What a ride! While many of us found good news in presidential, federal and local races — including things like funding for California schools — the loss of Prop 37 was especially disappointing. No doubt the next few days will be filled with reflection about what we have done and where we are headed.
Here are a few thoughts to put in the mix:
The good news
Over 4.2 million Californians stood strong against the barrage of misleading paid advertisements from industry, and were bolstered by 2,000 farmers, dozens of Hollywood celebrities, 1,300 chefs and thousands of volunteers — especially mothers. We staged numerous educational events, called hundreds of thousands of Californians and canvassed scores of public places — all in efforts to shine a light on our right to know what's in our food and how it's grown.
And we succeeded in raising the profile of the issue, who's behind it, and what's at stake in our food system. We all deserve congratulations for that! As we move forward, we know that — along with our partners at Californians for Pesticide Reform, Communities for a New California and Green Corps — a majority of Californians and Americans stand with us.
Money still runs California's initiative process
From fees on tobacco, to labeling genetically engineered food, it's clear that big corporations and their money still run the initiative process. We knew that the "Big 6" GE seed and pesticide companies would spend tens of millions of dollars to beat back Prop 37, and that they would do everything in their power to mislead us. They were successful in confusing a majority of the electorate, despite majority support for the labeling concept.
After we take a few days to lick our wounds, let's redirect our energy to the many fights at hand. After all, this was just a battle in the long-standing fight against Monsanto and Co. As Tom Philpott of Mother Jones says, "Prop 37 is only part of the food movement."
Because we are a movement of people, we will surely consider different approaches as we move forward:
- Some will choose to take labeling to the California legislature, with hopes that elected officials will be less swayed by pesticide industry influence.
- Some will choose to draw attention to the new wave of pesticide-resistant genetically engineered crops awaiting USDA approval in the coming weeks.
- Others will take on new food fights. For example, Californians for Pesticide Reform is gearing up for the next battle to keep the California's strawberry fields safe.
- And still others will choose to take the labeling fight to the federal level with hopes that FDA will listen to millions of Americans who continue to demand labeling.
Whatever path you choose, we look forward to working together. That's what a movement is all about!