Amidst a brutally polarized debate marked by passion, suspicion and confusion, “Food Evolution,” is a new documentary film by Academy Award-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy that explores the controversy surrounding GMOs and food.
The film was funded by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a non-profit, scientific society that publishes peer-reviewed scientific journals and consists of over 17,000 food scientists around the world, spanning academia, the public sector and the private sector.
Filmmaker Kennedy noted that the scientists who make up the IFT “understood the importance of an independent investigation into a topic as polarizing as the science behind how we grow and produce food. As such, when we insisted on complete creative control and final cut before we could participate in the project, they willingly granted that control to us.
“As food scientists who were tired of seeing their work denigrated and diminished by less detail-oriented -- if often well-intentioned -- media and activists who focused on fear-mongering over facts, the IFT’s overarching goal for this project was to promote a more science-based conversation about food, and not to advance any particular agenda,” said Kennedy.
Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves, to banana farms in Uganda to the cornfields of Iowa, the film, narrated by esteemed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, wrestles with both the emotions and science driving one of the most heated arguments of our time. In the GMO debate, both pro and anti camps claim science is on their side. Who’s right?
“Food Evolution” shows how easily misinformation, confusion and fear can overwhelm objective analysis. It addresses:
- How do we ensure that our food supply is safe, and that everyone has enough to eat?
- How do we feed the world while also protecting the planet?
- Has genetic engineering increased or decreased pesticide use?
- Are GMO foods bad for your health?
- And, most importantly, what data, evidence and sources are we using to approach these important questions?
Sources in the film span a broad range of perspectives, and include actress Roseanne Barr; Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” and dairy researcher Alison Van Eenennaam, Animal Genomics and Biotechnology Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California-Davis.
New York Times journalist David Brooks noted, “This is no longer a country in which everybody experiences the same reality. ‘Food Evolution’ has something important to add to the conversation. When journalism and science – the very institutions that are supposed to help us determine fact from fiction and truth from spin – are under existential attack for being ‘fake news,’ we hope ‘Food Evolution’ might help people to become better informed and prepare themselves to make the best choices they can.”
A trailer of the movie can be viewed here, and more information about the project – including streaming information for at-home viewing -- can be found at www.foodevolutionmovie.com. “Food Evolution” also is an excellent medium for screening events hosted by agricultural groups. To host a screening, visit this link.
Finally, to hear a discussion of the film hosted by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), click here to listen.