This November, as the politicians duke it out, I’ll be paying close attention to California’s Prop 37—and if you eat food, you should too. If this ballet measure passes, it would require all GMO-foods to be labeled in California, marking a huge win in the battle against the Frankenfood that has been filling America’s grocery store shelves since 1994.
GMOs, aka genetically modified organisms, come from a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria. The first GMO crops were created in the 1970s specifically to be resistant to Roundup—a dangerous pesticide that is produced by Monsanto, a company that patents GMO crops. See the connection? New studies are showing that the past 30 years of using Roundup on GMO crops have brought on a new breed of super weeds, which farmers are treating with even more pesticides.
At the same time, more and more articles, studies and testimonials are coming out showing the irreversible health and environmental effects GMO crops are having on people and animals as they make their way through the food supply.
Until they are outlawed, we are the guinea pigs. But, if Prop 37 passes, we will finally have some transparency, and a choice to educate ourselves about what is actually in the food we are buying.
Today, according to this terrifyingly informative infographic from Nature’s Path, 80% of packaged foods contain genetically modified ingredients, from vegetables to additives. The Non-GMO project also features a detailed list here to give you the idea.
If Prop 37 passes, there is also a good chance it will go national. This could be the biggest step to date on GMO front, and will change the way America eats. We could even start to see some labeling show up at grocery stores nationwide—California feeds such a large percentage of the country, it probably wouldn’t make fiscal sense to create different labels for different parts of the country.
Around the foodosphere, alot of companies, activists and gardeners have been getting together to help GMO labeling become a reality. This year, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, the country’s largest supply of rare, heirloom seeds, created a custom seed packet for Marzano tomato seeds to help shed light on the important of Prop 37. They ended up giving away more than 125,000 seed packets in California to raise awareness and support of the original ballot initiative.
“Heirlooms are the exact opposite of genetically engineered seeds,” says Baker Creek founder Jere Gettle. Heirlooms are owned by the people and passed down through generations, while genetically modified seeds are patented and owned by corporations and distributed through supermarkets. Heirlooms and known hybrids are the keys to protecting our food supply.”
They also made Prop 37 a huge part of their second annual National Heirloom Exposition, a not-for-profit event centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism.
“The National Heirloom Expo is all about developing a safe food supply,” says Gettle. “It was natural for Prop 37 to be a major component of the Expo to promote pure food and educate about the dangers of genetically engineering foods.”
If you live in California: Vote Yes to Prop 37 on Election Day!
No matter where you live: Join the Right to Know campaign.
Grow as much of your own food as possible: Try growing heirloom varieties, so you can save the seed each year and have your own sustainable garden.
Educate Yourself: Check out the Non-GMO project, a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices.
Choose Organic: Anything with the USDA organic cannot contain GMO’s, so choose organic vegetables and foods at the supermarket.