WASHINGTON – July 25, 2011 A coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals announced today a bold mobilization plan to raise awareness and pressure the government about the lack of labeling of Genetically Engineered foods people unknowingly consume. Such foods are also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs.” The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, D.C., October 1-16 as thousands of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles from the United Nations’ Headquarters to the White House. The marchers are looking for support from communities along the route which can be viewed at Right2KnowMarch.org.
“Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union. ”Genetically engineered foods can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join kick off of the March on October 1 at the United Nations in New York.
The March will rally in a broad swath of East Coast cities and towns including:
- New York: Brooklyn, New York City
- New Jersey: Jersey City, Newark, Millburn, Union, Springfield, Scotch Plains, New Brunswick, Princeton
- Pennsylvania: Morrisville, Trevose, Jenkintown, Philadelphia, Springfield
- Delaware: Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark
- Maryland: Darlington, Monkton, Timonium, Baltimore, Elicott City, Jessup, Laurel, College Park, Takoma Park, and
- Washington, D.C.
Early supporting organizations include the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), Non-GMO Project, Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now, National Co-operative Grocer Association, Organic Trade Association, The Organic Center, the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA), Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of NY. Business sponsors include [alphabetical] Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Kamut International, Nutiva, Nature’s Path Foods, Inc., Organic Valley, Rapunzel, Stonyfield Farm, and United Natural Foods Inc.
“While most Americans agree we have a right to know what is in our food, the federal government has resisted labeling genetically engineered food for over a decade,” says Right2Know March organizer Katherine DiMatteo, President of IFOAM. “It’s time to demand that the government be responsible to its citizens and enact mandatory labeling of GMOs instead of pretending that GMO crops are the same as traditional crops.”
In New York, Washington, D.C. and along the route, advocates, farmers and business leaders including Vandana Shiva, Percy and Louis Schmeiser, Andrew Kimbrell, Frances Moore Lappe ,Anna Lappe, Sara Snow, Dr. Alan Greene, Joseph Wilhelm, Michael Funk, Megan Westgate, David Bronner, Ashley Koff, RD and many others are expected to join in the coming months to speak out for GMO Labeling and to inspire citizens to take action to protect themselves and the future of farming.
“After 30 years and billions of dollars in research, only two principal traits have been successfully developed: weed killer tolerance and insecticide production. Despite industry promises, there are no GMO traits currently on the market for increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other humanitarian or environmental benefit,” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project, fiscal sponsor of the Right2Know March. “Americans should have the right to opt out of this experiment, and this march is about standing up and demanding that freedom.”
“As long as there is great uncertainly about the long term effects of GMO on the environment and upon tikkun olum~justice issues that arise from the right of communities to access their own seeds, plants and land, a right currently challenged by many food corporations, the use of GMO food products should be questioned. People who view GMO food products as muktzeh~out of bounds for eco-kosher use, have a right to know which products contain GMO. GMO ingredients should appear on food labels,” says Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomeret Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence at The Community of Living Traditions.
The Right2Know march will be joined by the Sustainable Living Road Show and the Compass Green Mobile Greenhouse Project. Marchers will have a chance to bathe in the ALL-ONE Ark, Dr. Bronner’s “Interblastive Foam Experience!” and eat organic, non-GMO food provided to marchers for a small fee.
Members of the media are encouraged to follow the entire organizing effort and report on our progress. Please sign up for email alerts through our website or call Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 to arrange interviews or for in person requests.
Members of the public should call the Right2Know March Hotline: 202.557.5164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.