Wednesday, November 21, 2012

UPDATE:Prop 37 dies in California, a victory for GMO

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 4:50 PM

... And the battle continues.

The Organic Consumers Association sent out a newsletter earlier today titled "GMO Labeling Fight Moves to Washington State."

From that newsletter, here's all the details, with links to sites where you can support the effort:

Activists in Washington State have been hard at work on I-522, a November 2013 ballot and legislative initiative to require mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And they need our help!

Building on our Movement's near-victory in California (where we got 48% of the vote, despite being outspent five to one) the Label It WA team is rushing to meet a December 31, 2012 deadline for signature-gathering. They’ve already collected 230,000 signatures. But they need 100,000 more by December 31 to make sure they have the 241,153 valid signatures required to get on the ballot in 2013.

This is another critical battle for GMO labeling, one with some strategic advantages we didn't have in California. I-522 already has strong support from Washington farmers, ranchers, and dairies, both organic and conventional, who are up in arms about the economic and environmental threats posed by genetically engineered wheat, apples, and alfalfa. Plus, Washington is far smaller than California in terms of population and registered voters and boasts a powerful network of co-ops, independent natural food stores, and grassroots organizations who are already fully on board with the campaign.

In addition, Washington's new Governor, Jay Inslee, is a longtime Congressional supporter of GE food labeling and organic agriculture. According to Washington State law, if the state legislature feels there is majority support for a ballot initiative, in this case mandatory GE food labeling, they can pass it into law before it goes for a statewide vote in November 2013.

If you live in Washington and can help collect signatures, or are willing to set up a meeting with your state legislator in December to convince him or her to support GMO labeling and I-522, sign up here.

Label It WA also needs money, for paid signature-gatherers, for public education, for coalition-building and to counter the inevitable attacks from Monsanto and Big Food. The Organic Consumers Fund has donated an initial $60,000 to the campaign, but we need to raise more. To support the campaign, donate here.

Monsanto and Big Food would love to see us go away, but the millions of people in California and across this country who fought for Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative, have made it clear: we are here to stay. How is it that in 60 other countries, citizens have fought for and won this basic right, yet here in the U.S. we continue to let dirty corporate money corrupt our food and our politics?

Let’s get I-522 on the ballot in Washington, let's help Washington voters convince their legislators to enact I-522 into law even before November 13, and let’s win.

Volunteer in Washington

Follow 'Label It WA' on Facebook

——- FIRST UPDATE, WEDNESDAY, NOV. 7, 5:39 P.M. ——-

Apparently, revenge is a dish best served at the supermarket.

In response to Proposition 37's defeat, the Organic Consumers Association is calling for a "boycott of organic brand parent companies" that helped kill the measure.

You can find a list of the guilty parties on that link, or by clicking this handy poster they've created:

So if you're willing to reach for a Clif Bar instead of Larabar, for example, you can aid in the fight.


While most of us have been preoccupied with ballot initiatives closer to home, such as the historic Amendment 64, many eyes across the country have been cast on California.

At least eyes in the food and agriculture communities, ranging from farmers to organic-loving hipsters.

California's Proposition 37 would have demanded labeling of genetically modified foods, but it was defeated 53 to 47 percent, with the opposition reportedly spending more than $45 million in their campaign, a good chunk of that contributed directly by industry giant Monsanto.

Syndicated columnist Ari LeVaux, who's appeared in the Indy many times in past years, contributed an insightful article to the Atlantic last month, for some background on the proposition.

And here are two other articles that provide some analysis of the deafeat: one by Appetite for Profit, the other by the San Jose Mercury News.

Being the cheerful, nontoxic folks they are, the Organic Consumers Association is still touting "movement victory" in a posting that boasts about being "four million votes closer to knowing what's in our food than when we started."

They of course vow to fight on, leaving a "reminder of the corrupting influence of huge multinational corporations on our electoral process."

Proposition 37 California
  • Matthew Schniper
  • As seen in this public art display on a recent trip to Detroit, the public is far from unaware of what's in their food. Sadly, voters in California chose to look the other way yesterday.

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