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Biology Fortified, Inc.

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This article is part of the Food Rights Network, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy. Find out more here.

Biology Fortified, Inc. (BFI) is a non-profit organization based in Middleton, Wisconsin that states that its mission is "to strengthen the public discussion of issues in biology, with particular emphasis on genetics and genetic engineering in agriculture."[1] It says it "does not accept funding from private companies, for-profit corporations, or political interests."[2] Its mascot, "Frank N. Foode" -- "your friendly neighborhood genetically modified organism" -- "help[s] make the science of biotechnology fun and approachable."[3] It runs the Biofortified blog. The organization and its bloggers unabashedly promote the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Ties to Jon Entine

Karl Haro von Mogel, BFI co-founder, is an associate of Jon Entine, author of Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution and Crop Chemophobia: Will Precaution Kill the Green Revolution? and founding director of the Genetic Literacy Project, which claims as the start of its mission statement, "Biotechnology can improve food security, the environment and public health."[4]

Recently, as described in a "Biofortified" blog post, von Mogel met up with Entine on the side of a rode in Puna, Hawai'i on their way to meet Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, the developer of GMO papayas.[5] The two spoke together at a June 2013 GMO panel organized by the Cato Institute.[6] And Entine regularly mentions von Mogel and BFI in articles published in Forbes and elsewhere.[7]

Board of Directors

As of March 2014:[8]

  • Karl Haro von Mogel (Ph.D. Candidate in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison), Co-Founder, Executive Director and Chairman of the Board
  • Anastasia Bodnar (PhD in genetics with a minor in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University), Co-Founder
  • Pam Ronald (Professor of Plant Pathology and Chair of the Plant Genomics Program at the University of California, Davis; co-author of Tomorrow's Table, a book about including genetic engineering into organic agricultural systems -- currently a banned practice)
  • David Tribe (Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne; author of the blog "GMO Pundit")

Funding

According to BFI's website, "currently the majority of financial support for these overhead costs comes from individual personal donations. BFI is not supported by any companies, government entities, or political parties." It goes on to add, "In the fall of 2009, while still just a blog named 'Biofortified,' we won the Changemakers 'GMO Risk or Rescue' contest, a user-voted competition organized by Ashoka Changemakers. As a result, we received a $1,500 Changemakers grant. In the summer of 2012, Biology Fortified, Inc. won a peer-reviewed Education Foundation Grant from the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) for the proposal, 'Communicating Risk with Genetic Engineering Risk Atlas (GENERA).' This $10,000 grant supports our efforts to stimulate accurate science communication, a goal shared by ASPB."[2]

According to GMWatch, during the 2009 Ashoka Changemakers competition, the Council for Biotechnology Information (a "Big 6" GMO and pesticide corporation trade group) and a Monsanto PR flack drummed up support for the "Biofortified" entry on Twitter. After such promotion had begun, "the votes for Biofortified have suddenly exploded, more than doubling in a matter of hours in a completely unprecedented pattern," GMWatch noted.[9]

Contact Details

Biology Fortified, Inc.
6907 University Ave. #354
Middleton, WI 53562
Phone: (608) 284-8842
Email: _karl AT biofortified.org
Website: http://www.biofortified.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Biofortified
Twitter: @FrankNFoode

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. Biology Fortified, Inc., About, organizational website, accessed March 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Biology Fortified, Inc., Financial Information, organizational website, accessed March 2014.
  3. Biology Fortified, Inc., Brink Frank N. Foode to Life, Kickstarter fundraising campaign, accessed March 2014.
  4. Genetic Literacy Project, Mission, organizational website, accessed March 2014.
  5. Karl Haro von Mogel, GMO Papayas Are About People, Biofortified blog, March 7, 2014.
  6. Cato Institute, Biotechnology: Feeding the World, or a Brave New World of Agriculture?, organizational panel discussion, June 4, 2013.
  7. See e.g. Jon Entine, Grist Challenges Its Own Shaky Crop Biotechnology Reporting, Sets Stage For GMO Science Journalism Conclave, Forbes, July 18, 2013.
  8. Biology Fortified, Inc., Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed March 2014.
  9. Fixing the competition!, GMWatch, accessed March 2014.
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