The Future Of Food (2004)

“You cannot insert a gene from a bacteria into a seed and call it life. You haven’t created life, instead you have polluted it.”

Vandana Shiva, scholar and environmental activist

Run time: 1h 28mins

Director: Deborah Koons Garcia

Narrator: Sara Maamouri

Language: English

IMDb rating: 7.8/10

One Sentence Summary

Our food is on the brink of becoming genetically modified monocultures produced and distributed by a handful of companies.

Brief Synopsis

The Future of Food delves into the realms of biotechnology and genetic modification. Stemming from a ‘Green Revolution,’ that is, the industrialisation of food production, the ‘Gene Revolution’ has given rise to multinational biotech firms being legally allowed to patent genes and crop seeds. What has occurred since is a funnelling effect. Hundreds of small farms have been forced out of business, the diversity of the plants and crops we eat has been dramatically reduced and the number of companies involved in food production has narrowed down to a big few.  With the promised benefits of genetically modified food failing to materialise, we as a society need take control of the future of our food.

The Trailer

The Vegan Bit

Although this documentary is from 2004, much of the controversy surrounding its subject matter still pervades. Genetic modification of food and its constituents is a problem for vegans and non-vegans alike. The driving forces behind this technology seem to want to metaphorically (and perhaps literally) push these foods down our throat with seemingly no additional nutritional benefit to be had. A whole food, plant-based diet is considered the best for human health, however, genetic uniformity in crops leads to the susceptibility of attack from insects and disease, which then means more chemical intervention in the form of pesticides. This of course has implications for health and the environment. Getting fat are the CEOs. And that’s off their non-genetically modifed profits.

The introduction of artificial ‘terminator’ sequences into plant DNA adds additional potential problems. Functioning as its name implies, the foreign code effectively causes the plant to commit suicide so that its seeds become useless. The repercussions should these genes penetrate natural flora could be devastating.

The backlash has come in the form of the rise in popularity of organics and locally sourced produce. People have shown that when in possession of the facts, they can and will act.


In 2013, 93% of the soybeans, 90% of the cotton, and 90% of the corn grown in the US was genetically engineered for either herbicide tolerance or insect resistance .

According to an article in the New York Times, the US Department of Agriculture has proposed new guidelines for labeling genetically modified foods or those that contain genetically modified ingredients. By 2020, it will become federal law to use labels.

Where And How To Watch

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