Everyday Activist - Modified

Posted on Monday, June 03, 2019 at 06:00 PM


Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Visiting CalgaryMovies.com, reminded me that outside of major festival season, I don’t post nearly as often. Modified, an awarding winning Canadian documentary by Aube Giroux available on CBC, discusses the topic of labeling genetically modified organisms. Any social activist will confirm that those who dare expose agribusiness for unethical practices incur the greatest risks. This is why it’s so important for documentary filmmakers to speak out to a wide audience. Taking ten years to complete, her autobiographical film explores the director’s relationship with food, activism and her mother.

Our food labelling system is weird to begin with since all food is organic, just most of it is chemically treated and the rest is not. The driving force for Genetically Modified Organism development has been to boost the bottom lines for chemical companies such as Monsanto and Dow. Commonly the rhetoric is about feeding the world; however, Modified does a beautiful job of talking to farmers who have given up poisoning themselves and the food they grow. In a drought, the organic farmer had a considerably better yield than his neighbors who used genetically modified crops and poison. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, yet it always seems to, that in the face of climate change, population growth, evolution of insects and disease, genetic diversity is important. This article with the accompanying diagram illustrates what we’ve done to our food production.

GMOs have caused problems for Canadian agribusiness within the last year when Japan and then South Korea suspended purchasing of Canadian grain, because GMO strains were found. Within a month the ban was lifted, but what’s interesting is that when Giroux asked the Federal Government to comment on Genetically Modified Organism Labeling for her film, she had trouble getting someone to answer her questions when clearly this is an important issue for the Canadian economy, potentially costing hundreds of millions of dollars in wheat export.

As a foodie, I loved that CBC put the recipes from the film online. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I probably will soon. Modified reminds me that I should make a better effort to buy organic produce, especially now that the prices have come down to the point where if I buy in-season, they are often cheaper than their chemically laden counterparts. People can continue to debate whether or not GMOs are safe, but what has never been contested is that the poisons put on the plants are toxic. Giroux’s loss shows that no matter how careful we are with our food, if our neighbors spray their crops with chemicals chances are that we will be exposed too. We are all connected, plants, animals and people, despite our attempts to think otherwise.

Stream now on CBC Gem (Canada only): CBC DOCS POV: Modified

Calgary Showtimes:  Modified >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.