Your very own Frank N. Foode – April Fools!

Note: This post was an April Fools prank. Read all about it here.
Ok, so yesterday I got an exciting package in the mail, and I’m afraid that I can’t keep this thing under wraps for very long, because you are going to hear about it sooner or later through other media channels. A lot of people have taken an interest in our blog mascot, Frank N. Foode™, and it got me thinking about what could be done to satisfy that interest, and teach people about genetics and genetic engineering. I talked about it with my friends and family, and decided to try and see if there could be some way to make and sell an educational Frank N. Foode™ toy. Brainstorming this concept was easy, but getting everyone on board to put this together was hard. I got a hold of a toy manufacturer and a marketing company, which was surprisingly easy in retrospect, but the hardest part was convincing a seed company to go along with it. Because not only did I want to try putting Frank on some store shelves, I also wanted to put seeds in each box. Not just any seeds, in fact. Genetically engineered sweet corn seeds, and a second packet of “Mystery Mutant” seeds. I want to bring plant genetics up close and personal to kids, teenagers, and adults, and I think this could be the way to do it. And for all those who have been aching to get your own Frank doll, this is your chance!
There’s quite a bit of backstory and thought that went into putting this product together, so rather than write it all out, when they sent me a sample of the finished product to me I grabbed a little video camera and explained it all on camera. After I recorded the footage, I realized that the details may not come in very clear, so I snapped some shots of the box as well, which are below. Without any further ado, I give you: Your very own Frank ‘N’ Foode:

Box images so you can better see what I am talking about. Here is the front:

Left side and back:

Front and right side:

Back flap opened (click on this one):

License Agreement (only drawback to getting GE seeds):

Bottom with UPC and blog logo:

As this gets rolled out in a few stores in the next month, I am trying to gather all links to sites that comment on it, so please use the comments to notify me of any as they come out. This will be a very exciting time for me and for the blog as well, and I want to capture it all as it happens. As I mentioned in the video, 50% of net profits will go to support the blog. I will let you know as soon as they are available in stores if any of you should want to get one of your own. 🙂

Written by Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication.

13 comments

  1. Oh, man….I just committed my funds for the on the Arsenic Sea Monkeys. Damn.

    RT @phylogenomics: ThinkGeek :: Arsenic-Based Sea Monkeys http://shar.es/3Vfns

    And those were costly, because I had to also get the safety equipment. I wish I had heard about Frank first. Although maybe I can re-use the safety equipment. Hmmm.

  2. Karl, I hope you have a proper legal team in place to snatch farms from anyone who tries to save the seeds packaged with Frank for replanting in the next season – or from their neighbors when the pollen drifts.
    (also don’t you darned Americans have the midday rule in place? Bad form)

  3. Dang, Ewan.
    We’ll also need a promise that Frank N. Foode™ will not sue organic farmers for adventitious presence and patent violations.
    And since the seed packets are small, crop biodiversity will be about zero, which will be of great concern to the UN FAO.
    And where in the EIS (if there was one for sweetcorn) that shows the seed is appropriate for US ‘smallholder’ production?
    Ewan, you’re ever the optimist.
    Now, what is “the midday rule”? Since I’ve never heard of it, I can at least be sure the rule isn’t in place. Or maybe we have another term for it.

  4. Oh yeah, I’ve got a crack legal team supporting this effort. The real genius of the project was getting patent holders to agree to small releases of patent-protected articles. Actually, I should give everyone a better close-up image of the license agreement – it was translated over so a kid could understand it. Well, a lawyer’s kid I guess. 🙂

  5. Hey, just because the farmers don’t get a good crop doesn’t mean you can’t take their farm – could be they’re trying to introgress the genes into their own germ – doable in 3 reproductive cycles so…

  6. April Fools… or is it?
    I don’t think we’d sell thousands but it sure would be cool to have more people out there having plant genetics adventures and sending pics of themselves and Frank in to Biofortified.
    Karl, you are so comfortable in front of a camera, I wonder if I’ll ever be that comfortable.

  7. Thanks! Just imagine the camera in its underwear and its much easier. After watching it a couple times I realized that I was treating it like a person – often in conversations I look to the side while talking. Next time I’ll try to make more ‘eye contact’ when I do a video.

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