Prop 37 was narrowly defeated - 53% - 47% - on Nov. 6. But that’s a mere footnote to the real story.
The real story is this. The campaign to label genetically modified ingredients in California shone a blinding spotlight on GMOs, and on their potential threat to human health and the environment. It changed the national conversation around food safety and security, and brought transparency in labeling to the forefront of that conversation.
Prop 37 exposed the dark side of Big Ag and Big Food, and their desperation to keep consumers from having what citizens in 60 other countries have had for decades: the right to know what’s in their food.
Prop 37 underscored how money pollutes our democratic process.
Perhaps most important of all, Prop 37 amplified the conversation about the need – and opportunity - for real alternatives to a corporate-controlled-food system polluted by GMOs and pesticides, and corrupted by greed and ill-begotten profits.
So, go ahead, Monsanto. Celebrate while you can. Your victory was indeed narrow. Ours was sweeter. The momentum is on our side, and we’re moving forward.
One of the great success stories to come out of the Prop 37 campaign was the energy, passion, and dedication of more than 10,000 volunteers who worked tirelessly, some for months, to educate the public about genetically modified organisms and counter the daily barrage of lies about Prop 37.
Thank you to the thousands of you who signed up to distribute flyers in California and beyond, and to make thousands of phone calls to California voters to urge them to vote Yes on 37.
Three cheers to Pamm Larry, chief instigator who ran a tireless on-the-ground grassroots campaign, coordinating volunteers from all corners of California. And a shout out to the dedicated Yes on 37 Team that worked with Pamm and others to make thousands of phone calls and distribute yard signs, leaflets and bumperstickers.
You had your work cut out for you, having to counter the lies and expose the dirty tricks of the No on 37 campaign. That 4.2 million voters – about 47% of people who cast votes on Nov. 6 – voted Yes on 37 is a testament to your hard work.
You're now part of a movement that will only grow stronger, as we – with your help – continue to keep the GMO issue in the public eye, and regroup to take the issue on in other states, starting with Washington State and Vermont, and eventually all the way to Capitol Hill.
Thank you for rolling up your sleeves and digging in. We may have narrowly lost this one battle, but you, our warriors, are energized and ready to take on Monsanto and Big Food again. It’s only a matter of time before we, the millions of Davids, slays Goliath. Thank you!
San Juan County (Washington State) Passes GMO Ban
Election day brought good news for GMO activists in San Juan County, Washington. Citizens there voted to ban the propagation or growing of genetically modified plants or animals anywhere in the county.
Proposition 2012-4, a citizen-led initiative proposed by organic farmers and others, captured 61% of votes. The proposition imposes penalties on those who violate the law, and calls for destruction of any GMO organisms grown anywhere in the county.
"I'm proud to live in a county that could see the immense benefit of passing this forward-thinking initiative," said GMO-ban supporter Marta Nielsen of Orcas Island, an organic farmer who raises chickens.
In (2004) several California counties passed GMO bans, including Mendocino, Marin, Santa Cruz, and Trinity.
To all of you who dug into your pockets and shook your piggybanks to take a stand against Monsanto, Big Ag, and Big Food by supporting Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative, thank you for your generous support during these past nine months.
Every single one of your donations made a difference. Thanks to you, the OCA and OCF contributed over $1.4 million to the Yes on 37 campaign. All told, the Yes campaign raised about $7 million compared with the NO on 37 campaign’s war chest of $46 million, donated by the largest pesticide and junk food corporations in the world. Despite that huge disparity, you helped us win over 4.3 million Californians who are now aware of GMOs and are passionate about the fight to label them.
We may have – only very narrowly – lost this one state battle, but your support has helped us build an unstoppable national movement.
When we started down this road last year, we knew we would be outspent. What we didn’t know was how many of you, well beyond the boundaries of California, would jump into this fight with us. From the teenager in New York who gave a GMO speech at his Bar Mitzvah and donated his monetary gifts to the campaign, to the high school students in Marietta, Georgia, who made a CD and donated the proceeds, to the woman in Florida who donated $10,000 . . . to the thousands who sent donations of all sizes, from every state in the country, California thanks you. We thank you.
Without your support, this initiative might never have made it on the ballot, much less won nearly 47% of the vote. You helped build a coalition of food activists, volunteers, food safety and public health groups, consumer and environmental groups, politicians and organic food companies who will continue working together for years to come.
This was a victory for GMO awareness, for exposing corporate secrecy and corruption. It is just the first of many victories to come. Because your support has been so strong, we will continue to educate the public, pressure the marketplace, and push for initiatives and legislation in Washington and Oregon, Connecticut and Vermont, and Washington DC. We will not stop until consumers in all 50 states have the right to know what’s in their food.
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