Thursday, August 2, 2012

Open Source Food

Imagine a world where DNA is open source and owned by the commons and can't be patented and exploited by corporations.

One of my ideas upon embarking on this food sovereignty/democratisation PhD was inspired by the internet and its freedom of information: the democratisation of knowledge, and how this ideology is being reflected in free-food activities like dumpter-diving, community gardening, land-sharing etc.  Knowledge and information can be reproduced and shared so easily, whereas food is limited by its tangibility.  I can't download an apple, but I can find someone on Oooby who has heaps to spare and wants me to cart some away.  I can find a food foraging website that can tell me where the nearby apple trees are, or, for a more long term investment, I could find someone who has heaps of land and wants to land-share and let me plant out some apple tree cuttings from Freecycle or some-such.

I'm really interested in ideas and activities around food and freedom.  The internet and the concept of open-source is inspiring.   This article on 'seed sovereignty' discusses how the Creative Commons concept is being taken up by the food sovereignty movement as a potential way of protecting DNA from corporate patenting.  If the original DNA of a plant is owned by 'the commons' (i.e. everyone), then a company like Monsanto who is only altering commonly owned DNA, as with modifications of open source software, cannot claim ownership over the DNA.  I'm not sure how feasible it is, it if companies like Monsanto can't patent DNA and sue farmers whose crops are unintentionally fertilized by Monsanto owned DNA etc, it would remove much of the profit motivation for GMO.

Along similar lines, this guy interviewed on National Radio is trying to practice open source living for a year, including only eating open source food.  I'm tempted to follow suit.

No comments:

Post a Comment