Property Rights Activists Against GM Contamination
Let's Be Thankful for Local Democracy
Genetically modified crops are unsafe and unpopular. But corporate lobbyists have more influence than Americans over the federal agencies that are supposed to be watching out for food safety.
Here is a news report showing a local action that any community can take. In spite of federal government corruption, local actions can still make a positive difference. This item originally appeared in the Mendocino Beacon.
by Dan HamburgA citizens' initiative to ban the "propagation, cultivation, raising, and growing of genetically modified organisms" in Mendocino County, California, was officially certified today, announced County Clerk Marsha Wharff.
Proponents gathered more than 4,000 signatures of county voters to qualify the measure.
"We're ready to take this to the people," said Els Cooperrider of the Mendocino Organic Network. "Why should the biotech corporations control our local food supply?" she said. "If Monsanto has its way, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will cause irreversible harm to the economy and the environment of our county. It's up to the citizens to protect our property rights from unwanted GMOs."
If local voters approve the initiative, all crops grown within Mendocino County would be GMO-free. People could still buy GMO-containing food products at local stores, according to Cooperrider.
The campaign's goals are both local and global preventing genetic contamination of Mendocino County's robust organic produce industry and countering the worldwide spread of genetically engineered crops, Cooperrider said.
The initiative has the unanimous support of the Mendocino-Lake Chapter of the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). "The hope is that a GMO-free Mendocino, coupled with our reputation as an organically-focused growing region, will benefit the local economy, and promote the health of local residents," according to Tim Bates, chapter president.
In addition, vintners from among Mendocino County's largest wine producers have lined up to support the initiative. They include Jeriko's Danny Fetzer, Frey Vineyards' Katrina Frey, Jim Fetzer from Ceago Vineyards, Paul Dolan, former President of Fetzer Vineyards, Roederer Estates Vineyards and Germain-Robin Fine Alambic Brandy.
The vintners say they support the measure in part because they are concerned that crops grown using GMOs will contaminate their vines and harm the county's expanding organic wine market. Wind and insect-borne GMO pollen can pollinate with natural grapevines and threaten the viability of both organic and conventional grapes making the wine unmarketable.
GMOs are man-made organisms, whose native intrinsic DNA has been intentionally altered or amended with non-species specific DNA.
Cooperrider said that she fully expects the bioengineering industry to spend large sums to defeat the local measure. "They are fearful that we will set a precedent here in Mendocino County, and that's exactly what we intend to do."
The Board of Supervisors will determine the date for a vote on this measure at their meeting on December 2.
|Be sure to see Fred Foldvary's editorial on Genetically Manipulated Food|
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