In the last 50 years, technology has completely changed the way we eat. When we think about farming, we think red barns, green grass, free-roaming animals, etc. Farming, now-a-days, is far different than the image the industry has lead us to believe. Farming has become a highly industrialized and mechanized business. The reality is our food is no longer coming from farms; it’s coming off assembly lines in factories, just like automobiles.
Due to the high demand for certain types of foods, technology has allowed us to change the way we grow our food. Through genetic engineering, scientists have been able to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) into the food system to help with the shortage of food. Take for instance, the chicken. In 1950, it took farmers 70 days to raise a chicken. Now, it takes half the time, only 48 days. Not only can farmers grow chickens faster, they can grow them to be bigger. To meet the needs of consumers’ preferences for white meat, scientists made specific changes to the chickens’ DNA that made it possible to redesign the chicken to have larger breasts (Wikipedia.org).
Another area where technology was applied to our food production process was through crops. In the 1930’s scientists developed a hybrid seed for corn, this hybrid had stronger stalks that resisted being blown over and it allowed farmers to plant the crop closer together (Food, Inc. Discussion Guide). Resulting in higher yields, “100 years ago a farmer in America could grow maybe 20 bushels of corn on an acre. Today, 200 bushels is no problem” (Food, Inc.). With the surplus of corn, scientists were able to develop more uses for it. A couple of examples include corn-based ethanol fuel, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, etc. Even though the technological advances mentioned above are astounding, one can’t help but wonder how these changes are affecting