An Open Letter to the Organic Community: The California Ballot Initiative to Label GMOs


Big Food has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat the country’s first mandatory GMO labeling laws. It’s time for us to step up and fight back.

Help Us Label GMOs sign

After 45 years of hard work and grassroots struggle, the organic community has built up a $30-billion organic food and farming industry and community. This consumer and small farmer-driven movement, under steady attack by biotech and Big Food lobbyists, with little or no help from the federal government, has managed to create a healthy and sustainable alternative to America’s disastrous, chemical and energy-intensive system of industrial agriculture. Consumer demand is behind strong organic sales. Conscious of the health hazards of genetic engineering and chemical agriculture, and the mortal threat of global warming and climate change, millions of Americans are demanding food and other products that are certified organic.

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It’s a hopeful sign that, in spite of economic recession, organic foods now make up 4.2 percent of all grocery store sales. However given the magnitude of the country’s public health, environmental, and climate crisis, 10 percent annual growth in the organic sector is simply not enough to reach the proverbial ‘tipping point” before our current crisis metastasizes into what can only be described as a catastrophe.

In the food sector, we cannot continue to hand over 90 percent of our consumer dollars to out-of-control, biotech, chemical-intensive, energy-intensive, greenhouse gas polluting corporations and “profit at any cost” retail chains. The growth of the Organic Alternative is literally a matter of survival. After two decades of biotech bullying and force-feeding unlabeled and hazardous genetically engineered foods to animals and humans, it’s time to move beyond defensive measures – such as petitioning the FDA – and go on the offensive. With organic farming, climate stability, and public health under the gun of the gene engineers and their partners in crime, it’s time to do more than complain. With more than 1/3 of U.S. cropland already contaminated with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), with mounting scientific evidence that GMOs cause cancer, birth defects, and serious food allergies, and with new biotech mutants like alfalfa, lawn grass, ethanol-ready corn, 2,4 D-resistant crops, and genetically engineered trees and animals being fast-tracked for approval by the government, with absolutely no pre-market safety-testing required, time is running out.

The burning question for us all then becomes how — and how quickly — can we move healthy, organic products from a 4.2% market niche, to the dominant force in American food and farming?