7.5 Million +2 Campaign: A Grassroots Movement & the Caravan for Our Right to Know about GMOs
Leslie Goldman, Your Enchanted Gardener, is a San Diego community activist who cultivates food justice and safety through his Plant Your Dream blog, growing food himself, and supporting organic and local farmers. He has had more than 5.3 million page views on Curezone.com, and is committed to winning The Right to Know—Label GMOs Prop 37 on the ballot in November in California. He was given a U.N. Peace Medal for his life’s work in 1984 by Robert Muller, then Assistant Undersecretary General.
The 7.5 Million + 2 Petition is designed to help raise awareness that more than 7.5 million people are committed to vote for Prop 37— the Right to Know-Label GMOs Proposition.
‘Grow a Healthier Pizza!’ is my rallying cry to pass Prop 37. This September 1-10, I will begin a ten-day Caravan to The 2nd Annual Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, held Sep. 11-13. That event falls about two months before the November 6 election. The Caravan is the first leg of the Journey to win back our sacred seeds. I believe we are all sacred seeds as healthy food grow from heirloom seeds. The Caravan will continue to gain signatures for the 7.5 Million + 2 Petition on Change.org. I see the movement to label GMOs—genetically modified organisms), as the ballot initiative that creates the greatest grass roots movement in California history.
“It will take a majority of those who vote Nov. 6 to win this,” said Pamm Larry, the grandmother who started the Label GMOs Campaign. She was one of the early signers of the 7.5 Million + 2 Petition. A majority of those who voted in the 2008 California General Election is close to 7.5 million. The petition aims to make sure we have the votes we need before Election Day. I am asking for people to take the ‘1 Action a Day Pledge’ on the label GMOs site, and for others to help the campaign by seeking out official endorsements from organizations and individuals with circles of influence.
My contribution will be to plant seeds for the victory, do ceremony work, and through the Plant Your Dream Blog, write about Sacred Seeds who are contributing so much to this needed food reform.
The entire nation and world is looking to California to pass this ballot initiative. There are equal forces that will spend millions to distract from the key issue. This is a consumer rights issue—the right to know what is in the food we eat and that includes GMOs. The rally cry for the campaign behind the 7.5 Million + 2 Petition became Grow a Healthier Pizza!, as a response to the events in Washington last November when including two tablespoons of tomato sauce in pizza defined pizza as a vegetable.
The forward to the petition says, “If commercial interests have convinced Congress—to do business as usual—and that profits are more important than our children having improved lunches in schools, if Congress has now said that a few tablespoons of tomato sauce define pizza as a vegetable, then we, as conscious consumers will Grow a Healthier Pizza through the action of this petition.” The Petition goes on, “Millions of Californians are, without their knowledge, eating GMOs every day. GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms. They have been in our food for a number of decades. Somebody thought it was okay to include GMOs in the daily foods we eat, but did not take the time to ask us if we wanted them there.”
Nearly 50 nations of the world have the integrity to give their people choice to know if they are eating GMOs in their corn, soy, and a host of other foods, but not in the US. Since the FDAs beginnings in 1906, commercial interests have placed profits over health and heavily influenced our food supply. I will teach the Grow a Healthier Pizza workshops at the National Heirloom Expo and on route from Sep. 1-10.
This theme came from a convergence of ingredients. My work is called Plant Your Dream. I discovered many years ago that when we plant a seed, we can grow a whole new world. I am growing kamut ®, Khorasan ancient wheat, to plant intentions with seeds. This ancient grain makes a healthier pizza and Challah bread. Baker Creek, the creators of the National Heirloom Expo, have donated 160,000 packets of San Marzano Non GMO Tomato Seeds to the Label GMO Campaign. San Marzano is a topping for pizza sauce. Next thing I knew I was growing tomatoes for pizza sauce, growing grains to show how fast a dream can grow, and grinding seeds into pizza flour with kids and adults, so the ‘Grow the Healthier Pizza’ was born. The aim is to inspire every one to use locally grown non-GMO vegetables, and have the experience of growing some of your own food.
The National Heirloom Expo
The National Heirloom Exposition, Sep. 11-13 in Santa Rosa is one of the most exciting events in heirloom seed history, an event centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism. The first event held last September drew more than 10,000 people from around the country and the world. More are expected this year. The Heirloom Expo has gained incredible interest among home growers, farmers, school groups and the general public–so much so that it is being called the “World’s Fair” of the heirloom industry! It is a not-to-be-missed event that has monumental importance as a rallying point for Prop 37.
Among the speakers are Carlo Petrini, head of the international Slow Food Movement; Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumer Association; and Jeffrey Smith, one of America’s leading experts on the subject of genetically modified food. The program is filled with speakers at the international and national level all supporting California to label foods containing GMOs.’ Percy Schmeiser, whose canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready—and was sued by Monsanto—will be there; and so will Andrew Kimbrell, one of the country’s leading environmental attorneys, of The Center for Food Safety.
Inspiration Behind the Caravan
One personal inspiration behind the Caravan is Harvey W. Wiley, M.D., who has been called the father of the FDA. Dr. Wiley had a vision for a pure food law and an FDA that would enforce healthy food. The Pure Food and Drug Law passed Congress in 1906, but enforcement was blocked by special interests. If it had been enforced it would have prevented many of our conditions of obesity and ailments. Dr. Wiley’s law prevented adulteration and misbranding of foods. Food reform was the rally cry back then. Today, through the passage of Prop 37, we can have food reform and join nearly 50 other nations who already label GMOs.
The largest experiment ever?
Dr. Wiley had a “Poison Squad.” People were paid to test questionable products, many of which are still in our foods today. Many lawsuits followed and many were blocked. Dr. Wiley went after Coca-Cola, but lost. The campaign for Prop 37 states, “Today, in the United States, by the simple act of feeding ourselves we unknowingly participate in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings.”
The campaign literature reads: “Before being added to our food supply in the 1990s, genetically engineered food (GE or GMO) had no independent research done on the long term multigenerational effects on human beings.” Other voices attest that GMOs may be harmful to health. We simple do not know for sure. In 1929, Dr. Wiley wrote a book called “Crimes against the Pure Food Law.” There he stated that the National Food and Drugs Law, which intended to protect the health of the people, and was “perverted to protect adulteration of foods and drugs.” In time the book disappeared from most libraries, but appears online today. The book clearly points out the damaging effects of many of the food processes we still have now. seleneriverpress.com/archive-articles/377Dr.
Wiley resigned in 1912. His resignation created hundreds of editorial comments. One cartoon reprinted in his book shows Dr. Wiley with Uncle Sam. An empty pair of shoes sit on the floor. The cartoonist said, “If the people exhibited the same persistence in looking after their interests that illegitimate business displays in looking after its interests, the things of which we complain would soon be brought to an end, and prosperity, like a tidal wave, would flood the land.” —The Rocky Mountain News, March 21, 1912. Dr. Wiley went on to work for Good Housekeepingmagazine. He created the Good Housekeeping Seal. His spirit is surely smiling on the Label GMOs Campaign.
Dr. Wiley once filled Uncle Sam’s shoes. Today, I feel we all need to fill the shoes of Uncle Sam. We can’t look to Congress to grapple with the facts. The work of Dr. Wiley continues. We are each Sacred Seeds. It’s time to Plant Your Dream. We need heirloom seeds, and a new day where we grow more of our own food and support more local agriculture.
Sign the 7.5 Million+2 Petition
Please sign the 7.5 Million + 2 Petition to help us raise awareness that we need more than 7.5 million people who are committed to vote for Proposition 37—“The Right to Know—Label GMOs” on the November Ballot.