Feb 07 2014

The cuddliest artificial genetic mutant ever

The food science blog Biofortified is running a kickstarter to encuten genetically modified organisms with Frank N. Foode™ plushies. Give to help promote informed food choices and get soft fuzzy rewards!

One of the secondary inducements are mini-maize seeds, that allow you to grow tiny corn plants in your home. I am surrounded by kilometers of vast corn fields — corn and soybeans, corn and soybeans, corn and soybeans, everywhere. Not tempting at all. But maybe some of you more urban readers need a tiny reminder of where your High Fructose Corn Syrup and ethanol and popcorn and an awful lot of the carbohydrates in your diet come from.

They aren’t making the mini-maize seeds part of the rewards any more: you can get them for free!


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  1. 1
    chigau (違う)

    I could go for some baby corn…

  2. 2

    Regular sweet corn doesn’t need to be grown in farm-size plots if you’re a backyard gardener. I have it on my list for this year, inspired by some neighbors who grew a half-dozen plants in a box.

  3. 3
    Reginald Selkirk

    On the topic of Big Agra:

    A Valuable Reputation

    After Tyrone Hayes said that a chemical was harmful, its maker (Syngenta) pursued him.

  4. 4

    I grow 4 corn stalks per square foot in a raised bed of carefully constructed soil, and they grow great. I would be hesitant to grow only 6 plants at a time, though. You’d have to be very diligent about hand pollenizing them to get filled-out ears.

  5. 5

    Or pollinating,even.

  6. 6

    That would take a busy, skilled and diligent bee-ologist. Ho hum.

  7. 7

    moarscienceplz: This is why I’ve put my veggies along the path from the car to the back door of the house (about 15 feet) instead of off in the backyard: I can’t avoid stopping to look at the daily progress.

    I noticed the little bees (seriously, little tiny things, not bumblebees or honeybees) pollinating my tomatoes last year, and knew the crop would be good (and it was HUGE). I’ll keep an eye on the corn. I love fiddling with my garden, and if I have to hand-pollinate, it will probably entertain me. I may even make buzzing sounds while I do it. ;-)

  8. 8

    a tiny reminder of where your High Fructose Corn Syrup and ethanol and popcorn and an awful lot of the carbohydrates in your diet come from

    Not to mention the enormous quantities of that corn and soybean going into cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys to make meat for Americans to eat…plus a few gazillion tons of methane, lakes of poop, et cetera.

  9. 9

    It’s a shame that Kickstarter now forbids any recombinant organisms as project rewards, following the glowing plant project on Kickstarter. But this is the next best thing :)

  10. 10

    @frog – Just a note, you may know this already, but corn is not pollinated by insects. The wind does the job when it is not hand pollinated. That’s why most of the recommendations are for fairly good sized plots of corn. Hand pollinating isn’t too difficult with a small plot though, I would recommend you just plan on doing it. You won’t know if you need to from observation until it is too late. Also, watch our for raccoons. If they discover your corn plot, it’s all over. They’ll sweep in one night just before it’s ready to harvest and tear every stalk and ear apart leaving total destruction in their wake.

    Also, I wonder what the mini corn tastes like? AFAIK, all that genetically modified corn is industrial corn of some sort, used in feed, ethanol, and processed food products, but not eaten as kernels. The corn we eat is sweet corn and I’ve never heard of it being genetically modified. Certainly not the seed you generally buy. When you see things like “silver queen”, that’s actually the name of a specific corn variety, one developed by conventional selective breeding, and not GMO because a GMO would no longer be “silver queen” it would need a new name…

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