From the GMO Labeling Initiative Front

"The goal of the ballot initiative is simply that GE (genetically engineered) food be labeled" - Jan Dietrick and Ron Whitehurst

Thank you Jan and Ron for your tireless leadership, time, and effort!

If you agree we have a right to know and are a registered voter, but have not signed yet, please make a point of doing so at one of these locations before April 22. For sites outside of Ojai go to www.labelgmos.org/ventura.

- Ojai Farmers' Market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays

Businesses hosting tables with petitions for Ventura County registered voters only:

- Rainbow Bridge, 211 E. Matilija St., Ojai
- Ojai House, 304 N. Montgomery St., Ojai
- Farmer and the Cook, 339 W. El Roblar Dr., Ojai

Why the Coalition endorses this effort is well-expressed by this organization:

"Eco-Farm is deeply concerned that the development and release of genetically engineered crops worldwide has progressed rapidly with inadequate oversight, scant safety testing and minimal public debate. We strongly support a halt to the approval, commercialization, or release of GE crops under the current system that comprises woefully inadequate self-regulation by the GE industry. We want to insure that no GE crops are released without adequate long-term, independent testing about their effects on health and the environment. The decisions that we make now about genetic engineering in food crops will have permanent consequences on our local food production system and the legacy we leave behind for our children and grandchildren."

Jan Dietrick from the frontlines: "For the first 10 days, our West Ventura County teams of close to 50 volunteers collected over 3400 signatures. We found at a variety of locations that about half of the public is familiar with the need for labeling and really appreciates the opportunity the volunteers are providing. A few passersby tell us they believe that genetically engineered food is the salvation for the food supply, but they don't support labeling. We respect the opinions of those who don't support the initiative, but we wonder why they would not want it labeled, if it is truly as beneficial for society as they believe?"

"We are surprised to discover that a large segment of the public doesn't have any knowledge or opinion about genetically engineered food and ingredients and the hazards of eating them. In fact, maybe half of the people we meet across all locations do not seem to be interested in learning why they might want foods with GE ingredients labeled. About 70% of the clientele at Farmers' Markets and natural food stores and those walking on the promenade were informed or interested enough in learning to want to support labeling, whereas less than 5% of people walking around big box stores, post offices and the county government center seemed to know or want to know about genetically engineered food."

Enlightening links:

Obama Promises to Label GMO Foods

The Spark Behind the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2012

New Indication of Health Risks

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Ojai Valley Green Coalition
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