Field Notes from the Campaign to Label GE Foods: Pennsylvania

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Authors: Food and Water Watch

February 12th, 2013

By Sam Bernhardt

FWW and GMO-Free PA at PASA Conference

FWW’s Sam Bernhardt and members of GMO Free PA coalition at the PASA conference on Feb. 8, 2013.

People across Pennsylvania are fired up about holding big agribusiness accountable and giving consumers access to basic information about the food they are buying and eating through the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food.

Pennsylvanians care about our farmers and labeling GE food means fighting back against the growing control of corporations like Monsanto, giving power back to farmers around the state. Agriculture is our state’s largest economy, with $5.7 billion in sales each year. And the strength of this industry isn’t just from a few behemoths: our state has over 63,000 farms, growing a wide range of produce. My personal favorite is Kennet Square, the mushroom capital of the world and home to the annual Mushroom Festival.

What is most exciting is that so many grassroots groups and food advocacy organizations are involved. Highly respected Pennsylvania organizations like Rodale Institute, Greensgrow Farm, Swarthmore Food Co-op and Weavers Way Food Co-op are working with us on the campaign for statewide labeling. This past weekend was a great example of the strength of Pennsylvania’s movement to label GE food. Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) invited us to speak at their annual Future of Farming Conference, a gathering of farmers, consumers and advocates all working to make our food system sustainable. We led a workshop on the effects of fracking on the food system, but I spent most of the conference working with our coalition partners at GMO-Free PA, signing 50 farmers onto our new coalition to label GE food in Pennsylvania.

On March 12, Food & Water Watch, GMO-Free PA, PASA and many of the farmers and consumers we spoke to at this past weekend’s conference will converge on Harrisburg to support the introduction of a bill to label GE foods by Senator Daylin Leach. We’re anticipating a great turn out, but we’re going to need as many coalition partners and concerned citizens as possible to join us in lobby our legislators to cosponsor the legislation. “Like” us on Facebook for more information and to get involved: http://www.facebook.com/FWW.PA

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