by Ellen Biasin of the Pasadena Weekly
Some have compared Deborah Kooons Garcia’s documentary “The Future of Food” to a horror film, and in many respects it is, particularly when we realize that we are part of its subjects, unwitting ingesting “Frankenfoods,” or genetically engineered fruits and vegetables and risking long term negative impacts to our health the the environment.
s Dr. Ignacio Chapela, one of the researches interviewed in the film, remarks, ” As we move on into this so-called biotech revolution and we start producing more and more transgenic manipulations, we’ll start seeing pieces of DNA interacting with each other in ways that are totally unpredictable. … I think this is probably the largest biological experiment humanity has ever entered into.”
During an hour and a half presentation Sunday sponsored by Path to Freedom, a Pasadena-based group that advocates sustainable urban agriculture, Garcia, wife of late rock legend Jerry Garcia, presented her film, which deals only with genetic engineering of plants that are used for agricultural purposes.
Garcia became interested in food issues as a college student in the late 1960’s when she became a vegetarian and liked the positive effect it had on her health. About five years ago Garcia decided to make a film on agriculture with an initial focus on pesticides.
Now in her mid-50’s, Garcia has a youthful, calmly energetic and slightly girlish demeanor. Asked about her late husband’s influence on her work, Deborah explained that Jerry was always supportive of her as filmmaker, he was interested in filmmaking and knowledgeable about it. His support has continued long after his death in 1995: She used his legacy fund her film.
In a post-screening discussion, Garcia emphasized the importance of community in making changes happen. She also noted the need for building a broad coalition, as there exists in Europe, transcending political, cultural, economic and ethic difference to fight the proliferation of genetically modified foods. Garcia will be traveling to London and New Zealand in the coming weeks to promote “The Future of Food.”
Garcia spoke of efforts on the grassroots level to pass local ordinances to ban genetically modified agriculture. “They have 82 measures proposed at the township level in Vermont alone with regards to seeds, farmer liability and related aspects of this issue,” she said. When asked whether we should propose one in Pasadena, Garcia said, “You should!.”