Picture our planet. Picture the farms where our food comes from and the farmers who care for them. Picture families like yours and mine working hard to put nourishing food on the table. Now picture them all thriving and working in harmony. This is the world that I want to live in, where people coexist with their environment in a way that creates a nourishing and sustainable food supply for all.
It may sound like a daydream, but it’s a hopeful vision for the future that I hold very dear. With over 80% of conventional processed food in the U.S. containing genetically modified ingredients, it’s clear that our food supply has lost its natural roots, however, I still have cause to celebrate during Earth Month. I am proud to stand with millions of people across North America who share the mission to create a safe and healthy food supply. In making powerful lifestyle choices and choosing non-GMO products, we are protecting the future of our food.
Standing up for our right to know what’s in our food, and our right to choose whether or not we consume GMOs is key to cultivating a more resilient food system. Here are the reasons I choose to celebrate the non-GMO movement during Earth Month, and the other 11 months of the year too!
The GMO industry is harmful to the environment. Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. Genetically modified crops are also responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons like 2,4-D. GMOs are also linked to issues with soil and water toxicity and loss of biodiversity. Crucial pollinators like bees and butterflies are threatened by the herbicides and insecticides sprayed on genetically modified crops engineered to withstand them.
While it is important to note that the Non-GMO Project Standard does not prohibit the use of herbicides and pesticides, we stand strongly in support of organic practices. A verified non-GMO system supports organic agriculture by reducing contamination pressure and protecting the supply of non-GMO seed. For many of our staff members, our gold standard when shopping for our own families is the combination of Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA certified organic. We believe all consumers, whether they purchase organic or conventional foods, deserve transparency and have a right to choose whether or not they want to consume GMOs.
GMOs are a global issue. Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. More than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the United States and Canada, lack of meaningful GMO labeling threatens farmer sovereignty and consumer choice.
Further, because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that manufacture GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even if it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. Luckily, farmers across North America are standing up to against this unjust contamination, and reputable studies are debunking the myth that GMO crops increase yield potential. The Non-GMO Project works with farmers on a daily basis to restore traditional seed breeding practices and help protect their right to save and plant their own seeds and grow varieties of their choice.
We deserve a choice. Everyone deserves an informed choice about whether or not to consume genetically modified organisms. In light of weak labeling laws and lack of federal regulation, it is more important than ever to look for the Non-GMO Project Butterfly. When the Project started 10 years ago, most shoppers didn’t know what a GMO was, let alone if it was in their food. Today, over 3,000 brands choose to honor transparency with their customers and together they provide over 43,000 labeled non-GMO choices.
To me, Earth Month encompasses more than just a celebration of our planet and the importance of its well-being, it is a Month to honor its inhabitants who advocate for a thriving future. We believe the integrity of our diverse genetic inheritance is essential to human and environmental health and ecological harmony, which is why we’re committed to protecting and building a non-GMO food supply. I am grateful to work with an organization that acts in the interest of health on the personal, organizational and global levels, and to support people across North America to make informed food choices for their families. Together, we are taking accountability for the future of our food. Together, we are helping to create a thriving planet.
Join us in celebrating a non-GMO Earth Month! Take the Non-GMO Challenge and enter to win a DreamBox filled with Non-GMO Project Verified products!