Agent Strawberry of the Biotic Baking Brigade. I am swift. I am Deadly. To the evil conspirators at war with the natural living forces on this planet, I am —Their worst niqhtmare! With my special tuber tazer and my invincible Tart Classique, I am unstoppable. I will stop the forces of ANTI-Nature in their Gucci-footprinted tracks. Because today is a good day to Pie!…
(picks up a tomato)
See this tomato? Look okay to you? Smells right? You know what it is? It’s part salmon. Those swell scientists at Monsanto put salmon genes in this tomato. To keep it from freezing when it gets cold. They just used enzymes and broke up the salmon DNA and then put the genes that control temperature regulation into the tomato. Is it safe? Who knows? White Europeans have only been eating tomatoes for about three or four hundred years. Before that, people thought they were poisonous. But we’ve eaten hundreds of billions of tomatoes over the past three hundred years, and nobody’s died. And now, they’re part salmon. And it doesn’t even say it’s part salmon. It doesn’t look up at me with a label that says ‘this tomato wants to swim upstream’.
(She puts the tomato down, picks up a handful of rice)
This is basmati rice. From India. For all of recorded history, Indian families have cross-bred rice strains to make the best rice. Their families depend on the best strains of rice surviving. And a farmer in Kerala (and over half the farmers in Kerala are women) will tell you her family’s rice is five, six, seven generations old. SEVEN GENERATIONS. So American companies go into India, they buy the rice from these farmers–AND THEY PATENT IT. They’re allowed to-all they have to do is identify one line of chromosomes as unique and the US patent office gives them a patent. When that farmer tries to grow her rice again, the police show up and say ‘this rice is patented now. It belongs to the Americans’. And it does. The Indian court won’t let that farmer grow the rice that’s been in the family for seven generations.
(selected excerpts from A GOOD DAY 2 PIE, a play about Bugs, Dirt, Seeds and Monsanto. Available for tour)