141 Massachusetts Farms Support GMO Food Labeling

141farmsBoston, MA – Today, the MA Right to Know GMOs coalition announced that 141 farms from across Massachusetts pledged their support for GMO food labeling.

Last month, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture passed out of their committee, H. 3996, a GMO labeling bill. If signed into law, the bill would ensure that all foods sold in Massachusetts that contain genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs) would be clearly labeled. The bill is currently pending before the committee on Health Care Financing.

“The bottom line is that people want to know what is in the foods they eat,” said Martin Dagoberto, Campaign Coordinator at the MA Right to Know GMOs coalition. “I commend these farmers for standing up for what consumers want and fighting for greater transparency in food labeling.”

Local farmers are adding their support and voice to this important debate, joining the broad and growing list of supporters for GMO labeling, including consumer, food safety, public health, community, and other organizations. According to a poll conducted by the New York Times, 93 percent of Americans support labeling foods containing genetically engineered ingredients.

“As a farmer, I am glad to see consumers wanting to know how their food is grown,” said Jack Kittridge, Policy Director at Northeast Organic Farmers Association. “We all deserve to know what is in the meals we feed our families.”

“Farmers have the consumers’ interest at heart here and it is great to see,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director at MASSPIRG. “They know we all want, and should have, basic common sense information about the food we eat.”

A full list of supportive farmers is below. For more information on the coalition visit http://www.marighttoknow.org or find us on Facebook.

To sign on as a business, organization or farm in support of GMO labeling in Massachusetts, please visit marighttoknow.org/network-partners.

 

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Biggest Fool in Congress? Stop Pompeo from Supporting the Food Industry’s Bill to Preempt GMO Labeling Laws!

From our friends at the Organic Consumers Association:

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Big Food has found its Biggest Fool. Poltico announced this morning that Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) will introduce the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s bill to kill GMO labeling.

April fool’s joke? We wish.

But the joke may be on Pompeo, when consumers nationwide light up his phone lines and sign our petition with demands that he abandon plans to sell out consumers by helping Monsanto and Big Food pass a law to preempt state and federal GMO labeling laws.

Read more and take action at: http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50865/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13596#sthash.3drK3B3d.dpuf

 

The race is on!

The states need to set the standard for meaningful GMO labeling before the industry cuts us off at the federal level.  Help us pass GMO labeling in Massachusetts!

Read more about the DARK (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act:

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/gmo-labeling-bill-105548.html

http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2014/04/pompeo-s-dark-act-will-keep-consumers-dark

 

Progress on GMO labeling in MA (and VT!): What’s next?

Support for GMO labeling continues to grow, thanks to you! Safe food advocates across the region have raised the visibility of issue, and our legislators are taking note. We wouldn’t be making such great progress without your help! Thank you for contacting your legislators – keep it up!

For those that haven’t heard, our neighbors to the north had a great victory last week. Congratulations to VT Right to Know GMOs! Their GMO labeling bill was voted unanimously out of their Senate Judiciary Committee and could be heard on the floor within the next couple of weeks! As currently drafted, their bill would go into effect in 2016 independent of any other states. This is huge! So, if you have any friends in VT, please be sure to direct them to their website for ways to plug into their campaign. vtrighttoknowgmos.org

Here in Massachusetts, we’re not too far behind our allies in Vermont. The Environment and Agriculture Committee redrafted the GMO labeling bills they had in front of them and decided unanimously that the bill “ought to pass.” Please join is in thanking the Environment committee for supporting our right to know. Click here to email or tweet/comment at the committee members.

Status: H.3996 is now in front of the Healthcare Financing Committee. It has until the end of April to get out of that committee and has to be passed on the floor by the end of July.

We’re doing good! More than 20,000 people have signed our petition and more than 200 Massachusetts businesses have signed on in support of GMO labeling, including 140 farms and food producers! More than a third of the Massachusetts legislature has now endorsed GMO labeling, and we haven’t even yet had a chance to talk to most of them! Help us grow all of these numbers to increase support for GMO labeling. marighttoknow.org/helpusgrow

As always, stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for the latest developments from the Health Care Financing Committee. For now we just need everyone to keep contacting their legislators and keep spreading the word. We’re doing a great job everyone! If we keep this energy up, we will soon join Connecticut and Maine (and hopefully Vermont!) in this regional tipping point toward greater transparency in our food economy.

Thank you all for your ongoing support!

 
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Critical Mass for GMO Labeling: Help us Grow!

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People across the country are calling for GMO labeling, and in Massachusetts, our elected officials seem to agree. Nearly a third of the legislature has signed on in support of a GMO labeling bill in Massachusetts so far. Is your legislator on the list?

3 ways to help us grow:

1. Increase the Green:

If your part of the state isn’t green, then neither of your state elected officials have signed on yet in support. You can look them up here and ask them to sign on using this page: marighttoknow.org/endorsements

2. Get yourself on the map:

Become a Local Contact and help us in your district: marighttoknow.org/localcontact

Sign your business, farm or organization up as a Network Partner in support of GMO labeling: marighttoknow.org/network-partners

3. Throw us some green:

Help us grow our campaign staff and cover expenses. We appreciate your support!

marighttoknow.org/donate

 

This is a people powered campaign, and whether you’re signing the petition or writing letters to your local newspaper, or sharing our posts on facebook, everyone can help reclaim our right to know what we’re eating.

Thank you for taking action to label GMOs.

 

Update: If you’d like to explore the above map in greater detail, it can be viewed at the below link. You can click an area to see the details of the elected official. Please note that the Senate map layer is on top, so in order to click on the House layer, you need to shut off the Senate layer. Each person has a Representative and a Senator, so make sure both layers are green for you!

View the interactive map, here: http://bit.ly/1orKVpy

 

 

We did it! GMO labeling bill voted out of committee!

We have some fantastic news: 

Thanks to all of your efforts, a GMO labeling bill was voted favorably out of committee on Monday by the Environment/Agriculture committee!

We don’t yet have all the details about what happens next, but we wanted to share this good news with all of our supporters and volunteers across the state. YOU made this possible! This is a huge win not only for Massachusetts but for the national GMO labeling movement!

For now, we ask that anyone who contacted members of the Environment/Agriculture committee (including Chairwoman Gobi and Chairman Pacheco) to please contact them again and THANK THEM for responding to the will of the people.

Please thank the committee members!

“Thank you for hearing our calls for greater food transparency! I’m so happy to hear that the committee voted a GMO labeling bill favorably out of committee.  I hope I can count on you to help pass a strong GMO labeling bill this year!”

You can see the full list of committee members with their contact info and links to social media outlets, here:

marighttoknow.org/TYEnvironment

We have seen the text of the redrafted bill (H.813) and it’s something we can work with. It does now include a trigger clause similar to Connecticut’s, meaning we would need other states to pass similar laws before ours would take effect.

As another update, we now have 53 legislators who have signed on in support!  Is your legislator on there?

http://marighttoknow.com/home/legislative-support/endorsements/

We made it past this first hurdle, but this is only the beginning. We’re going to need your help to keep the pressure on and to bring ever more people on board in support of GMO labeling!

Please stay tuned for  more updates as they become available.  Thank you, again, for all of your support! With all of your help, we’re going to win this. We will have commonsense GMO labeling so that everyone can now what they’re eating and feeding their families!

On behalf of the MA Right to Know GMOs steering committee,

Martin Dagoberto

Campaign Coordinator, MA Right to Know GMOs

Special thanks to our coalition partners: MASSPIRG, NOFA/Mass and Moveon.org as well as our collaborative partners at Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee, GMO Free Massachusetts, Citizens for GMO Labeling and over 100 other organizations and businesses who have signed on as Network Partners.

GMO labeling supporters: Thank you, let’s keep it up!

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We are still facing the March 19th (that’s this Wednesday!) legislative deadline to get proposed GMO labeling bills out of committee. If you didn’t call them last week (even if you did), please plan to call your elected officials on Monday!
Thank you for being such an important part of this statewide network of GMO labeling advocates! This truly is a is a people-powered movement, and it’s only with YOUR HELP that we’re able to challenge the powerful corporate interests trying to keep us in the dark about what’s in our food.
Thanks to your help, we had an incredibly successful action week last week:
We now have 51 (of 200 total) legislators who have signed our endorsement letter in support of GMO labeling! http://marighttoknow.org/endorsements
Our action alert images were shared 923 times and reached 65 THOUSAND people!
Our petition received 1,173 more signatures! (http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/massachusetts-label-gmos)
And we’ve heard from numerous legislative aides that this is one of the most popular issues they’re getting calls and emails about.
GOOD JOB, EVERYONE!
Now let’s keep it up. Once we get past this March 19th deadline, we’re going to have to keep the pressure on and grow this movement even larger!
Thank you again for being part of this.
Let’s #LabelGMOs!
Photo: GMO Labeling Bill hearing, Joint Committee on Public Health, MA State House 6/11/13. This photo captures as well as any could the energy of the day. No clapping was allowed, so we used the ASL sign for applause.(C. McIntosh)

Please sign, call, make your voices heard!

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Massachusetts elected officials have the opportunity to join a national push toward mandatory GMO labeling! But industry lobbyists are telling our Reps that people don’t need to know if their food is genetically engineered.

Please join us in telling them:
“We need to know what we’re feeding our families.”

 

 

Please sign our petition: http://www.marighttoknow.org/petition 

 

March 19th is a deadline for legislators to vote bills out of committee.
Now is the time for everyone to make their voices heard on this issue.

 

Please take action, now!
(pick one or all!):
 
  1. Sign the petition (within seconds): http://www.marighttoknow.org/petition
  1. Call your rep’s office! (BEST): http://www.marighttoknow.org/callnow
  1. Share this image/action alert with your friends in Massachusetts.

Unless state legislators hear from people across the state in big numbers, they may not act on proposed legislation before a March 19th committee deadline. With Monsanto and pals literally trying to make GMO labeling ILLEGAL, and with 30 new GMO crops in the pipeline, we can’t wait until  2016 to pass GMO labeling in Massachusetts and to activate an existing GMO labeling law in Connecticut*.

 

Please take action today to declare your right to know - while you still can!

 

Thank you for standing up for a more democratic and transparent food system!
For complete details on the campaign to pass GMO labeling in Massachusetts, please visit http://MArighttoknow.org and follow us on social media for the latest action alerts and updates, and please share/post/like/favorite/comment/retweet:

 

 

Bonus: Is your legislator a GMO labeling leader? Click here to see if they’re on our list.

 

*Connecticut and Maine both passed GMO labeling bills in 2013, but they rely on neighboring states passing similar legislation before they take effect. Vermont is expected to vote on a GMO labeling bill that already passed through it’s house by a landslide. This is a perfect time to join the regional tipping point toward food democracy!

 

Local communities gather to take action on GMO health risks, push for transparency in labeling

Weeks before a legislative deadline, advocates mobilize to support proposed state GMO labeling bills

Jamaica Plain (February 16, 2014) -  More than sixty local residents gathered with state GMO labeling campaign advocates on Sunday night at Spontaneous Celebrations in JP to share concerns over genetically engineered foods and to discuss the need for mandatory GMO labeling. GMO labeling has become a hot-button issue across the nation in recent months, with more than half of the states considering labeling legislation, including Massachusetts. Local community groups hosted a film screening and discussion on GMOs and are encouraging legislators to take action on a proposed law before a March 19th committee deadline.

“We have a right to know what we’re feeding our families, and what we’re supporting with our food purchases. People need to know that there are serious health risks associated with GMO foods,” says Martin Dagoberto, an advocate with the group called Massachusetts Right to Know GMOs. “People across the state are calling for GMOs to be labeled, and right now our elected officials have the opportunity to show us they’re listening,” Dagoberto added.

Massachusetts lawmakers have introduced several bills related to GMO labeling, but as the legislative deadline approaches, advocates are concerned that the state will miss an opportunity to be part of a national legislative movement. In 2013, Connecticut and Maine both passed GMO labeling laws that rely on neighboring states to enact similar laws before they go into effect. Vermont’s house passed a GMO labeling bill by a lopsided margin, and their senate is expected to vote soon. Organizers of the labeling efforts say that state-level action is setting the standard for meaningful GMO labeling and will force the federal government to take action as it did with other historic laws like women’s right to vote.

“It’s a sad state of affairs when GMOs are seen as the norm and we have to label organic,” says Op, a Roxbury resident who attended the event with his family. “Not everyone has access to organic food, but a GMO label will help everyone know what’s in their food and decide what they’re going to give their kids,” he added, “it helps get the conversation going about how food is medicine, and how food is related to sickness.”

The event featured the award-winning documentary “Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of our Lives,” produced by the Institute for Responsible Technology, after which attendees discussed what they can do to take action to support mandatory GMO labeling efforts and avoid GMOs in their diet. Attendees shared educational resources and made plans to contact their local elected officials ahead of the approaching March 19th legislative deadline.

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Standing room only at Spontaneous Celebrations in JP for a community mobilization gathering to #LabelGMOs. (Photo: C. Stockman)

Opponents of GMO labeling include the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), an industry group currently under investigation by the Washington State Attorney General’s office for violating campaign finance laws during the recent ballot initiative on GMO labeling. The organization maintains that GMOs have been proven safe, and that consumers don’t need to know if they’re eating genetically engineered foods.

Delphine, a JP resident who attended the event, says she suffered from a digestive disorder called “leaky gut syndrome” until after she eliminated GMO soy from her diet. “It takes a lot of time figuring out if you’re eating genetically engineered foods, but with GMO labeling people will be better able to make informed choices about what they’re eating, ” she said.

Nearly 300 food scientists and experts, including a developer of the first commercial GMO crop, have signed on to a recent international statement citing serious safety concerns with GMO foods. “While the science is still out on whether or not they’re safe, people want to opt out of the GMO food experiment,” Dagoberto added, “Whether or not our local elected officials will hear our voices and take some initiative to pass GMO labeling, is yet to be seen.”

Community members were joined by advocates from groups pushing for GMO labeling, including Jack Kittredge, Policy Director at the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (MA) and Ed Stockman, 4th generation organic farmer, biologist, and co-founder of MA Right to Know GMOs. Local organic food delivery companies, Boston Organics, and Life Force Juice sponsored the event, along with local organizations including JP New Economy Transition and the Jamaica Plain Forum.

Para obtener comunicados de prensa en español, haga clic aquí

Network Partner Hero: River Valley Market Co-op

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We want to give special thanks and recognition to our long-time Network Partner, River Valley Market Co-op in Northampton, MA. They have continuously gone above and beyond, showing what an actively engaged food co-op can do to help support commonsense GMO labeling in Massachusetts.

Please join us in thanking them by:

Liking and commenting on their facebook page.

Tweeting at them!

And if you’re from the Northampton area, consider joining the Co-op!

River Valley Market continues to help us educate and mobilize their nearly 6,000 members and many thousands of customers with an impressive list of activities.  Here is an excerpt, in their own words, from their Summer 2013 member newsletter:

In support of a GMO food labeling mandate, we have:

Sponsored a screening of the film Genetic Roulette with MA Right to Know GMOs

Circulated petitions on Facebook, Twitter, and through our weekly e-mail

Set up a store kiosk with a selection of GMO free products, shopping tips, and links to informational websites

Dedicated a page on our website to GMO educational resources

Testified at a hearing of the House Joint Committee on Public Health at the Massachusetts State House in Boston

Invited MA Right to Know GMOs to our 4th Annual Strawberry Ice Cream Social to distribute literature

Donated the $1,915 in proceeds from the Strawberry Ice Cream Social picnic dinner to MA Right to Know GMOs.

Eliminated suspected GMO ingredients used in our deli by changing to certified organic or non-GMO corn, soy, and canola products.

Working toward a goal of ensuring that our prepared foods (excepting meat & dairy) are GMO-free, and are nearly there.

Adopting a storwide policy of not adding new food products that may contain GMOs. This excludes meat/dairy products which involve more complicated animal feed supply issues.

We will we not add the GMO salmon recently approved by the FDA.

 

 

MIT’s “Buy Fresh Buy GMO” cover hijacks the local food movement for Big Biotech

As lawmakers in Boston consider mandatory GMO labeling legislation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology magazine, “MIT Technology Review” is providing a soapbox for Monsanto and friends with its latest cover story “Buy Fresh, Buy GMO.”  As an added slap in the face to local and sustainable food movements, the magazine cover parodies the recognizable “ Buy Fresh Buy Local  ® ” logo seen on bumper stickers and at farmers markets across the country.

GMO labeling has become a hot-button issue in recent months, and people across the country are becoming aware of the presence and risks of GMOs in our food supply. The biotech industry is shifting efforts from simply fighting transparency in food labeling (a fight they know they’ve just about lost) to focusing efforts on convincing us that there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to GMOs. Fortunately, people aren’t swallowing it.

While the article actually criticizes current GMO technology for its “failed promises” and unpredictable outcomes, in the end it serves to convince readers that the next generation of GMO technology is something that we will need in order to address the rising world population and climate change. The feature article mentions nothing about documented safety risks, the need for mandatory pre-market safety testing (which currently does not exist) or anything about consumers’ basic right to know what they’re eating. It does, however, repeat several of the same pro-GMO myths we see coming out of the industry PR groups. This media push is evidently the latest manifestation of Big Biotech’s propaganda agenda to “engage” consumers and convince them of the unproven safety and benefits of GMOs.

This ivy-league publication serves as a striking example of how corporate interests have deeply influenced our nation’s academic institutions, and shows how they’ve firmly embraced biotechnology as the primary solution to the world’s food challenges. The article breezes over the “remarkable progress” made through conventional breeding to produce drought tolerant and disease resistant plant varieties and reminds the reader that “biotechnology offers advantages that shouldn’t be ignored.”  Unfortunately, GMO crops also have risks that shouldn’t be ignored. The article points out that while traditional breeding takes several seasons to produce a new trait, new GMO crops can be developed and introduced in as little as 6 months (without any sort of long-term safety testing, of course).

A recent United Nations report titled “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which included contributions from more than 60 experts from around the world, sounds the alarm about the urgent need to return to a more sustainable, natural, organic system. The report determined that it will be small-scale local agriculture that feeds the growing population, not GMOs and monocultures. This MIT article all but completely dismisses these more viable (and less risky) solutions.

It is interesting to note that this article is written by the editor of MIT Technology Review, who is a writer, not a researcher.  In fact, agriculture is not one of the topics normally covered by the magazine.  However, MIT researcher Dr. Stephanie Seneffhas published several recent articles demonstrating serious health risks associated with GMO-associated herbicides (she is also speaking at an upcoming community event in Winchester on 2/26/14).  Oddly enough, this publication makes no mention of this important research performed by their own scientist.

What kind of biotech influence is behind this deceptive media push? Will the local and sustainable food movement tolerate this hijacking of our rallying cry?  “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” will never mean “Buy GMO.” 

Buy Fresh Buy Local  ® is a campaign of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), and has chapters in more 22 states, “connecting consumers in communities throughout the country to the freshest, most delicious locally grown and produced foods available… to local food from farmers they can know and trust.”   According to staff at PASA, MIT did not obtain permission to use their logo/likeness in this fashion.

With public awareness of GMO reaching a critical mass, well-funded media campaigns and industry think-tanks will continue to attempt to muddy the waters and try to confuse the issue. But it couldn’t be more simple:

Parents need to know what they’re feeding their children.

GMO foods have not proven safe, and everyone should be able to opt-out of the GMO food experiment.

To support mandatory GMO labeling in Massachusetts, please contact your legislators. Legislators have until March 19, 2014 to take action on proposed GMO labeling legislation.  

For more details on the 2/26/14 event with MIT researcher Dr. Seneff, please visit: www.marighttoknow.org/home/Winchester

Complete details on the campaign can be found at www.marighttoknow.org