Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market (OHGFAM) promotes healthy food, healthy people, and a healthy planet. We firmly believe that the consumer has a right to know how their food is grown, who grows it, and what’s in it. We’ve toured most of our farms and asked about their growing practices, including the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Folks can read about what we learned on our site visits on our website at https://orangehomegrown.org/news/. This Saturday, we are introducing another layer of information: starting Earth Day, April 22, 2017, you will find GMO-Free signs posted by many OHGFAM farmers.
Transparency is our mantra. One of the topics covered on our monthly market tours is the unique opportunity to know your farmers, something no grocery store chain can offer. Face Certification is a term presented in the Lexicon of Sustainability – it’s the direct contact between farmer and consumer that creates an environment of trust and faith. I like the idea of face certification, because it’s about building real relationships with the people who grow your food. You support and eat the growers’ values – such as their seed choices, growing methods, and labor practices. Not all farmers can afford to be certified organic, but they can grow organically and tell you how they do it. Maybe they are in fact in alignment with your values.
GMOs were touted as the best way to feed the world. However, today, GMOs are more costly for the farmers, and possibly wreaking havoc on the natural world. A GMO is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified using recombinant DNA methods (also called gene splicing), gene modification or transgenic technology, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
GMOs were developed to allow crops to be sprayed with Roundup, therefore, promoting the use of Roundup, the world’s top-selling weed killer. Its active ingredient is glyphosate. Glyphosate-tolerant GM crops represent more than 80% of the 120 million hectares of GM crops grown annually worldwide.
In 2015 the World Health Organization’s cancer agency declared that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Just a few weeks ago, a group of international judges declared that Monsanto has impinged on the basic human rights to a healthy environment and healthy food. And just a few days ago, a California judge ruled that glyphosate must be labeled as a known human carcinogen under Prop 65.
Sixty-four countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and the European Union, require genetically modified foods to be labeled or have banned them altogether. While a 2015 ABC News survey found that 93% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labeled, GMOs are not required to be labeled in the U.S. and Canada and are approved based on studies conducted by Monsanto.
As part of our efforts to deepen food literacy and co-create a healthier planet and community, we hope this extra layer of information is useful in shedding light on the power of purchasing food at OHGFAM.
By Lisa David, OHGFAM Market Manager