|Wave Hill Breads Debuts Honey & Walnut Croissant
in Larchmont & Croton-on-Hudson;
Order Your Thanksgiving Turkey with Karl Family Farms in Rye;
Try Winter Flounder from American Pride Seafood + MORE
October 30th-November 5th, 2014
Click on a Market to see all vendor and event details…
In celebration of the effort to Bring Your Own Bag to the market – BYOBag – Mead Orchards is offering a FREE reusable bag with all purchases of $5 or more. Also, John D. Madura Farms is selling reusable bags for $3 each. These bags are great alternatives to one-time use plastic bags – thank you all for helping us eliminate plastic shopping bags at the market. Over 300 people have signed the pledge at the market to bring their reusable bags back every week. Keep ’em coming.
For additional events, visit our Down to Earth Markets Event Calendar.
|Corporate Food Companies Spend Over $30 Million to Defeat GMO Labeling Initiatives in Colorado and Oregon – Will They Win?|
On Tuesday, November 4th, eaters in Colorado and Oregon will vote on whether or not to label Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in foods sold in their states. For the record, these types of organisms are distinct from the age-old art of plant breeding and other agricultural refinements. GMOs occur when scientists manipulate plant DNA and are now found in many common foods.
As told by Vanity Fair in 2008, this kind of manipulation wasn’t legal in the United States until 1980. Before then, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office “had refused to grant patents on seeds, viewing them as life-forms with too many variables to be patented.” This changed, however, in 1980 when the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 that patent law could cover “a live human-made microorganism.”
The following year, a team of Monsanto scientists became the first ever to “genetically modify a plant cell.” Thus, in 1981, genetically modified organisms were invented. Along with the invention came the patent — for the first time in human history, seeds carried a patent. Seeds were no longer solely part of the shared human heritage.
Fast forward to thirty years later, in Colorado last August, where the group, Colorado Right to Know, submitted 167,950 signatures – far exceeding the 86,105 needed – to bring the GMO label vote to the ballot box. Yet in the months since then, groups opposing the measure, including Monsanto, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and others, have raised over $12 million for the campaign against Proposition 105. In contrast, the pro-labeling groups have raised over $600,000. Not surprisingly, the poll numbers reflect the David vs. Goliath scenario in fundraising: As of two weeks ago, 49% of 500 Colorado voters polled said that they oppose the GMO labeling bill. 29% support it and 21% said they are undecided.
The poll numbers in Oregon, however, are much closer. According to Bloomberg Politics, as of early October, “an Oregon Public Broadcasting/Fox 12 poll found that 49 percent of voters supported Measure 92, while 44 percent opposed it. Seven percent were undecided.”
In the weeks since the poll, the chemical giant, Dupont Pioneer, has given over $4 million dollars to oppose Proposition 92. Now as of this week, a new poll came in listing the numbers as 48% opposing GMO labeling and 42% supporting it, with 7% undecided.
All told, corporations that oppose GMO labeling have spent over $30 million to defeat the measures in Oregon and Colorado, and the vote is still days away. It is notable that the Oregon-based chain of food stores, New Seasons, has launched a campaign in support of labeling. Whole Foods has voiced their support for these labeling initiatives, too.
One of the arguments by food corporations against GMO labeling is that it would be too costly, both for them and for consumers. Yet – 1) They change their labels all the time, such as “new and improved” and 2) they already export foods with GMO labels to countries around the world that have GMO label laws. There are 64 countries currently require labels, including the European Union, Russia, China, and Japan. 3) It’s unlikely that GMO labeling will deeply impact consumer prices.
At Down to Earth Markets, as stated on our website, it is our vision “to build a strong regional food system, built by independent farms and food businesses, that provides everyone with an alternative to industrial food.” We don’t know the environmental or health risks of GMO crops at this point. Perhaps they are fine; perhaps they are not. The impact of these crops will be revealed with time.
What we do know now is that we do not want corporations to have exclusive rights to our food. Yes, the GMO labeling debate is about the right to know what is in our food. We also strongly believe that it is about the right to say NO to corporate ownership of our food.
To support GMO labeling efforts in Colorado and Oregon, you can donate to the work of Food Democracy Now! and the Center for Food Safety. To support non-GMO foods in our area, shop at Down to Earth Farmers Markets. All of our farms are independent, small businesses that grow non-GMO crops. Thank you for coming out to buy from them this weekend.