Eating Local & Organic » GMO labeling It's time to take back our food, medicine and farms! Thu, 08 Aug 2013 18:59:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 American Farmers Get Critical New Protection Against Monsanto Thu, 08 Aug 2013 14:57:28 +0000 Laura In a landmark court decision American farmers now have the right to sue Monsanto in cases of Genetically Engineered (GE) contamination of their crops without the fear of a countersuit by Monsanto for patent infringement. This historic protection came after a two year battle when OSGATA (Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association) filed their 2011 lawsuit against Monsanto, known as OSGATA et al v Monsanto.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm in Maine, provides some background on their Monsanto lawsuit.

The following is a letter to the Justice Begins with Seeds Conference, written by Jim Gerritsen, explaining how the decision was made by the court and what it means for American farmers.

Dear friends of the Justice Begins with Seeds Conference,

The demands of our farming in Maine prevent me from being with you today. We do join you in the belief that justice is necessary for lasting change, most especially as it relates to seed.

We make our living growing organic seed. We have been farming organically on our Wood Prairie Farm in Maine for 37 years. We live and follow the belief that everyone in the organic community has an obligation to help grow and protect our community.

I would like to update you on two important recent developments which I am involved with.

I serve as President of the national membership organization, OSGATA – the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. We are lead Plaintiff in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, a landmark federal lawsuit filed in March 2011 which challenges the validity of Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents and seeks Court protection for family farmers who through no fault of their own may become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented seed technology and then – perversely – be accused of patent infringement. Monsanto has sought to deny our access to the Court by asserting legal arguments that we lack standing. We have not yet been given the opportunity to present our lawsuit’s legal arguments. We feel we have a strong case.

In June, the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC, issued a complicated ruling on our Appeal of Dismissal. The three-judge Appeals Court upheld dismissal of OSGATA v Monsanto. However, the ruling provided a significant partial victory for us, when the Court ordered Monsanto, through estoppal, to NOT sue farmers for patent infringement should they encounter trace GE contamination. The estoppel protects EVERY farmer in the United States – not just those in our Plaintiff group.

So American farmers for the first time in history have gained a new critical legal protection. As a result, farmers now may choose to sue Monsanto to recover damages in a contamination incident without the fear of being inflicted with a counter suit asserting patent infringement.

The second update I want to provide is about Right-to-Know GMO labeling in New England. California Prop 37 laid an important foundation which New England has built upon. Connecticut passed the nation’s first Right-to-Know GMO Label law in June.  Maine followed in short order. We expect Vermont to pass their GMO label law next January and after that, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

In Maine, we built a successful coalition of Tea Party Republicans and Democrats to pass our GMO label bill. A statewide poll showed 91% of Mainers favored passing a GMO label law. Out of our legislative body of 186 members, we had 123 co-sponsors to our bill.  Maine’s effective grassroots campaign resulted in significant tallies. In the end the Maine House voted for passage 141-4 and the Maine Senate 35-0. Our Tea Party Governor Paul LePage has promised he will sign the bill into law when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

When it comes to fighting GE crops there is work ahead of us.  But we have momentum on our side and that fact will help you pass Washington’s I-522 initiative.

Jim Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Farm, Bridgewater, Maine

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What Is GMO? Sat, 18 May 2013 13:49:31 +0000 editors Are you one of those people that thinks that without GMO food we would have worms in our tomatoes and tomato paste? Does your friend or loved one think this way? Well, we’re going to shed some light on this subject and explain just what GMO is and how it’s made–or should we say engineered.

Genetically Modified Organisms and How They Got That Way

This is an excellent video from Media Roots that tells you everything you need to know about what a GMO is and how it got that way. To explain this let’s talk about a tomato. In a nutshell what happens is a virus “promoter” gene, usually the Cauliflower Mosaic virus which causes tumors on plants (nice, huh?), is used to get a modified gene (soil bacteria + e. coli) into the cells of the tomato plant. Voila! Now the tomato is a Genetically Modified Organism and the process of creating the modified gene and getting it into the plant is called Genetic Engineering.

The idea behind GMOs was to modify plants so you could grow them out of season (winter) and in locations where they wouldn’t normally grow (desert). While those intentions sound good the problem is that these bacteria and virus DNA don’t just pass through human beings. The foreign DNA ends up inside the good bacteria in our gut that’s responsible for digestion.

Watch the Future of Food documentary if you’d like to know more about how genetically engineered food has found its way into our grocery stores and on our tables.

The full documentary is available here.

And just released,  May 2013, is a new smartphone app called Buycott that gives you the ability to boycott a food if it’s company or parent company(s) have donated more than $150,000 to block GMO labeling legislation. Read more about Buycott here.

Share this with your family and friends so they’ll be better informed about what GMOs are, how they’re made, and how they can make better product choices with Buycott!


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GMO OMG: A Seed Documentary Sun, 14 Apr 2013 18:25:57 +0000 Laura A film sponsored by Nature’s Path that illustrates, without GMO labeling, how difficult it can be to find food that GMO-free.

GMO OMG explores the systematic corporate takeover and potential loss of humanity’s most precious and ancient inheritance: seeds. Director Jeremy Seifert investigates how loss of seed diversity and corresponding laboratory assisted genetic alteration of food affects his young children, the health of our planet, and freedom of choice everywhere. GMO OMG follows one family’s struggle to live and eat without participating in an unhealthy, unjust, and destructive food system. In GMO OMG, the encroaching darkness of unknown health and environmental risks, chemical toxins, and food monopoly meets with the light of a growing global movement to take back what we have lost. Has the global food system been irrevocably hijacked? Or can we take back our food, heal the planet, and live sustainably?

The choice is ours, but we have to start now!

Get involved at GMO Film and make a donation to help get the film out to theaters.

Tell us about your struggles to eat food that isn’t part of an unhealthy food system?

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GMOs: You Don’t Have the Right to Know Sun, 14 Apr 2013 17:55:20 +0000 Laura A humorous take from celebrities on your right to know what’s inside your food and why Prop 37 was so important.

If you believe you do have a right to know if your food contains GMOs, get involved and help Green America keep up the good fight at GMO Inside.

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Know Your GMO Supporters! Fri, 12 Apr 2013 22:31:49 +0000 Laura You might think the most important takeaway from this infographic from Cornucopia Institute is how the supporters of the California’s Prop 37 were outspent by a margin of 5 to 1–a whopping $37,000,000 difference. But take a closer look at those companies in the GMO Corporate Charlatan column. You might see some brands that you like and never would have thought they would be part of the list of corporations fighting against GMO labeling. If they’re convinced that GMOs are safe, why in the world wouldn’t they want us to know they’re in our food?

Prop 37: your right to know

Cornucopia Institute. Prop 37: Your right to know.

But hooray for the Prop 37 heroes! So if you feel so inclined vote with your dollars and support them. If you want to get involved check out Food Democracy Now’s campaign to label GMOs.

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