Growing the Grassroots!
With your help, we are scheduling talks, meetings and screenings of GMO awareness documentaries in various regions of New Jersey. We’ve been having similar events on a monthly basis in Collingswood, just outside of Philadelphia, and we are here to support you and help you get the word out in your community. Please get in touch via email to schedule something in your town–firstname.lastname@example.org. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Freedom from GMOs
We can reach the Tipping Point!
When only 5% of the US population rejects products that contain GMO sourced ingredients we will achieve the tipping point and the companies which produce these products will stop selling them. You are very powerful–if you change even one of your daily or weekly purchases away from GMO to a GMO-free option, your action could be the one that causes the tipping point.
A very important current event is the Washington State ballot measure initiative. A “yes” vote on Initiative 522 (I-522) would give Washington shoppers more information about what’s in the food they eat and feed their families. Under this initiative, genetically engineered foods would be required to be labeled noting that the food or processed food has been genetically engineered. Labeling genetically engineered foods would give shoppers more control over their shopping decisions.
The biotech industry will spend millions to try to sway voters away from labeling, but by continually expanding our awareness of the crisis and taking action, we will win back the right to be properly informed and to choose freely.
As a consumer you wield tremendous power. Every dollar you spend is a vote. So, every food purchasing decision you make for the health of your family is also a powerful contribution toward reaching the tipping point. Yes, it is true; without proper labeling it is difficult to discern which products are safe to eat, but with a little study and a few tools and resources we can become familiar with and learn to navigate the landscape.
How to Avoid GMOs
- Buy products that are labeled “100% certified organic.”
- Look for the “Non-GMO Project” seal. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization and offers North America’s only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products. This organization works at every level of the supply chain, all the way back to the seeds.
- Become familiar with the major GMO crops and avoid them unless they are certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified. These crops are corn, cotton, canola, soy, alfalfa, sugar beets, some Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. Let’s look at some of these sources a little more closely.
- The first four products, corn, cotton, canola, and soy (easy to memorize: CCCS) are a huge source of vegetable oil. If you want to make a sweeping gesture toward reducing GMO consumption you can change your oil. If a product contains oils of corn, canola, cottonseed, soy, or just says “vegetable oil” and is not certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified, it is more than likely from GMO sources.
- The same goes for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). If you choose to purchase HFCS make sure it is either certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified.
- Sugar is an interesting piece to the puzzle. A non-organic product made in North America with “sugar” as an ingredient is most likely made with a combination of GMO sugar beets and cane sugar. If you choose to purchase sugar, look for pure cane sugar.
- Most livestock are fed GMO alfalfa, corn, and/or soy, so it is best to switch to meat, eggs and cheese from organically raised animals.
- If you purchase dairy products make sure that they are either certified organic or labeled to be from animals that have not been treated with rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone). RBGH is a genetically modified growth hormone that some dairies inject into their cows in order to increase milk production. While the practice does increase milk yields it also causes mastitis in the cows which requires the use of antibiotics which end up in the milk. The dairies that don’t use rBGH are permitted to declare it on their labels but be aware that the cows may still have been raised on GMO feed.
- If you consume processed or packaged food be aware that most processed and packaged food (unless certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified) contains GMO ingredients.
- Go to NonGMOShoppingGuide.com and download or order their shopping guide. In addition to listing hundreds of products that are GMO free this is an excellent self education tool. It will help you learn how to identify products that contain hidden GMO ingredients like some vitamins, food additives, enzymes, flavorings, processing agents, and rennet in hard cheeses. You can also order extra copies; keep a few on hand to share with friends.
- Find an organic farmer. You may be lucky enough to have access to organic foods directly from a farm. Many small family farms participate in CSA programs; that is Community Supported Agriculture or Community Shared Agriculture. CSA members pay the farmer at the beginning of the growing season for a weekly share of the harvest. Many CSAs also provide meat, dairy products, eggs, honey and cut flowers as well. Some farms will allow members to make part of their contribution in the form of weekly labor on the farm.Another option is to visit farm stores and farmers’ markets and seek out the growers who practice sustainable agriculture. Find a farmers market near you now. www.thefoodtrust.org/php/programs/farmers.market.program.phpIn some locations there are buying clubs which deliver farm fresh goods on a weekly basis to a pre-set location. If there isn’t one in your town maybe you and your friends can get one started!
- Grow your own! You’ll know for sure where your food comes from. If you don’t have space in your yard to dig in a little garden, you may find that there is a community garden not far from your front door. You will experience the wonder and joy of tending the plant from tiny seed to fruit and it doesn’t get any fresher than that! Click here to contact the Organic Seed Alliance for a list of companies that provide GMO-free seeds.
Actions to Take
SHARE with your family, friends and neighbors. They may not be aware of the situation and will likely thank you for caring. They may already be fully aware and you will have opened the door for new ideas to flow. At the very least you’ll have paused, shared a conversation, and perhaps a cup of tea that you would not have otherwise enjoyed together.
TALK with your child’s school, your grocer, favorite restaurants, your local farmer. These are people who are feeding you and your family; let them know of your concerns and that you are seeking out GMO-free foods. You can download customizable form letters for each at responsibletechnology.org (select “take action” then “tool kit”)
WRITE to your legislators (See the sidebar for quick links to your legislators!)
DONATE money if you are able toward the labeling initiative in California. organicconsumersfund.org/donate/moneybomb.cfm
CALL food companies and ask them in a nice way if their product has any ingredients derived from GMO plants. If yes, let them know that you are concerned about genetically modified ingredients and ask that they look into the possibility of making a change. If not, encourage them to change their labeling to indicate that and tell them about the Non GMO Project.
VISIT nongmoproject.org and make a product verification request. It only takes a few moments and ultimately increases public awareness through labeling.
GATHER with your community, meet at the library, hold celebrations! Yes, it is a serious crisis but as human beings we have the ability, through awareness and our actions to transform the situation. Get your community together and have a discussion, have a GMO free pot luck supper, watch a movie together, and share ideas.
REACH OUT to GMO free groups in nearby communities–join forces! A tremendous achievement can be accomplished when many minds, hearts, and hands join together toward a common goal.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Now, you may want to delve deeper and learn more about GMOs. Please visit our Info and Links page and you will find a variety of links to other GMO awareness websites, a bibliography for further study, and a list of provocative and eye opening films. You will find, if you explore even a little into each of the categories, that you are not alone! There are many people out there doing such fine work to bring the GMO situation to light.