UCSC Media Theater
Miguel Altieri (UC Berkeley)
Eric Holt-Gimenez (Food First)
Kent Bradford (UC Davis)
Moderator: Jacob Metcalf (UCSC Science & Justice Research Center)
In collaboration with the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, the Science & Justice Research Center will host a panel discussion on the role of genetically modified crops within sustainable food systems in the global South. Food and agroecology activist and scholar Dr. Vandana Shiva will headline a panel with diverse perspectives from crop science, philanthropy. This panel will cap the CASFS weekend-long gathering and seed exchange event Strengthening the Roots: Seeds and Justice Convergence.
Two decades of experience with GMO crops, including mixed assessments of environmental impact and increased yield, indicate that controversies about biotech agriculture is not just (or even primarily) about the modified plants themselves. Rather, a complex social system travels with the plants. This system includes intellectual property, legal and political regimes, chemical inputs, industrialized and centralized food processing, farmer debt and much more. As the debate over GMO crops has evolved, particularly in the global South, the controversies have shifted from genetic modification techniques to the appropriateness of that social system for providing environmentally beneficial and economically secure food systems. Thus, this panel seeks to investigate the question of under what conditions ag-biotech is capable of providing sustainable—in all its ecological, cultural, and economic connotations—food systems in the global South? And are achieving those conditions both plausible and worth whatever trade-offs may be made in pursuit of extending and improving upon more traditional modes of growing food?