There are many great things about living downtown and which set of things you prefer would dictate what might top your list. Being an uber nerd, I love the fact that I can attend lectures and learn about the things that capture my interest. I’ve attended lectures of various sorts at the East Tennessee History Center, the U.T. Conference Center, the U.T. campus, the Bijou Theater, the Chamber of Commerce offices and other various places. Last Wednesday night, Urban Woman and I attended a screening of the movie, “Genetic Roulette” in the backroom of Remedy Coffee.
Originally intended as a space for a church to meet, as the faith community grew too large and moved on, this room is available for rental to community groups (and for parties, birthday and otherwise). On this particular evening, Brianna Lamberson hosted the movie screening and led the subsequent conversation. Brianna is a manager at Reruns Boutique, but she also operates a business devoted to healthy choices and particularly focuses on healthy eating. You may have caught her recent debut on WBIR discussing healthy food alternatives.
The topic for the evening was GMOs. This would be genetically modified organisms. “Genetic Roulette,” which you may watch in its entirety for $2.99 on Amazon at that link, discusses the concerns surrounding GMOs. Without going too deep, I’ll give you a couple of examples that caught my attention:
First, crops are now widely in use which have the pesticides genetically included within the crop itself. This means no need to spray insecticide, because when the bugs bite the crop their stomachs burst open. Pretty cool, huh? Only what happens to our stomachs when we eat large portions and many portions of those vegetables over time? There is a lot more concern than answers at this point.
Other crops have been developed to be Round-up resistant. For those of you who may not know, Round-up is a powerful weed killer which has had the unfortunate drawback that it kills any vegetation, good or otherwise. Now, with genetic modifications, these crops do not die when doused in the chemical. That’s a good thing, right? Well, it means the crops can be covered repeatedly in the chemical without being killed. This means that we likely eat large portions of this weed killer when we eat the crop.
Riverplains Farm is located in Strawberry Plains, just outside of Knoxville. Operated by the Niceley family, the three daughters of the family, Anna, Rachel and Jennifer, have focused their energy on making the farm more sustainable and on generating organic, GMO-free foods. They have also launched a food truck which participated in the Market Square Farmers’ Market for the first time this past Saturday.
Anna came to the meeting at Remedy and talked about the evolution of their farm over the years and the importance of resisting GMOs. She also brought samples of their organic foods (doughnuts) which were delicious. She said they are committed to delivering the kinds of organic meat, eggs and vegetables, as well as using them in their food truck, that really return us to a healthier time not that long ago – pre-1996 to be specific. That’s when GMOs were introduced into our foods.
It gets more insidious when the company “Monsanto” is mentioned. The company inspired quite a stir nation-wide this past weekend, which included some action on Market Square and I’ll have photos and more in tomorrow’s post.