On Saturday Sept. 10th, 2011 we kicked off Non-GMO month early by holding our first Right to Know - Ohio event with nationally renowned keynote speakers Jeffrey M. Smith & Robyn OʼBrien on the topic of GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
The event was a success with approximately 300 people in attendance and many of those representing major groups like the Weston A Price Foundation, the OCA (Organic Consumerʼs Association), Millions Against Monsanto, Eden Foods, Organic Valley, the Non-GMO Project, Small Farm Institute and many, many more.
When we set out on this adventure, we knew it would be an uphill battle. This is a subject that is not often talked about, and most certainly not understood by a huge majority of people in Ohio. There are lots of people that just plain donʼt even want to know. They are already facing enough of a battle on a daily basis for survival.
Then there are the farmers whose families have been feeding us for generations. How do we bring this message to the people without hurting them?
There were so many dynamics involved in setting up this event that I was completely unprepared to face. There was even a point where I said I canʼt do this. The thought of hurting one person was terrifying to me. But then I realized how many people have already unknowingly been affected by these foods and I knew that the message must be shared.
So I moved forward “afraid.” Do it “afraid” was a phrase that I had just heard during my training to be a certified trainer and coach through the John C. Maxwell team. Those were words that I heard over and over in my head every single day. It reminded me that no one is born knowing how to do something and at times we must step out in faith without having all of the answers. So we did just that, and no matter what obstacles that we faced, we had a greater belief in the message that we were sharing. Everyday we worked hard and everyday we heard the words “no I donʼt want to get involved” many times. But now that we have our first successful event under our belt, next years event will be even more successful.
I have already received emails from 3 separate groups that are putting on events in Ohio because of the information that they learned at our event. To me, that is HUGE success and we know itʼs just the beginning.
For those of you that may not yet have heard “October” is Non-GMO month. The Non- GMO Project has over 800 natural health food retailers across the U.S. enrolled and signed up to educate their customers on GMOs. Many of these retailers will be offering specials on Non-GMO Project Verified products throughout the month. We encourage you to get involved. Visit www.nongmoproject.org for a complete listing of Non-GMO Project Verified products, participating retailers and sign their Non-GMO Pledge. You can also stay up to date with the latest news by joining them on the Non GMO Project Facebook Page.
In our household we have made a concerted effort over the last year to avoid foods containing GMOs. As you can imagine we are well educated on this subject and have discovered how hard it truly is to avoid GMOs. The biggest problem we face is that many companies make the claim, but have no 3rd party verification. As you become educated on this topic, you will realize that the only way to really ensure you are avoiding GMOs is through 3rd party verification organizations such as the Non-GMO Project, growing your own food, or finding certified organic farmers that you know and trust their farming practices.
Remember that the government currently does no testing on Certified Organic farms for GMOs.
With October right around the corner, we are stepping up our efforts and making a commitment for 31 days to do our best to 100% avoid GMOs. Itʼs not going to be easy but there is one thing I know for sure. Doing so this year will be much easier then it was last year. Hopefully by next October, laws will be passed for mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs. Once that happens, people will truly have the right to choose. Till then, it takes a lot of hard investigative work to know which foods are safe. But itʼs worth the effort.
Throughout the month of October, we will be posting a listing of events, articles and blogs on our FB page all relating to Non-GMO month complete with photos and stories from our own event.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy Non-GMO month!
Peace & Blessings,
Joy Schrock President - Berlin Natural Bakery