What’s in our food and how is it grown? That’s what many Californians are asking as they consider voting for Proposition 37, the ballot initiative to label genetically engineered food.
As we head towards Election Day, PAN staff and partners are talking to Californians across the state about what a healthy food system looks like. And we have our work cut out for us, as Monsanto and the rest of the "Big 6" pesticide and GE seed corporations continue to flood airwaves and mailboxes with erroneous paid advertisements.
Grassroots = Power
The GE labeling effort in California began as a grassroots effort, with a concerned grandmother kickstarting the process of gathering almost 1 million signatures to get Prop 37 on the ballot.
And the grassroots power continues. In just the past few weeks, we’ve talked to thousands of people — including moms, farmers and farmworkers — to garner support for labeling GE food. We’ve been interviewed by media reporters and spoken to political leaders. And with a strong team of organizers in places like Fresno, Los Angeles, Salinas, Stockton, Ventura and Watsonville, the groundswell of support for labeling just keeps growing.
“It’s not partisan, nor geographic. The right to know what’s in our food is basic,” said Daniela Simunovic, an organizer in Fresno. “Despite the best efforts of pesticide and genetically engineered seed corporations to obscure the truth, Californians will prevail.”
What’s at stake?
We know that we’ll have to speak truth to industry's tired, old myths. And we know that genetically engineered foods mean more pesticides used, more harms for our health and the environment, and increased consolidation in the hands of a few corporations.
Here’s why labeling is important in California:
- 99% of GE crops are designed to contain an insecticide or survive repeated applications of herbicides. In the first 13 years of commercial use, these crops increased pesticide use by over 300 million pounds.
- More GE crops are in the pipeline – with USDA set to approve 2,4-D resistant corn, among others. Scientists warn that widespread planting of 2,4-D corn could trigger as much as a 30-fold increase in the toxic herbicide's use on corn by the end of the decade.
- Already, over half the corn and cotton grown in California is genetically engineered.
- California communities — especially farmworkers and rural communities — bear the burden of increased health risk from pesticide exposure in air, water and on food.
Take Action» We have a right to know what's in our food. But pesticide companies like Monsanto want to keep us in the dark to control the food we eat and grow. Vote YES on Prop 37 and learn more about how you can get involved!