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Being vigilante about GMOs
In March, the movie Genetic Roulette played to a packed house at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey as part of the Sun Valley Film Festival. It was co-sponsored by NourishMe, Idaho's Bounty and Leslie Manookian of the local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter. The filmmaker, and author of the book of the same name, Jeffrey Smith, was present at the screening. He is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, as well as a member of the Genetic Engineering Committee of the Sierra Club, and the Communications Committee for the Non-GMO Project. Smith is also the author of Seeds of Deception, the world's best-selling book on genetically engineered foods.
Jeffrey Smith and Leslie Manookian
Following the screening Smith stressed that eating genetically modified food is "gambling with every bite." In fact, the biotech industry's claim that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe is completely shattered in this groundbreaking film and companion book. Before the movie audience members filled in a questionnaire on how aware they were and how much they advocated for GMO labeling on a scale of 1-100. After the movie many people more than doubled their original score.
How do GMOs hurt the environment?
"An escaped genetically modified salmon will create havoc in the oceans by polluting more gene pools," he said. The same is true of the genetically modified canola seeds.
"Canola, an invasive weed, is already an absolute nightmare in places like North Dakota, California and Japan. Seeds blow off trucks and get into everything, in broccoli, brussel sprouts, and there is no technology today to clean it up."
Developed as a insecticide, Round-Up ready seeds kill microscopic organisms in the soil that keep soil alive and nutrient rich.
"The longer glyphosate (Round-Up) is used it increases disease in the soil. If we don't stop it virtually every fruit, vegetable, grain, bean and nut will be affected. They have plans for everything, including us."
Should we boycott companies that were on the corporate side of California's GMO labeling bill last year known as Prop 37?
Mainstream food companies such as Kellogg's, Kraft, Nestle, Pepsi, and General Foods have purchased many well-known organic brands.
"I don't share the enthusiasm for the boycott," he said. "People in these organic companies want to support labeling but their parent company did the opposite. As for ingredients, it's a problem if they change the standards. They have a reputation at stake."
Where do we start?
Firstly, we must be savvy and health conscious consumers. But much starts on the farm.
"There's so much evidence that livestock gets sick when they eat GMO feed. What we want is for livestock producers to make informed decisions. Right now all they know is what Monsanto tells them," he said.
Strategically his foundation's "attitude is to educate farmers directly. We're completely out spent by the extent of Monsanto's advertising budget. But farmers are economists. They know the prices. Sales go up 15-30 percent for products that are labeled non GMO."
Smith suggested that home gardeners also be vigilant by checking with seed companies about whether their seeds are GM or not before planting.
American consumers have come to a tipping point on this issue.
"We have an opportunity to protect our descendants," Smith said. "It's incredible what an opportunity this is. Get the word out. Seeing the change in the vigilance level makes a difference. If we can get it out to enough people we can win."
At NourishMe, where we sell only non-GMO foods and local produce in the market, we work hard to spread the word about the harms of GMOs. You can too.
Watch this VIDEO of Julie Johnson being interviewed by Leslie Stoaddard, co-founder of GMO Free Idaho.