As a Cold War kid in elementary school, I learned to dive under my desk at my teacher's command. I was taught to "duck and cover" (hide under my desk and cover my head with my hands) so I would survive a nuclear attack. In those years, I was told the Russians and Chinese were our enemies, capable of attacking the U.S. with nuclear weapons and that the citizens of the U.S. enjoyed many more freedoms than people in the Soviet Union and Communist China. Today, 60 years later, I find myself working for the same freedoms the Chinese and Russian people presently enjoy but are denied to U.S. residents. The freedom of making informed choices about the food we eat and the food we feed our families. To make informed choices consumers must know what's in the food they purchase and eat. To know what's in our food, the food must be labeled.
The coalition of groups (MassPIRG, MARighttoKnowGMOs, MoveOn.org and NOFA/Mass) that we have been a part of since 2013 to pass a mandatory GMO labeling law in Massachusetts met in August, after the close of the legislative session, to assess our impact and decide upon future efforts.
Having generated enough skepticism about the impact of GMO labeling in California -- spending their $46 million corporate slush fund on deceptive TV ads -- to roll back what at first looked like overwhelming voter support for Proposition 37, the biotech industry is moving quickly to solidify their dominant position.
NOFA/Mass believes the public has the right to know what is in the food supply and supports mandatory labeling of GMO ingredients in food and feed. We are dismayed that some companies that own organic food brands, including some that financially sponsor our work, opposed Proposition 37 in California and apparently do not support that right. While we appreciate all support for the important educational work that is our mission, we do not let it influence our work or keep us from expressing our views on public issues.
Using the “bounce” generated by Jeffrey Smith’s August pre-conference training session on transgenic crops and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Amherst, we are actively organizing to spread the word about these dangerous and unnatural products. The interest generated by California’s Proposition 37 -- an initiative to require labeling of GMO foods -- that will be voted upon this November is proving helpful as well!
This issue is on the topic of corn. When one takes a look at what has happened to this noble plant, one can get quite depressed and heart sick. We all know that corn was the staple around which many native cultures in this hemisphere based their livelihoods. Most of us are aware that with the advent of GMO corn and wall to wall planting of it in parts of the Midwest, that culture has been gutted with small farmers bought up by those with larger machinery and more capital to build CAFOs for pigs who never see the light of day.