Earth Open Source Institute was established to provide independent scientific investigations and analysis of the state of the science in food and agriculture.
Ideally, university research departments and government bodies that regulate our food and farming systems would provide independent analysis of possible health and environmental consequences of technological changes. Practically, budget limitations and commercial lobbies often prevent important questions from being answered. For example, people in the U.S. requested that the government investigate reports of allergic reactions by farm workers to Bt, the bacterial toxin that is genetically engineered into crops like corn and cotton. The government declined even though potential for allergic reactions is one of the criteria it uses to decide whether to allow a GM crop to be planted.
Given the gaps in independent research, Earth Open Source Institute scientists and engineers conduct original research into pressing questions of food safety. We advise and collaborate with food and medical researchers in other institutions. We also support emerging “citizen science” efforts – concerned individuals who combine new portable monitoring tools, pool resources, and gather samples for testing at a scale not possible by individual scientists.
Earth Open Source Institute’s current areas of research are on the topics of genetically modified foods and pesticides. Synthetic biology and nanotechnology applied to food and agriculture are also areas of interest.
Our goal is to increase the transparency in our food systems, and in the spirit of open source collaboration, to share information and improve our understanding.