by Jenny Easley
We had a great event on World Food Day, with 50 to 60 people attending notwithstanding pouring rain. Two news channels showed up as a result of our press release, and the event was featured the following evening. We suspect the station managers are not aware of the hornet’s nest they kicked by doing so – Monsanto, Forage, American Crystal Sugar and Syngenta are strong forces here in Idaho.
Our first guest speaker was Phil Geertson, a local alfalfa seed farmer who is currently the lead plaintiff in a suit against USDA and Monsanto. His case has been taken up by the Center for Food Safety. Phil spoke about the cross contamination of alfalfa and how it has severely impacted our seed exports. He also spoke about a study he paid for, during the first deregulation, to test feral alfalfa seed from three different counties in Oregon and Idaho: 9 out of 10 samples of feral alfalfa were positive for the GMO gene.
The second guest speaker, Dr. Peter Cohen, works in internal medicine at St. Luke’s Regional Hospital in Boise, Idaho. He talked about the health consequences of consuming GMOs. He cited the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and Dr. Pusztai, referring to what animal studies tell us in reference to human health. He recommends a GMO-free diet to his patients to whom he gives the “pay now or pay later” talk. Local farmers offered samples of their meat and crops. We held a silent auction with local food producers and restaurants specializing in local and organic foods which yielded significant donations. The support from this community has been amazing! We formed a strategic committee to move forward.
Our goals are:
1. Continue to increase awareness. Our activities include: free presentations on GMOs including to our local democratic party (We want our candidates to be aware of this issue!); promoting local eating and “get to know your farmer” events;
2. Raise funds so that we can test the feral alfalfa again within the next month, in time for Phil’s next Supreme Court appearance in December.
3. We want to fund testing on milk contaminated by with glyphosate, the chemical ingredient of the Roundup herbicide sprayed on GM Roundup Ready crops. The time between spraying alfalfa with Roundup and harvesting the alfalfa can be as short as five days. Glyphosate does not degrade in that time and this hay is being fed to cattle. We suspect the milk from these dairy cattle will contain glyphosate.
4. We want to pursue the option of a ballot measure for Idaho to obtain mandatory labeling on GMOs following California’s lead.
Friends, any support you can lend us to help us move ahead would be greatly appreciated. We have a very motivated core group of individuals who are ready to join. I want to lead them in the most effective way possible.
Note: Jenny Easley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org