods that most of us eat—because they’re affordable and readily available—actually have a hidden cost. I think this is one of the most important films out there. Everyone should see this documentary and share it with their family, friends and neighbors. And the action shouldn’t just end there. We need to work with food security groups like Just Food (www.justfood.org) to introduce safe and affordable foods to all communities. We also need to work with groups like SOS Food (www.sixthstreetcenter.org/sosfood) to get these foods labeled and bioengineering controlled because, unfortunately, the future of food is now.

Olivia Lane is Publishing Associate of Lantern Books. She is a vegan animal activist who resides in Brooklyn.


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