Recently, I attended the Maine Social Forum Film Festival at the Lewiston Library. Headlining was Deborah Koons Garcia. Yes, she was married to Jerry Garcia (of Grateful Dead fame). Also making appearances were various other filmmakers with 12 different, original films – surprisingly good, actually.

Garcia’s feature film about genetically engineered food, “The Future of Food,” began with early, agricultural industrialization, post World War II. It explained how nitrogen bombs were converted into fertilizer, just as nerve gas was modified into pesticide. Soon the seed companies are bought up by pesticide companies, such as Monsanto – a massive corporation which later, through its own employees, supplied an abundance of prestigious government positions. The power concentration enables American companies to treat food genetically in ways unacceptable to the rest of the world. We’ve already lost our European corn markets, and things get worse.

This film’s message helped me to understand how grievously our food corporations and bio-patenting laws hurt consumer and farmer. Nobody should be able to patent genes causing breast cancer just to charge unreasonable amounts to those wanting to conduct research on breast cancer. Since such patenting, far less breast cancer research can be afforded and occurs.

Deborah Garcia was very engaging, and the question/response session afterward was a pleasure, giving her ample opportunity to lead fascinating discussions.

Michael Richard, Lisbon

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