Q & A

Question:

What is genetic engineering? Some people say it’s a radical new technology that presents greater risks. Others say it’s no different than traditional breeding methods.

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Photo Freese head shot

Genetic engineering (also called genetic modification or biotechnology) involves direct manipulation of genes, the basic units of heredity, and represents a radical departure from traditional plant breeding in three ways.  It allows transfer of genes between species that could never breed in nature, such as bacteria and corn.  It requires expensive laboratories and many millions of dollars to implement, while traditional breeding is inexpensive and accessible to anyone willing to learn.  Genetic engineering is imprecise and disruptive.  It gives rise to many unpredictable effects, some potentially hazardous, such as new toxins, allergens or reduced nutrition, making stricter regulation essential. In contrast, traditional breeding is safe and predictable.

Featured voice: Bill Freese, Science Policy Analyst

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Question:

What are some inspiring efforts around the country that are helping put healthy food in the hands of low-income families?

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LaDonnaRedmond_photoDetroit Black Food Policy Council and Malik Yakini, raising community food systems from the bottom up. This effort does not take a silver bullet approach and takes the community side of food systems development.

Featured voice: LaDonna Redmond, Food Justice Activist

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Question:

What are some specific ways we can each make it more affordable to choose organic food for ourselves?

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LaDonnaRedmond_photoThe system is too complex to suggest that consumer behavior will change the system. In fact, I don’t believe that it will. We need consumers remember that they are also citizens and adopt a mentality that helps them understand the connection between the grocery store aisle and polling booths.

Featured voice: LaDonna Redmond, Food Justice Activist

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Question:

What are some policies that we could support that would make healthy food more affordable for the typical American family?

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LaDonnaRedmond_photoWe must go beyond the farm bill policy. We have to come to an understanding that the food system that we want has never existed – meaning, one that is free from exploitation of land, labor and natural resources. This means that we need a NEW set of policies that unites these principles.

Featured voice: LaDonna Redmond, Food Justice Activist

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Question:

Would it be possible to raise food sustainably and have that food be affordable?

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LaDonnaRedmond_photoI believe this is completely possible but it does mean changing the current food system that is based upon exploitation.

Featured voice: LaDonna Redmond, Food Justice Activist

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