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Californians for GE-Free Agriculture Newsletter July 6, 2004

IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Updates on county initiatives to ban GE crops
2. BioDemocracy Alliance - Defend county rights for self-determination!!
3. Cal GE-Free Organizer Training in August - there's still time to apply!
4. We need your support
5. Help spread the GE-Free word to your favorite grocery store
6. A Center for Food Safety Call for Action
This is the monthly newsletter of Californians for GE-Free Agriculture. Please pass it on to friends, family and anyone you know who eats food!

Have you visited the Californians for GE-Free Agriculture website? Check us out at
_www.calgefree.org and tell your friends to do the same!

If you are not already signed up to receive this newsletter as part of our Volunteer Network, you can do so at www.registervisitors.com/calge/signup.htm

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CALIFORNIANS FOR GE-FREE AGRICULTURE NEWSLETTER
NUMBER 6 - July 2004

'The movement also is racking up successes, with ballot measures approved this week by supervisors in Butte, San Luis Obispo, Marin and Humboldt counties. At least eight other counties are targeted for similar ballot measures, which could create a threat to biotech's future in the nation's largest farming state.'

--- Sacramento Bee article on the BioDemocracy Alliance's work to protect country rights, 'Biotech foes gain ground', by Mike Lee, July 15, 2004

--------------------------
IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Updates on county initiatives to ban GE crops
2. BioDemocracy Alliance - Defend county rights for self-determination!!
3. Cal GE-Free Organizer Training in August - there's still time to apply!
4. We need your support
5. Help spread the GE-Free word to your favorite grocery store
6. A Center for Food Safety Call for Action
--------------------------


=======================================================

1) They made it!! Activists in Marin, Butte, San Luis Obispo and Humboldt counties have succeeded in gathering enough signatures to place measures on the November ballot to ban GE crops! The massive number of signatures collected reflects the wide consumer unease with GE agriculture.

Counties should have the right to determine their own agricultural destinies and to keep their farms free from genetic contamination by GE crops. These county initiatives will help preserve democratic decision making at the community level and
strengthen local farm economies. You can check out the latest news from these four counties by visiting our website: www.calgefree.org/news/initiatives.shtml

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2) Defending county campaigns to ban GE crops

As Marin, Butte, San Luis Obispo and Humboldt counties are set to vote on measures to ban GE agriculture this November, we expect the biotech industry to push preemptive legislation or challenge the constitutionality of the initiatives
(including Mendocino's Measure H). Rumor has it that biotech proponents want to make county rights to self-determination ILLEGAL.

To counteract this manipulation, the BioDemcracy Alliance has been established to support counties in their work to ban GE agriculture. The BioDemocracy Alliance combines the strengths of the Organic Consumers Association with GMO Free Mendocino.

"We formed the BioDemocracy Alliance specifically to beat back the biotech bullies who want to undermine the rights of California counties to prohibit the growing of genetically altered crops," said Ryan Zinn, Campaign Coordinator of the Organic Consumer Association. "Whether it's in the courtroom, the statehouse or in the campaign trenches, we're here to support these counties and to protect our hard-won victories."

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3. WE ARE STILL ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for the Regional Organizer Training August
2-6, 2004.

Central Valley & Southern California... we need you especially!

Apply today and attend our Regional Organizer Training

Learn the skills needed to organize against genetic engineering at a five-day training session August 2-6, 2004 in beautiful Sonoma County. Held at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center www.oaec.org we will provide food, accommodation and a stipend for travel expenses.

You will leave the training with essential community organizing, campaign planning,
media outreach and public speaking skills that will prepare you to embrace the challenge of keeping our state GE-free. You will also take with you a draft plan of action, plus the confidence and skills needed to make it happen. You will also have time to enjoy and explore the beautiful OAEC grounds.

We are looking for people who: can actively participate in the Cal GE-Free network as a regional organizer for one year and commit 20 hours per month, have a strong commitment to sustainable agriculture, good communication skills, and are willing to work on both local campaigns and collaborative statewide efforts. We will give priority to groups of 2-4 people who live in the same region and will be attending
the training together.

JOIN OUR TEAM OF ORGANIZERS by filling out an application form in one of three ways:

On our website: www.calgefree.org/training.shtml
Send an email to info (at) calgefree.org
Call us at 415-561-2523 to have an application mailed to you.

We will accept applications until all spaces are filled. Please fill out an application today! =======================================================
4) We need your support.

Californians for GE-Free Agriculture is making a difference by working to keep new GE crop plantings out of California. We can always use your support in these efforts.

Make a donation over $100 to support our campaign and we'll send you a free book, Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey Smith.

Cal GE-Free now has an easy to use online donation system.

secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php

Thank you!

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5.) Help spread the GE-Free word to your favorite grocery store

Do you have a good relationship with your local grocery or natural food store? If so, please put us in touch with their newsletter writer so that we can send them information about Cal GE-Free to help educate their customers about our efforts.

We will also have Cal GE-Free fact sheets and petitions which we can send to stores who are willing to display them.

To have a display packet sent, please contact Simon at Cal GE-Free: simon (at) calgefree.org or call 415-561-2523

Spread the GE-Free word ---- contact us today.

=======================================================

6.) A Center for Food Safety Call for Action
TELL SENATOR DURBIN YOU DON'T WANT GENETICALLY
ENGINEERED DRUGS IN YOUR FOOD!

On June 17th, Senator Richard Durbin, D-IL, introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate called the "Genetically Engineered Foods Act," S. 2546. The good news is, the bill will require a mandatory safety approval process at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for genetically engineered
(GE) food and feed crops, instead of the current voluntary review.

If passed, S. 2546 will legalize the contamination of the food supply by drugs or industrial substances produced in GE food crops by setting a "safe" tolerance for such substances, which would be a significant weakening of current laws. Currently, any level of contamination of food crops by GE drugs is illegal, and typically
results in the removal of the contaminated food from the food supply.

S. 2546 would be a boon to the GE drug-crop industry, but bad for you, the consumer, because contamination is inevitable.

Write or email Senator Durbin; thank him for his interest in the issue and urge him to amend his bill to eliminate tolerance provisions for contamination of the food supply by GE drug-crops:

332 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2152
Fax: (202) 228-0400
Email: dick (at) durbin.senate.gov

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About Cal GE-Free:

Californians for GE-Free Agriculture is a coalition of farming, consumer and environmental organizations united to end genetically engineered agriculture in California.

Californians for GE-Free Agriculture members include: California Certified Organic Farmers, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Ecological Farming Association, Four Elements Farm, Genetic Engineering Action Network, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and Organic Consumers Association.
 
 


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