Get Your Gen Mo Out of My Food Yo: Part VII – Soulutions for a GMO-free life
Yes, some of the GMO info can lend itself to feelings of despair. Yes, it may seem like an insurmountable uphill battle in lead shoes toting a backpack full of bricks on an empty stomach. BUT all hope is not lost! There’s quite a bit, actually, you can do. You’ll see several options in this post, and I’m sure there are many I haven’t included. Please share your ideas in the comments section. In an effort for you to not be overwhelmed, I suggest you focus on only one soulution at a time – assuming of course that you care to make a change.
Boycott products and byproducts of Monsanto and affiliates
For starters, discontinue buying Roundup along with any products, byproducts or affiliates of Monsanto. Frankly, I highly encourage all of us to join forces and discontinue the purchase of any toxins that we are knowingly putting into the earth. There are healthy alternatives to caring for your garden and lawn – alternatives that will help you, your family and essential wildlife thrive. The decline of the Monarch butterfly along with some other important insects that is considered to be environmental trackers are greatly attributed to toxic sprays. Give a toxic free life a chance! You can check out the Ecology Center for some nontoxic way of handling weeds.
A potentially interesting sidebar
I called Home Depot (headquarters) to gather some more information about which, if any, Monsanto products they sell. The Customer Service Rep was really trying to help me, but he could not find any products of Monsanto – even when we focused specifically on herbicides, pesticides and seeds. I then suggested he look up Roundup. He corrected me and shared that Roundup is listed under ‘Scotts’ as the manufacturer. I only knew Roundup to be Monsanto-related. I did some snooping around and it looks like Scotts bought the marketing rights to Roundup in the late 90’s. On Scotts’ website I see Roundup and at the very bottom a Monsanto copyright. I would love more information on the Scotts and Monsanto relationship. Leave a comment if you have info.
- Check out the Garden of Eatin’ for a list of seeds to avoid and safe seeds.
- I’ve read that Monsanto has been the corporate sponsor of various attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World (Magic Kingdom). Because I wanted to get my facts straight, I called both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. I spoke with several representatives before getting my answers. Interestingly, the first 3 – 4 reps asked me repeatedly to spell ‘Monsanto’. I found this curious, and it leads me to believe a theory that there are still many many people who know little to nothing about this company.
I was told at Disneyland, Monsanto sponsors The House of Tomorrow (they sponsored the former House of the Future) and at the Magic Kingdom, they are no longer a corporate sponsor. If anyone has any additional information, please share.
One option you have if traveling to Disneyland, share comments with customer service reps that you are boycotting any attraction supported by Monsanto.
Power Your Voice and Voice Your Power
- Petition President Obama to Support Mandatory Labeling of GM Foods
- Tell the USDA that you care about GE (genetically engineered) contamination of Organic Food!
Based on a 2006 lawsuit from CFS (Center for Food Safety) to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for an illegal approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup-ready alfalfa, the federal courts banned Genetically Engineered alfalfa until the USDA conducted a full analysis of how farmers, the environment and the public are impacted by this particular plant.
The USDA claims that consumers do not care about contamination of their food. How preposterously presumptuous. If you do care about your food, your health or the earth, let the USDA know. Take Action. Please note: you do not have to include your address on this petition. The deadline to comment is February 16, 2010!
- Support Care2.com and Petition to Take GM Corn OFF the Shelves (remember your street address is optional).
- Tell Home Depot to Dump Monsanto!
Start your own petition! With the Care2 Petition Site,you can start your own petition for free! Your NO GMO petition can be for local government (town, city, county), your kids’ school district, your favorite grocery store or restaurant. You can post the petition on Facebook, Linkedin or send it out to your distribution lists. My wheels are currently turning to start a petition, but in the meantime, I’ll gladly sign yours if appropriate!
Here are two examples:
If you currently own stocks or mutual funds in Monsanto and want to get out, talk with your financial advisor about switching to a more socially responsible stock. I very recently discovered that my Growth Fund of America has .5% stake in Monsanto. And while this may seem like an insignificant amount given Growth Fund likely has 150+ stocks, I will keep a close watch on it; because I now need to decide if I’m going to contribute to Monsanto’s growth while receiving compensation as a result of it. I’m sure if I dig even deeper that I’ll find more socially irresponsible institutions that are connected to that fund. I have to admit, this is a tough call. Growth Fund of America has weathered the economic storm reasonably well. And still, when I think about my contributions to the world, I want to have a clearer conscience. I have begun research for more socially responsible funds.
Write to Food Folks
Check out the sample letter to send to food suppliers, manufacturers and distributors by Seeds of Deception.
**Documentary alert: Chances are, much like this post, any documentary on the subject will be fairly one-sided. Take the parts that resonate and throw the rest away.
An informed consumer is a wise consumer. Tell others. Shout out to your local nurseries, home improvement stores, grocery stores, school district (cafeteria food is likely to contain GMO products including rBGH in milk products) –anyone who will listen – to discontinue the sales or use of products and byproducts of Monsanto and their affiliates.
Insist on knowing the ingredients in your food. Support labeling of products. Here’s a noteworthy paragraph from Suite 101.com:
Consumers who are concerned, and wish to limit or eliminate their consumption of GMOs, should maximize their consumption of organic produce, locally produced foods, foods labeled and marketed as nonGMO, free-range meats, and foods which they prepare themselves (as opposed to processed foods). Even these steps do not guarantee that a consumer’s diet will not contain GMOs, and will not unless labeling becomes a requirement.
And yep, it does take some time to gather the information. Once you have grasped the essential elements, the rest will hopefully flow. The initial time commitment of sifting through the information is likely to consume the greatest amount of time, followed by label reading (unless you’re a speed reader then this part will go quickly) and then eating is the best part!
These sites may be helpful
- The Center for Food Safety
- Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
- Institute for Responsible Technology
- Seeds of Deception
- Worldwatch Institute – Sustainable Agriculture Program
- Organic Consumer’s Millions against Monsanto
- Council for Responsible Genetics
- Check out Johnnie Chamberlin’s post on Rethinking Grain
- If you’re on facebook, check out GMO Truth Alliance
Eat for Wellness
The following links offer support for finding the best local food stores, farmer’s markets and restaurants in your area.
- Nongmo food guide.
- Food Consumer offers a list of food manufacturers and their products that are GM-free.
- Check out Food Routes to know the origin of your food.
Buy Local Food – find sustainable farms, markets and restaurants. The safest bet for food consumption is your knowing the origin of your food –buy local organic as often as possible. One of the fortunate aspects of living in Northern California is my ability to get locally grown foods throughout the year. But what about those of you who live in regions where this is not possible? My suggestion is frozen organic or nonGMO veggies.
- The Eat Well Guide can help you locate these sources.
- Check out Amy Considine’s post Shop Locally: Get More Flavor for Your Dollar
- Ecological Farming Association
The Ecological Farming Association nurtures healthy and just farms, food systems, communities and environment by bringing people together for education, alliance building and advocacy.
Go No GMO!
Buy foods labeled nonGMO as often as possible. If you have a favorite item that has ingredients not labeled, contact the manufacturer and ask them about it. The more people who contact these companies and request nonGMO products, the more likely they will respond to the market.
The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit that was spearheaded by those in the organic industry including Lundberg Family Farms (think yummy rice). According to an article by AllBusiness, the standard chosen by the group is 0.9 percent or less GMOs in foods. This is the same standard used in the EU. As of January 2010, 50 brands manufactured in the US and Canada have signed up to be part of the Non-GMO project. This accounts for about 3,000 products. Consumers can expect to see more Non-GMO labels in the next few months as companies begin to roll out their new labels. Please check out their site and support those companies for making an honorable choice.
Whole Paycheck, ah em, I mean Whole Foods is planning to test its store brand products to assure they are GMO free. Well done Whole Foods!
Avoid processed foods to the best of your ability (and I realize that your best may change from one week to the next as does my own) –especially those containing corn or soy derivatives unless they are labeled nonGMO.
Every dollar you spend stakes a claim to what is or is not acceptable. Each purchase has a little voice that speaks volumes to the producers of your food.
Kenda’s nonGMO Processed Food Pick
I admit it. There are some processed foods that I simply love. Over the past several years and as I continue on a path toward a GMO-free existence, I have been acutely aware of the ingredients in my processed foods. If I’m going to eat processed foods, which in themselves could have some inherent nutritional deficits, I will not add to that problem by consuming GM ingredients in those foods. So I have listed some of my favorite soy and processed foods below.
I think this is my favorite butter of all time – I especially love the texture of the whipped butter! Earth Balance is part of the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program.
Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheese (Monterey Jack is my fave)
A representative, Sheena, from Earth Island, a company that produces some of my favorite soy foods including Follow Your Heart Cheese shared the following about their registration with the Non-GMO Project:
We recently registered with the Non-GMO Project, which is the country’s first consensus-based standard, third-party Product Verification Program, and uniform seal for labeling products made following best practices of GMO avoidance. The “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal means that a product has been produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance, including testing of risk ingredients. We hope to soon display their seal on all of our products.
Crunchy goodness loaded with great nutrition and 100% organic! Mary Gone Crackers has a few varieties and they are actually good for you and tasty. Mary Gone Crackers is part of the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program.
At nearly five bucks a bag, one doesn’t come by Uncle Eddie’s cheaply, so it’s a real indulgence for my wallet and for my taste buds…and worth every bite! I start with the goal of making the cookies last as long as possible, which to date has been no longer than a week and usually rounds out at about three days. I contacted Uncle Eddie’s to verify they are 100% GMO-free, and indeed they are!
There are a few Tofutti products I like, yet mostly I use the Sour Cream for baked potatoes and burritos. I notice no difference between that and cow’s milk sour cream. While all of their products use non-GMO soy protein, if available, they use other non-GMO ingredients, such as tofu powder and maltodextrin. However, they do not claim nor guarantee that every other ingredient they use is non-GMO. I’m hoping Tofutti joins the Non-GMO Project.
Yum. These little beauties are great with peanut butter. I don’t think they really qualify as processed food, because they’re made with raw ingredients. While the Go Raw crackers don’t come cheap, they are a lot more cost effective than prescription medicine if one considers the food you eat can actually help make you healthy.
Sweeteners: Look for organic and non-GMO sweeteners, candy and chocolate products made with 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar, to avoid GM beet sugar or sugar cane. One of my favorite sweeteners is Agave Nectar by a Madhava. This is a natural, organic, liquid sweetener.
Choice is your voice of power
We the people are not free of the consequences caused by inaction; therefore we are not victims but byproducts and collaborators of a series of choices. We choose urgent short-term necessities or the insightfulness of long-term solutions. We choose the consequences of convenience or the resilience of sustainability. We choose to put our faith in advertising, faith in a higher power, faith in intuition, faith in all three or faith in nothing at all. We choose the politicians who make decisions for us or are stuck with the choices of others. We choose which foods we will and will not purchase. We chose to speak up or wait for someone else to do so. We have chosen inaction or have not chosen reaction because this issue simply isn’t a battle we want to fight given the overwhelming complexities of living in a modern day, over-stimulated society that is burdened with too many issues to tackle; or we choose deliberate, planned action when we have the information needed to make proactive change regardless of extenuating circumstances.
If you choose to take a stand, do so with the conviction and wisdom of someone who can see into a bright, sustainable future. Make your choices based on current needs as well as those you can anticipate in the future. If the environment is your passion, consider the influx of problems caused by foods laden with pesticides – from contaminated soil to tainted drinking water. And realize you can make a difference. Consider that sustainable agriculture is not about toxins. It’s about healthy soil, healthy plants and biodiversity. If humanity is your passion, consider that small farms are being put out of business by industrialized farming practices. Consider other, cost effective, health-enhancing, food promoting ways that will help farmers in developing places feed their fellow citizens. Support those people on their endeavors. If health is your passion, consider not just the known facts but the unanswered questions regarding the food you offer your body – or that which you give to your children. Consider that each bite you take can be medicinal, neutral or poisonous. Consider that your body – your health – may be part of an incomprehensible science experiment if you rely on food supplied by chemical corporations. If ethics is your passion, consider whether or not you want to support a government, an organization, or a farmer that is manipulating the natural progress of life in the name of economics and without fully understanding the impact on future generations.
If you care simply because something feels inherently wrong or inappropriate about an ancient food system that has naturally evolved but is now being forced into an unnatural process through the manipulation of corporations, then take your power and take a stand.
Every time you pay money at the grocery store, the farmer’s market, a retail chain store, a restaurant or your local mom and pop place, you are making a choice. Every time you say NO to GMOs you are claiming your individual power. Choice is your voice of power.
My BFF, Marie Montemurno shares some noteworthy thoughts:
In the end, it’s hard to know how to feel about things given all the gray areas. All I can do is choose what’s best for me and my family in the moment and hope for the best for our collective future.
I believe the wisdom of a society is manifested in how its power and fortitude are used for the greater good; how it operates with the highest of intentions; how openly shared knowledge allows its citizens to make responsible and informed choices; how decisions made today are based on consideration for the impact on tomorrow, and how the reticent voice is encouraged to rise up to be heard by all.