At this time 10 years ago, I was volunteering full-time to create a new non-profit organization called the Non-GMO Project. Our small group working on the effort had given up hope that government would ever give consumers the information they need to know about GMOs. Meanwhile, we saw that shoppers were increasingly concerned about GMOs and looking for non-GMO options. We reasoned that since there was a market for non-GMO, producers would create a supply for it—they just needed a system for doing so. It wouldn’t be easy or quick, but we felt confident that a market-based strategy was our best hope for preserving and building a non-GMO food supply and giving consumers the informed choice they deserve.
Fast forward a decade—after the events of this past year, it seems clearer than ever that we can’t count on the government to protect consumer interests when it comes to GMOs. In the wake of federal legislation that has effectively ended any hope of meaningful, mandatory GMO labeling in the United States, the Non-GMO Project Butterfly has become more important than ever.
The Non-GMO Project’s rigorous Standard is the only non-GMO claim backed by third-party verification and ongoing testing of major, high-risk ingredients. We have also led the industry by precluding products of synthetic biology and other new forms of genetic engineering like gene editing. As the technology changes faster than ever, the Non-GMO Project’s nimbleness, integrity and technical focus continue to imbue the Butterfly with unparalleled trustworthiness.
As a non-profit organization, we count on public support to help us do our work. We are a small but mighty team—less than 30 staff members manage our Standard development, oversee the Technical Administrators that verify products to our Standard and coordinate all of our outreach and education programs. I’m proud to share the following notable accomplishments of our impact:
- 40,000+ Non-GMO Project Verified products
- 2,400+ retailers participated in our 7th annual Non-GMO Month in October
- 4.3+ million website visits over the past 12 months
- 1.1+ million Facebook fans
- 126k+ followers on Twitter
As we launch into 2017, I hope you will consider supporting the work of the Non-GMO Project with a donation. Your generosity will help us continue to lead the way in protecting and educating the public so that we have a non-GMO food supply for future generations.
From all of us at the Non-GMO Project, we thank you deeply for your partnership in building a non-GMO future and we look forward to another year of collaboration.
Best wishes for a wonderful new year!
Megan Westgate, Executive Director