“Frankenfood” is a term I’ve heard thrown around a lot (usually quite angrily) at places like food coöps and the Common Ground Fair, and it has a decidedly negative ring. No portmanteau word containing “Frankenstein” could sound healthy, and applying this term to genetically modified food makes it sound toxic and evil and like it will turn you into a glowing, slime-dripping monster if you ingest it. But I never fully understood what peoples’ objection to GMO crops was, and got some very vague answers (“It’s not natural!”) when I asked. I’m not trying to discredit anyone’s distaste for modified foods, though I do think that calling them “Frankenfoods” or “Frankenstein foods” is misleading and manipulative, but, from the little bit of research I’ve done, the issue seems more ethical than health-related. We’ve talked a lot about growing populations, farming technology, etc., etc. and these “biotech” foods seem to be a big part of that issue. While the idea of genetically engineering what we eat is a little too sci-fi for comfort, increased crop yields do, you know, feed people. And I don’t know if I’m comfortable with people who can afford organic food and have time to weave their own hemp clothing deciding based on their own ideals what kind of rice the rest of the world should eat.
The same thing goes for organic farming. Probably Healthier vs. More Food. And it’s a really tricky question, with so many factors to consider that you can’t really turn around without bumping into far too much environmental, economic and medical reasoning to absorb. But this article explains a little bit about the company that’s at the head of the biotech industry, and clears up a couple misconceptions. I also urge you to have a look at this slideshow, which has some very interesting photos of urban gardening around the world (I especially like the London lavender one – my father used to grow lavender on a roof garden above our flat there).