As concerns about global food security are on the rise, there are many questions as to how the world will face growing demands for a sustainable food supply. While poverty and food distribution seem to underlie many of the challenges regarding food security, biotechnology in the form of genetically modified seeds could continue to play an increasing role in how food is grown and traded in both developed and less developed countries.
Does patenting seeds create new risks to food security or provide a way of securing the world food supply through centralisation? Are we simply looking at a new way of meeting the demands placed upon agriculture or a new way for chemical corporations such as Monsanto, Dupont, Dow Chemical and others to place new demands on society? Most importantly, where does this leave farmers and the communities they support?
Similar to other scientific and technological controversies it’s almost impossible if not undesirable to separate genetic modification from its larger sociopolitical context, even if this was accomplished it would likely portray the technologies in question far from the societies and ecosystems they will likely impact the most.
The film Seeds of Freedom takes a critical perspective on how genetic modification via large-scale agribusiness is monopolising farmers’ seeds instead of working with them. While this is clearly not the only angle to take on GM seeds it does raise important questions about the use of patented GM seeds, especially in less developed countries. Clips from this film along with several others will be shown during discussion and debate on GM technology with Durham researchers (and possibly others), to be held at the Star & Shadow Cinema in Newcastle, part of a food film festival programme in January 2014.