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Californians Support Sustainable Agriculture!

On March 6, 2004 residents of Mendocino county passed a measure banning the cultivation of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops -- also known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) -- within their county. Mendocino county’s Measure H is being used as a model for at least seven other counties in California where local residents are well on their way to passing similar measures. Californians feel that local measures seeking to ban the cultivation of GE crops are critical steps to take in the promotion of economically and ecologically sustainable agriculture.

California farms produce more than 350 varieties of crops and export more than any state in the US. Although California is recognized as a world leader in organic food production and sustainable agriculture, the world’s largest biotechnology companies are attempting to coerce GE crops onto California’s farms. Genetic engineering poses a significant risk to the environment, our food supply and the economic health of farmers.

Alameda, Butte, Humboldt, Marin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Sonoma counties of California are currently campaigning to ban cultivation of GE crops. The people behind these campaigns include farmers, gardeners, health professionals, chefs, business owners, teachers, local government officials, and environmentalists.

For more information, please see the following GE Free Campaign websites:

[ California I Alameda I Butte I Humboldt I Marin I Mendocino I San Luis Obispo I Santa Barbara I Sonoma ]

Update 7/28/04: The Mendocinco Model
On March 6, 2004 residents of Mendocino county passed a measure banning the cultivation of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops -- also known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) -- within their county. Mendocino county’s Measure H is being used as a model for at least seven other counties in California where local residents are well on their way to passing similar measures. Californians feel that local measures seeking to ban the cultivation of GE crops are critical steps to take in the promotion of economically and ecologically sustainable agriculture.

California farms produce more than 350 varieties of crops and export more than any state in the US. Although California is recognized as a world leader in organic food production and sustainable agriculture, the world’s largest biotechnology companies are attempting to coerce GE crops onto California’s farms. Genetic engineering poses a significant risk to the environment, our food supply and the economic health of farmers.

Alameda, Butte, Humboldt, Marin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Sonoma counties of California are currently campaigning to ban cultivation of GE crops. The people behind these campaigns include farmers, gardeners, health professionals, chefs, business owners, teachers, local government officials, and environmentalists. Jill Frandsen, Co-Director of Santa Barbara GE Free says, “SB GE Free is an organization established to get information to consumers, farmers, businesses and organizations concerning genetically modified crops. California is currently the second leading place where experimental test plots are grown.?

The overall risks associated with the cultivation of genetically engineered crops include: 1) exposure to chemicals linked to causes of cancer; 2) the poisoning of the environment through a process called ‘genetic drift’ which poses dire consequences for species such as the Monarch Butterfly as well as organically grown crops; 3) the introduction of novel proteins into the food system which may cause allergic reactions; 4) the creation of “Superweeeds? and “Superbugs? which can withstand applications of the harshest pesticides available; 5) increased levels of toxins in foods; 6) human resistance to antibiotics; 7) reduced nutritional quality of GMO foods; 8) socioeconomic disparity; and 9) worsening world hunger.

According to the True Food Now campaign, “Genetic Engineering (GE) is a radical new technology that manipulates the genes and DNA - the building blocks of all living things. Unlike traditional breeding, genetic engineering creates new life forms that would never occur in nature, creating new and unpredictable health and environmental risks. To create GE crops, genes from bacteria, viruses, plants, animals and even humans have been inserted into plants like soybeans, corn, canola, and cotton. Multinational chemical companies like Monsanto have taken our staple crops and altered them in order to patent and profit from them by increasing their chemical and seed sales and gaining control over farmers and the food chain itself. The same companies that brought us DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange now expect us to trust them with our food supply.?

Renowned Chef and Restauranteur John Ash sees this as an issue of food quality and integrity stating, "For many years I have been an advocate of ethical food and ethical eating, which I define as knowing the life history of what you are eating - where it came from, who grew it, and how it was grown. In Sonoma County, we pride ourselves on the quality and integrity of our locally produced food and wine. This initiative will help insure that our local agriculture remains distinctive, and will allow us to continue to enjoy local, ethical food and eating." The safest way to avoid eating GE foods is to eat foods that are organically grown. Foods that are labeled as “certified organic? are not allowed to have any GE ingredients.

California Farmers’ Markets take place in more than 350 communities throughout the state. When you shop at a Farmer’s Market in California, you support fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the state of California, and therefore avoiding the consumption of GE foods. Although many experimental GE crops are grown in California, cotton is currently the only GE crop reaching consumers. Supermarkets purchase foods at as low a price as possible and the food often travels more than a thousand miles before reaching your plate.

Thanks to the hard work of people all around the world, only four GE food crops (corn, soy, canola and cotton) have been grown on a large scale in the 8 years since GE crops were introduced. Banning the cultivation of GE crops in California is an important step in the global movement for sustainable agriculture. Daniel Solnit, a campaign coordinator in Sonoma county says, "The public response has been overwhelmingly positive. This is an issue which crosses all political divisions; everybody wants to protect our farms, our health, and our quality of life."

For more information, please see the following GE Free Campaign websites:

California >> www.calgefree.org

Alameda >> www.gmofreeac.org
Butte >> www.gefreebutte.org
Humboldt >> www.growgmofree.org
Marin >> www.gmofreemarin.org
Mendocino >> www.gmofreemendo.com
San Luis Obispo >> www.slogefree.org
Santa Barbara >> www.sbgefree.org
Sonoma >> www.gefreesonoma.org
 
 


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