Proposition 37 (Prop 37) to the ballot in the hopes of passing a law requiring all products containing GMOs (genetically modified organism) be labeled, allowing customers the right to make an informed decision regarding the type of food they purchase. Specifically whether said food contains genetically modified materials. Sadly, Prop 37 was defeated after major corporations such as Monsanto, DuPont and Hershey threw millions of dollars (grand total of $44 million) at 'No to Prop 37'. To me this raises huge red flags; if companies are throwing millions of dollars for an initiative to fail, especially an initiative asking for consumers to be provided with knowledge and information, I want to believe that the public would be even more concerned with understanding why companies would not want them to know what is in their food!
The reason I am writing about Prop 37 is because I-522 is coming to Washington state this November and I have chosen to be a part of a group campaigning to raise awareness of the initiative - collecting signatures, participating in activism events, talking to people about the ballot initiative and even becoming an intern with Food and Water Watch. I believe that people have the right to know what is in their food, allowing them to make an informed decision on whether they want to buy food containing GE (genetically engineered) ingredients or they prefer to purchase whole foods. I am not a huge fan of 'organic' products, but would prefer to buy locally grown, whole foods and I definitely want to know what it is in my food. I have great hope that voters will step up and fight back against large corporation lobbyists and say, 'enough is enough'!
Many other organizations are spaces where you can become involved in food activism:
- Food Not Bombs - Seattle
- Rotary First Harvest
- Washington Food Coalition
- NW Harvest
- Food and Water Watch
- Volunteer at a local food bank in your area
- Look for food activism projects in your area working to create food system changes
Perhaps if you are not quite ready to join a campaign or want to help at a food bank you can contribute in so many other ways:
- Buy locally grown and produced food
- Buy food that does not contain any GE/GMO products
- Buy whole foods
- Donate food to a local food bank
- Plant a patio herb garden or put in a big garden if you have the space
- Find a local farm and join their CSA (community supported agriculture)
- Trade with your neighbors (eggs, milk, produce, work)
- Buy meat and dairy raised locally, kindly and slaughtered humanely
Small or large we can all create an impact on the food system and start to create a change in how our food is produced, marketed and purchased. I believe that the smallest changes can create huge ripple effects, so let's try and make ripples!
...And in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy growing heavy for the vintage.
~John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath