Modified food cart

One of the best ways to spark conversation is over a bite to eat. That’s why the Alliance for Science developed ‘Modified’, a hip food cart we’ll be taking to conferences and events across the U.S. as a way to talk about – and taste – genetically modified foods.

The cart’s colorful 1960s-inspired “mod” paint job is meant to catch people’s eyes and pique their interest. And the foods we’ll be dishing out are meant to both satisfy their taste buds and spark a conversation about the benefits of modern biotechnology.

“As synthetic biology and gene editing tools like CRISPR continue to advance, we will be seeing more modified food products hit the market, particularly in response to mitigating the impacts of climate change,” says Alliance executive director Sarah Evanega. “We want to give consumers a fun venue to talk about and sample these foods. Eating is believing.”

Modified made its first appearance at the SynBioBeta conference in San Francisco, where tech innovators were treated to free samples of genetically modified foods and drinks like the browning-resistant Arctic apple, the virus-resistant Hawaiian Rainbow papaya grown by the Kamiya family farm and beers from Berkeley Brewing Science.

Modified next made its way to San Diego in January 2020 for the world’s largest ag-genomics meeting in the world, the Plant and Animal Genome XXVII conference, where genetically-modified parfaits and chips and salsa were among the offerings.

Wherever Modified goes, it is staffed by the “mod squad” — science ambassadors who can discuss the need for modified crops in countries across the globe and highlight the ways modified crops can make agriculture more sustainable by reducing pesticide use, food waste and carbon emissions.

Want to see and taste Modified for yourself? The Alliance for Science is seeking other events where we can serve up tasty food and stimulating conversations. The Modified food cart is also a great opportunity for progressive companies to showcase their modified products. Those interested in collaborating with Modified are encouraged to contact Sarah Evanega at snd2@cornell.edu.

Until the cart shows up at a venue near you, be sure to follow its exploits on Instagram and Twitter.