Initiative 522

November 2, 2013

For those about to vote in Washington regarding Initiative 522 and the labeling of products that contain genetically modified foods, you should watch the last half hour of Botany of Desire. I wrote about this PBS documentary a year ago. I want to draw your attention to the potato and history of genetically modified foods in this case.

The film is neither for nor against genetically modifying plants, so it makes for an interesting watch. At the heart, it really criticizes how the public demands the same quality of food with every eating experience, and so farmers plant only one variety to meet that demand. Now this variety, after time, will begin to grow week, as we are not allowing it to evolve into a new variety, yet the pests and diseases are. The plants begin to have no resistance. For traditional farms to compensate, the film argues, we either have to spray or make genetic modifications. The film does offer a third solution, which does require a little bit more education on the consumer’s end.

Further reading: The Columbian, Local farmers come down on both sides of I-522. Oct 20, 2013