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Blog: We Helped Get GMO Labels on the Ballot

Santa Cruz goes above and beyond to help get labeling for genetically-engineered foods on the California ballot this fall. Now we need your endorsement.

Thanks to the 15,000 people in Santa Cruz County who signed the petition for labeling for genetically-engineered foods. To support the passage of this historic intiative, please offer your endorsement at: http://carighttoknow.org/?q=node/17.

Here's some background on the progress of the California Right to Know campaign to date:

GMO-Free Santa Cruz volunteers participated in a victory rally in San Francisco on Wednesday, May 2 to celebrate the success of the California Right to Know signature gathering campaign. A total of 971,126 signatures were collected in support of the state's first-ever ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically-engineered foods. The huge signature haul, gathered in a 10-week period, is nearly double the 555,236 signatures the campaign needs to qualify for the November ballot.

"To get the initiative on the ballot this fall, we needed verified signatures from five percent of California registered voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election. We are very proud that GMO-Free Santa Cruz volunteers gathered over 15,000 signatures, which represents about 15 percent of registered voters in Santa Cruz County," said Mary Graydon-Fontana, co-coordinator of GMO-Free Santa Cruz. "We now move into a new phase of the campaign: to educate our community about this issue so that they understand why they should vote for GMO food labeling this November, and to collect endorsements from area businesses and groups. We encourage local businesses to go to [our website] and express their support for GMO food labeling."

If passed this November, Californians will join citizens of over 40 countries including all of Europe, Japan and even China who have the right to know whether they are eating genetically-engineered food.

"I am so proud of the army of volunteers, many of them mothers and grandmothers, who stood tireless in the rain and cold to gather signatures," said Pamm Larry, a former midwife, farmer and longtime Chico resident, who initiated the California Right to Know campaign through her group Label GMOs. "Thousands of volunteers across the state contributed to this victory. The people of California have spoken: We will have the right to know what we’re eating and no one will stop us."

"This bumper crop of signatures is a testament to the desire of Californians to know what’s really in our food," said Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms and a third-generation rice farmer and food processor. "It is a rich harvest of support for the right to know and the right to choose." 

Labeling genetically-engineered foods is a wildly-popular idea and enjoys nearly unanimous support across the political spectrum. A March 2012 Mellman Group poll found that nine out of 10 American voters favor labeling for genetically-engineered food.

"In a country seemingly dominated by partisan polarization on everything from the cause of hurricanes to the state of the economy, it’s hard to find issues, outside of motherhood and apple pie, that can muster over 90 percent support. … We found one," pollster Mark Mellman wrote in a recent article in the Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill. 

For information about GMO-Free Santa Cruz, visit: www.carighttoknow.org.

What do you think about GMO labeling? Are you happy it will be on the ballot in November? How will you vote? Tell us in the comments!

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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marina Gagne May 09, 2012 at 06:28 PM
This movement is long overdue! I want to know exactly what's in the products I buy at the grocery store. I want to know what I'm feeding my children. Thanks to my time at the El Jardin Coop in Watsonville, I have done a lot of reading, a...ttended workshops, and have learned how to value and have better access to natural foods and fresh organics. I read the labels on everything I buy now, but food companies still have ways of hiding what's in the products. If you pick up some products around your home, you'll see things like "flavorings" and "seasonings" listed on the labels. I just learned that these terms are used to mask things such as MSG, and that really concerns me. It's time for us to take back control of what's in our food. I'm proud to hear that SC County was integral in getting this on the ballot! Thank you to those who worked so hard to make this happen!
Patti Bond May 10, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Thank you Marina for your comment and for pointing out how important it is for each of us to become educated about all of these food issues. FYI, Jeffrey Smith will be coming to speak in Santa Cruz this summer. He is the world's leading consumer advocate for a non-GMO-food world. So keep an eye out for that. New Leaf Community Markets will be sponsoring that event. When it gets closer to November, thanks in advance for encouraging your friends and contacts to vote for GMO food labeling. If you would like to be a guest blogger on my blog on some of the food issues you have learned about, please let me know. To your health!
Deborah Yashar May 11, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Thank you Patti and all of the organizers for your hard work. I know from being involved years back on this issue, just how far we've come. What an accomplishment! *Deborah Yashar
Deborah Yashar May 11, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Thank you Patti and all of the organizers for your hard work. I know from being involved years back on this issue, just how far we've come. What an accomplishment!

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