Farm Bureau 'Food Evolution' screening spurs GMO discussion

St. Clair and Madison County Farm Bureaus, ag groups and student organization team up to provide information about GMOs, biotechnology.

More than 100 students and local residents attend a screening of the film “Food Evolution” sponsored by Madison and St. Clair County Farm Bureaus. (Photos by Chelsea Reeves)

By Chelsea Reeves

Madison and St. Clair County Farm Bureaus paired with the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center and the student organization, From the Ground Up, to host a screening of the film “Food Evolution.” More than 100 students and citizens packed a room in Peck Hall on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus.

The film, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, is a fully –independent film which explores GMO technology, as well as the emotions and evidence driving both pros and cons.

Following the screening, a question and answer session allowed attendees to openly ask local experts about their views and opinions on the subject matter.

Jackie Pohlman from the Renewable Fuels Association moderated the panel of Courtney Breckenridge, National Corn to Ethanol Research Center director of communications and client relations; Andrew Kiggundu-Donald, Danforth Plant Science Center researcher; Chris Otten, St. Clair County Farm Bureau member; and Julie Thole, St. Louis University assistant professor of biology.

“It is discussions that center on the technology and production that truly put me at ease,” said Claire Geiger, who participated in the screening. Geiger considered the opportunity “a wonderful experience of watching ‘Food Evolution.’”

Madison and St. Clair County Farm Bureaus supported this event to provide a divergent perspective of the issues of GMO production. Agriculture and biotechnology are key components of providing a sustainable food supply as the world faces the challenges of feeding an estimated population of 9 billion people by 2050.

Chelsea Reeves serves as Madison County Conservation, Ag Resources and Environmental Education Ag in the Classroom coordinator.