How We Grow: Agriculture and Tech
Colleen Tufts
March 15th, 2022

As of 2022, there are 7.9 billion people living on Earth, and there’s plenty of food on the planet to feed everyone—but the UN’s hunger map estimated that in 2021, a tenth of the world population did not have enough to eat. Not everyone has access to enough food, let alone nutritious food, leaving hundreds of millions of people vitamin deficient or starving. 

Today in the US, a great deal of the produce we eat is genetically modified. Corn, soybeans, potatoes, canola, alfalfa, and apples are all examples of GMO crops that commonly line the shelves of our supermarkets. GMO crops are developed by isolating a desirable gene in a different plant or organism, copying that gene, and inserting it into the new plant. GMO produce was designed to address environmental stressors that endanger crops, like droughts, insect infestations, and diseases, and the addition of GMO foods to the American diet has decreased pesticide consumption and saved countless harvests over the years. 

New technologies in the agricultural sector have the potential to relieve these crises. Genetically modified foods, like Golden Rice, are engineered to have a higher nutritional value and higher crop yield–which means that more food can be cultivated on less land. Biofortified crops could save millions of lives, especially those of infants and young children, who are disproportionately affected by vitamin deficiencies in developing countries. But, with a growing stigma against genetically modified foods, will we get the chance?