Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Dec 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Battleground State

news2 gmoCalifornia is ground zero for the GMO debate as the Prop. 37 campaign ramps up

Taking the temperature of an issue that has been bubbling since inception is difficult to do—but it’s safe to say this one is about to tip into a rapid boil.

As part of a statewide campaign to question genetically modified (GMO) food safety, the “Truth about GMOs” tour will present speakers Jeffrey Smith and Ocean Robbins at the Louden Nelson Community Center on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The speaking tour is timed to highlight the issue as voters prepare to decide on Prop. 37, a measure on the November ballot that, if passed, would put the words “Genetically Engineered” or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” on the packaging of food that contains GMOs come July 2014. 

As a GMO researcher, author and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), Smith has spent years rough-tuning the accounts of scientists around the world and transforming them into understandable messages about the problems with GMOs.

He feels that Prop. 37 is the embodiment of what he calls the GMO “tipping point.”

“The California ballot initiative is the most pivotal GMO-related event in the world,” Smith says. “We’ve been preparing for it since last fall.”

Food Revolution Network founder, community organizer and Santa Cruz County resident Robbins says that while California could be the first state in the country to label GMOs—after the failures of similar measures in 17 other states—it would be in the wake of other international efforts to do so.

“Right now, China, Japan, Russia and the entire European Union label GMOs,” Robbins says. “In those regions, there are a lot less [GMOs in food]—depending on your perspective, that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

For America, he says, the success of Prop. 37 will reach far beyond the Golden State’s borders.

“This is an acupuncture point, if you will, of enormous significance,” Robbins says. “If this [measure] is successful, it will send out ripples that will affect the whole country.”

Co-sponsored by GMO-Free Santa Cruz, which mobilized to collect thousands of signatures for the ballot initiative, New Leaf Community Markets, and the IRT, the event will focus on the health and environmental impacts of GMOs. Speakers Robbins and Smith have decided that focusing on food safety will be the most salient.

An estimated 80 percent of processed food in the United States contains GMO ingredients, according to the Organic Consumers Association. The FDA, criticized for having intimate ties with the BioTech industry, has published inconclusive evidence on the health effects of GMOs.

“[Labeling] will also give us the ability to track possible health effects caused by ingesting GMOs,” Robbins says.

In numerous polls, a strong majority of state and U.S. citizens have expressed their preference that GMO foods be labeled.

However, Robbins says that the popular “right to know” attitude may not be enough to withstand an anti-Prop. 37 campaign, which he notes will be funded, in multi-million dollar amounts, by the BioTech industry.

“Right now we have a highly uninformed public,” Robbins says. “The BioTech industry has already begun their campaign of disinformation. Unfortunately it will be effective for many people.”

New Leaf has been one of the GMO reform movement’s public and financial supporters since 2010.

“We support products that are certified non-GMO,” says Marketing Director Sarah Owens. “The blue [non-GMO Project verified] label campaign was tremendously successful last year.”

However, Owens cautions that the idea of a world without GMOs is “a big misconception.”

Even if GMOs make their way out of most consumer products, Smith says GMOs, and their resulting “bio-toxicity,” have irreversibly infiltrated the agricultural sphere.

“I do not see any way to eliminate the GMO contamination that is propagating in the gene pool,” he says.

Smith describes the GMO-related sections in the 2012 Federal Farm Bill, which is currently held up in the House, as “draconian,” and urges Californians to treat both the Farm Bill and Prop. 37 as “an emergency.”

Section 733 of the bill allows farmers to continue to plant GMO crops regardless of court rulings over their legality and safety. It has been nicknamed the “Monsanto Rider” by opponents, in reference to the Supreme Court’s ruling that Monsanto’s GMO sugar beet and alfalfa crops had been illegally approved.

“It eliminates what little oversight there is,” Smith says. “It forces the hand of the FDA to approve GMO crops with minimal studies of safety, under very hard constraints of time and money. It disrupts the balance of powers and does so with no goodness.”

Whether it is an acupuncture point, tipping point, or simply a ripple-maker, the movement toward non-GMO will rely on continued publicity.

“There’s different levels of revolution,” Smith says. “This affects not just the U.S., but the world. Californians have an opportunity to have a greater impact for all future generations, all living beings.” 


"The Truth About GMOs" starts at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1 at the Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz. $5-$10 suggested donation.

Comments (4)Add Comment
...
written by Bill McEwen, October 15, 2012
I took me 30 seconds to track all the comments made on the internet by Valentine Dyall. I did a search on her name and Monsanto. Good job Dyall. Looks like you are earning your paycheck. What a farce you are. Tell your friends at Monsanto they are going to start loosing their lawsuits intimidating honest, hard working farmers that don't want to use their GMO seeds.
...
written by Valentine Dyall, July 27, 2012
I wish to have the right to choose to avoid all so-called organic foods. Products should carry a label whenever they contain the merest trace of organic produce. And we need testing to ensure compliance. That will generate a whole raft of additional jobs at the consumers' expense - just like testing for GM.
...
written by Tarah , July 25, 2012
Join the efforts & help Prop 37 pass!

Local team, GMO-Free Santa Cruz is looking for more people to help get the word out.

Email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to get on our email updates.
Check our our website, www.labelgmos.org/santacruz
& like us on facebook, www.facebook.com/nongmosantacruz
...
written by Tammy Andrews, July 24, 2012
Whether you agree of disagree about the safety of GMO foods, we deserve "the right to choose" to purchase GMO foods or not, Please vote to require mandatory labeling of GMO foods in California!
For more information please visit justlabelit.org.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire