Food and Technology

Healthy foods

Corporate-controlled, chemical intensive industrial food production is increasingly harmful to people and the planet, contributing to hunger, disease, poverty and severe environmental damage. Simultaneously, this “too big to fail” system leaves us vulnerable to climate chaos and other disruptions which threaten food security and our ability to feed growing populations.

Friends of the Earth’s Food and Technology Program is working to rapidly transition our food system to one that is sustainable, regenerative, healthy and just -- the food system of the future. We carry out market and policy campaigns aimed at protecting pollinators, reforming animal agriculture and reducing the harmful environmental, health and social impacts of industrial agriculture and while advocating for local, just, humane, organic, climate-resilient agro-ecological food production. We also work to ensure the safe and precautionary management of chemicals and emerging technologies.

Bee Action campaign

Umberto Salvagnin, Flickr

One out of three bites of food and two-thirds of crops overall are pollinated by bees. Unfortunately, bees are dying at alarming rates around the world. A growing body of science has implicated neonicotinoids (neonics), the world’s best-selling class of pesticides, as a key contributor to this global crisis. What’s worse, these pesticides are commonly found in “bee-friendly” home garden plants and in off-the-shelf garden products sold at garden centers nationwide.

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Good food, healthy planet

The science is clear -- a diet with less meat and more plant-based, organically grown, unprocessed foods is better for our health and better for the planet. Our Good Food, Healthy Planet campaign aims to dramatically reduce consumption of animal products, while increasing access to and availability of sustainable animal and plant-based proteins on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves. We also advocate for better policies to reduce the harmful environmental, animal welfare, worker and public health impacts of industrial agriculture and push for greater public investment in more sustainable food production.

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Synthetic biology

We are pushing for proper government oversight of synthetic biology -- a largely unregulated and rapidly developing biotechnology that involves engineering new organisms from scratch.

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Synbio vanilla: A new ingredient straight out of a petri dish is about to enter the global food supply in many of our favorite foods from ice cream to birthday cake.

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Genetic engineeringWhite House GE salmon protest

We are working to keep genetically engineered "frankenfish" -- which would be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption -- off of grocery store shelves.

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We advocate for policies to protect the public from the risks posed by the increasing use of nanomaterials in cosmetics, sunscreens and a plethora of other consumer products.

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Human engineering

Mother and child in pool

Emerging biotechnologies are enabling researchers and corporations to control and manipulate the basic building blocks of life. The impacts of these technologies are already rippling through society, as corporations patent our genes and those of other organisms. Some of these techniques have also brought the prospect of genetically engineered humans closer to reality.

We advocate for explicit and expansive public engagement on the human applications of synthetic biology, including and going beyond safety thresholds and addressing the social and ethical concerns. We want to see an ongoing, transparent, democratic process with which to evaluate and appropriately regulate new, emerging and proposed human applications of synthetic biology.

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