February 10, 2018 by Staff Writer
Is genetically modified food the sure thing that will feed the world, or is it a risky game of chance?
Many people simply don’t know – and they find it hard to begin to think or talk about it. It’s not just because genetic modification is perceived as a ‘science thing’ that some worry is beyond their comprehension – though certainly this fear is widely exploited by those who want to keep average citizens out of the conversation.
It’s more because the issue of genetically modified food cuts across a vast array of issues and it can be hard to know where to begin. That’s why we have devised our new GMO Wheel of Chance which has the lightness of a game but, with each spin serves up some serious information about genetic modification in food and farming.
At heart is the issue of a sustainable food system – one that feeds us well and that has the potential to go on feeding us far into the future. But the stakes are high and sustainability is a complex concept that encompasses several factors including food quality, social values, environment, health, economic factors and governance/regulation.
The goals in each of these categories are not always well-aligned (for instance the desire for high quality foods that are also inexpensive, or for safety regulation that doesn’t affect the bottom line of global businesses) which is why progress is slow and why, also, we have a tendency to believe in quick fixes and sure bets.
Genetic modification is often portrayed as a sure bet. A technology that benefits people and planet, that is good for the economy and that represents modern, scientific approach to problem solving. But should we take these claims at face value? Is it a gamble we are willing to take? Or do we need to ask more questions, and have a deeper, more nuanced conversation about food systems, sustainability and the future?
Beyond GM’s mission is to reach out to those who might never describe themselves as ‘activists’ but who, nevertheless have a huge stake in the future of our food system. We are always looking for new ways to encourage and facilitate an intelligent, questioning, involved citizenship that cares about the provenance of food, and the integrity of farming and is willing to defend and preserve it.
Conversations about GMOs can quickly become complex and we wanted to find a way to encourage people who may not know much about GMO, but who are interested, to dip into the topic and learn a little more. The wheel design is based on a traditional wheel of fortune and topics are divided into four key areas: consumers, farming, the environment and the marketplace and each spin leads to a pop-up of bite-sized information.
Those attending the Lush Summit 2018, February 14/15, will be amongst the first to have a chance to play with the wheel on dedicated iPads throughout the venue. We will also be leading an interactive workshop on GMOs during the Summit.
We believe our GMO Wheel of Chance is a great learning tool and conversation starter and we hope our supporters will use it and share it far and wide.
If you are new to the subject of genetically modified foods – or just want know more – spin the wheel, learn more and let’s keep talking.