Just a couple months ago, a local church in Chicago, Illinois partnered with a neighborhood organization to feature a free outdoor movie screening of the film "The Future of Food" (2005). The film depicts the growing trend of genetically modified food, and points out the dangers and negative impacts on our bodies, the environment, and the lives of food producers around the world. The outdoor film screening gave the Logan Square Neighborhood the opportunity to come together as a community and learn about this relevant issue, as well as enjoy an educational movie under the stars. The following is a review of the documentary originally published in the San Fransisco Chronicle. You can read the original blog post about the outdoor movie event here.
Food insiders may already know the disturbing facts highlighted by this film, but the general public is in for a shock at how corporations are using misleading campaigns -- and scare tactics -- to ensure that people around the world become dependent on genetically modified food.
Monsanto and other corporate behemoths are motivated (not surprisingly) by profits, according to farmers, academics and others who talk to documentarian Deborah Koons Garcia. Typical: Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser was targeted by Monsanto's lawyers because some of the corporation's patented seedlings were found on his property. Schmeiser didn't plant them there; wind blew the insecticide-resistant seeds onto his farm from another farm, or the seeds fell off a passing truck, or birds deposited them there. Monsanto didn't care, ordering Schmeiser to kill all his family's seed because they'd potentially been contaminated by its patented product. Schmeiser, whose family cultivated its seeds for more than a generation, fought Monsanto, spending his retirement money against the sort of legal attack that has already scared farmers throughout North America. Incredibly, a judge ruled in favor of Monsanto, but Garcia's documentary shows how much the U.S. federal government favors these corporations, especially through lax oversight (the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture seem to rubber-stamp every corporate project having to do with genetically modified food) and direct support. During the presidency of George H.W. Bush, the White House encouraged U.S. businesses to take the lead on scientifically altered food. In the past 20 years, Monsanto's alumni have occupied the high reaches of American power. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for example, did legal work for the corporation, while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was president of a Monsanto subsidiary.
"The Future of Food" digs out these connections and also raises an issue that many scientists have been hollering about for years: Genetically engineered food may be dangerous to eat and dangerous for the environment. Millions of acres are now being planted with genetically modified corn, cotton, canola and soy beans, despite the fact that questions are still being raised about the health effects of food born from laboratory experiments. Scientifically modified food is helping to crowd out food that has traditionally sustained people, according to "The Future of Food," which offers a brief history lesson about the dangers of shrinking food sources.
Monsanto will attack Garcia's documentary as a piece of unbalanced journalism, but "The Future of Food" doesn't need to put corporate spokespeople on camera to attain credibility. Garcia uses their own public relations video to show how much spin they are doing to convince the general public that their motives are good. One of 2005's must-see documentaries, "The Future of Food" will motivate many of its audience members to reconsider their eating (and purchasing) habits. Garcia, the widow of Grateful Dead star Jerry Garcia, has taken a complex subject and made it digestible for anyone who cares about what they put into their stomachs.
Documentary. Directed, produced and written by Deborah Koons Garcia. Not rated. 88 minutes.
Source: "The Future of Food" by Jonathan Curiel -the San Fransisco Chronicle. Read full article at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/09/30/DDGHOEVICB1.DTL#flick3