August 2, 2006
(Photo by diastema.)
Good for milk, tofu, vodka, cosmetics, as an appetizer, as a sauce, (the list keeps growing), my personal king of the bean world, the soy bean, constantly proves its supremacy by diversifying. Parlaying into the textile industry, soy silk is another of the bean’s incarnations. Made with byproducts of the tofu manufacturing process, it is said to closely emulate the texture and quality of silk. Sounds promising.
Though I have marvelled at the prospect of foods becoming clothing, it is easy to inflate the virtues of these “natural” man made fibers and get a little carried away. Seems like an environmentally friendly miracle discovery, but inevitably there is a negative side to these advances: the soy bean is one of the crops being genetically modified and increasingly so (81% of soy crops are GMO), and often grow with the assistance harmful chemicals. Just as bamboo is making its way into textiles and clothing, corn and soy are also edging in; and though these products are made of renewable resources they falls short of other green goals -just as I, and I’m sure many others, do as well.
But while there is work to be done, it is nevertheless a step forward.