Lumby – On April 15th, Area D of the Regional District of the North Okanagan has overwhelmingly said NO to Genetically Modified Crops, joining Cherryville and the more than 60 other BC communities which have supported resolutions and/or where the public have voted against GMO crops. While declaring a community a GMO FREE zone is not a bylaw it makes everyone understand the level of opposition to GM crops.
Three weeks ago, Bee SAFE, a local volunteer group started by Huguette Allen, Jane Emlyn and Carla Vierke, held a public meeting at the Lumby Community hall to discuss how GMO crops affect other crops and why they’re being banned in many regions.
“GMO crops were accepted in our communities without people’s knowledge and contamination is occurring without people’s consent. There is no co-existence possible between GMO crops and other crops – by not deciding to ban them, we’re deciding to ban every other type of agriculture and to put the future of our food and our farms in the hands of corporations like Monsanto, who own patents on GMO seeds” said Huguette Allen.
Along with a presentation and discussion, Bee SAFE asked the public to cast a vote to show whether they were in favour of passing a resolution against GMO crops in their community. Looking at the vote results, Carla Vierke said: “It’s scary to see that had we not called for a vote, 7% of rural Lumby voters and 4% of Cherryville voters would have decided on the future of our communities. It is a very clear example that by not making a choice, you are in fact making a choice.”
Out of 405 votes cast, 293 were from area D, 53 from Lumby and the rest from neighbouring communities. Area D voted 92.8% in favour of a ban. “If people had not been pro-active and the GMO trend had continued, it would soon have become impossible for anyone to grow organic or conventional crops” said Jane Emlyn. “The solution now is to support diversified farming, to develop a resilient economy based on health, quality of life & protection of the environment.”