Limited edition BFI shirts

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In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we’re releasing limited edition Biology Fortified shirts! They are available in standard and fitted t-shirts, each for just $22, and you can also purchase a hoodie for $34. These special items will be available one time only, so get yours today!

Our designer is Valen Waddell (@dellestuff on Twitter). Val is a self-taught artist, working in digital art as well as acrylic, watercolor, sculpture, and more. He was the artist behind the original Frank drawings back in 2013, so it’s only fitting that he is also the artist for our 10th anniversary shirt! Like Val’s work? You can commission your own designs at very reasonable prices.

The design will be printed on a beautiful dark grey or rich black shirt to represent the soil that we must nurture. The central element is a well-established tree that is sending out new shoots. That’s Biology Fortified. We’ve been around a while, and some of our branches may have gotten a bit dusty, but we are ready to grow.

Original Frank by Valen Waddell.

Arched over the tree are seven examples of crops that have been engineered with biotechnology. These represent biotechnology from its history all the way into its future. The crops are green and gold; Biology Fortified’s signature colors. Arched over the crops is our motto: Stronger plants, stronger science, stronger communication.

The biotech crops pictured on the shirt are papaya, soybean, sugar beet, corn, apple, eggplant, and cotton. All of these crops except eggplant are approved and available on the US market. We wanted to feature biotech crops on our shirt because communicating the science of biotechnology is really what Biology Fortified is all about. We’ve talked about a lot of things on the Biofortified Blog over the years, but at the end of the day our goal is helping people understand biotech so it can be a useful tool for farmers and for all people around the world.

    • Virus resistant papaya is notable because it was created with public research funding. Without it, the Hawaiian papaya industry would have been entirely wiped out.
    • Herbicide tolerant soybean and sugar beet are important because they allowed farmers to adopt no-till or low-till farming methods, which reduce erosion.
    • Corn, both field and sweet varieties, but not popcorn, is available with herbicide tolerance traits and insect resistance. The insect resistance trait is thanks to a protein called Bt from a certain type of soil bacteria. Insect resistance is also available in soybean. While it’s not available in the US, farmers in India are able to grow insect resistant eggplant, dramatically reducing insecticide use. Some corn varieties also have moderate drought resistance thanks to biotechnology.
    • The non-browning apple is a new-comer to the US market. You can buy ApBitz dried apples on Amazon, making them the only “GMO” you can easily buy and eat as a whole food in the continental US. They are surprisingly delicious, with a great crunch.
    • Shield Of Gondor by Kaiser 16.

      Cotton with both herbicide tolerance and insect resistance is available, but it also includes the most recently approved trait in the US: low levels of gossypol in the seeds. Cotton naturally produces gossypol, which makes its seeds toxic. This new biotech trait makes the seeds available for use in food and feed. Apparently they taste like chickpeas!

Approved biotech crops that are currently on the market in the US but not shown on the shirt are squash, canola, alfalfa, and potato. These are interesting and important crops as well, but we could only fit so many in the design!

The overall design is also loosely based on the White Tree of Gondor, a fictional tree from the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien. In the series, the tree represents rebirth, strength, and friendship.

Note: The LoTR link in this post is an Amazon affiliate link, meaning we will receive a small donation if you purchase it using our link.

Follow Anastasia Bodnar:
Anastasia is Policy Director of Biology Fortified, Inc. and the Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. She has a PhD in genetics with a minor in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Her favorite produce is artichokes!