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September 21, 2013 / Andrew

#GreenFest: Food for Thought from our GMO Panel

Lots of great wisdom shared today at the DC Green Festival on the topic of GMOs.   Our expert panel included Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America; Adam Eidinger, organizer of Occupy Monsanto and the Mintwood Media Collective; Gail Taylor, a DC farmer with the Three Part Harmony Farm; and Zachari Curtis, a DC farmer with the Good Sense Farm & Apiary.   Just a compressed sampling and paraphrasing below of the panel discussion, with a top-five action list from Alisa Gravitz to round out this post:

Alisa – Food is life.  Food is sacred.  We are rapidly losing our ability to know what is in the food that we eat to sustain our bodies and lives.  The good news is that the GMO issue brings people together across boundaries.  For example, in Mexico, and in South and Central America, traditional cultures that highly value corn as a dietary staple are horrified to see corn being genetically modified.  Over the last 15 years, we went from 0 to 90 percent of certain crops being modified.  Over the next 15 years, we must go from 90 to 0 percent, and we can.

Adam – There have never been any independent studies that look at this issue with the necessary scope.  What you have are industry-funded studies looking at rats’ diets for 90 days.  Then they kill the rats and give you an autopsy.  That’s not enough.  You have to look at a lifetime.   We’re the rats, in this case.   One thing all of us can do is to stand up and use our voices.  Go to the protests.  Make it clear we won’t accept GMOs in our food.  On Oct. 12, we’ll hold the second March Against Monsanto, with 216 events already planned all around the country.   Find an event near you and raise your voice.

Gail – At a previous Green Festival, I remember there being a booth that asked people “Do you know who your farmer is?” and you could write that down on a sign to wear.  My roommate wrote “Gail” on his sign and wore it around the Festival.   You have to know who is growing your food and invest in those people.   It’s easier to spray pesticides on GMO crops, but then the workers are exposed to those toxic chemicals; that means people are dying to get you your food.  I grow organic, non-GMO food because I want to eat good food.  And I do this every day because I want the world to be better.

Zachari – The GMO food system is all about global corporate capitalism and oppression.  Look at what’s happening to local communities in India, look at Monsanto’s transnational presence and you’ll see that it’s all about money and power.  I’m what I call a returning farmer because this is what previous generations in my family did, and I’m returning to that lifestyle.  When I think of a farmer, I think of my grandmother.

What are the top five action steps for taking a stand against GMOs?

1)      Know your farmer.

2)      Buy organic.

3)      Look for the non-GMO label.

4)      Avoid processed food.

5)      Become a GMO activist.   Check out Green America’s GMO Inside, and find an event to attend on the October 12 March Against Monsanto.

GMO-PanelLeft to right, panel moderator Elizabeth O’Connell of Green America and GMO Inside, Alisa, Adam, Gail, and Zachari.

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