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GMO Free NJ: a Movement Blooms in Collingswood

Do you share our vision of world without genetically modified foods? Come meet our upbeat group, GMO Free NJ.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Genetically Engineered (GE) foods, Frankenfoods: these are scary-sounding terms that aptly sum up my feelings about food biotechnology. In fact, I used to want to run to the hills when thinking about GMO ingredients lurking in my family’s favorite foods.

My opposition to GMO foods is long-standing. It is rooted in my environmental concerns about these agricultural technologies, health concerns, and my core beliefs about farming. Completely avoiding the big three GMO crops—soy, corn, and canola—is difficult.

It is easy to become discouraged, apathetic, or just plain confused amid the labeling controversy and claims made by various sellers of natural food products and the fact that so many people around you don’t seem to know or care about GMO foods.

Thankfully GMO Free NJ has come to the rescue! A pair of Collingswood mothers started this wonderful, upbeat group to raise awareness about GMOs and provide mutual support for those of us seeking change.

My first contact with GMO Free NJ occurred at the Collingswood Green Fest last spring. They were giving out handmade bookmarks with simple steps people can take to reduce their consumption of GMO foods. On the back of the bookmarks is the famous Margaret Mead quote which captures the ethos of the group:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

I was excited to become a part of the group. GMO Free NJ actively seeks to engage people of all ages, including children, and for us all to learn more about the food we eat, together. All the group’s activities are family-friendly, and meetings typically include a documentary, snacks, and thoughtful discussion.

In the spirit of mutual collaboration and community-building, an active GMO Free NJ Facebook page is updated daily with ideas for avoiding GMO foods, updates on national GMO issues, and how we might take action within our community and lives. It’s refreshing to be a part of a group with such a positive outlook.

GMO Free NJ is currently working to support the passage of Proposition 37, a referendum that would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients, in California this November.

Proposition 37 is important because it will make visible which food products contain genetically modified ingredients. Stronger labeling in California will most likely lead to stronger labeling throughout the United States, as it would be too costly for food companies individually to label their products.

GMO Free NJ has also partnered with environmental group Food and Water Watch to urge our own state legislators to take action on labeling GMO foods. We are requesting NJ state legislators to draft a bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods sold within New Jersey.

Last Saturday, members of GMO Free NJ convened at Knight Park to take a picture that will be used in a video project to show Californians that people across the nation support their passage of Proposition 37. We reached out to families at the playground to tell them what we were doing and give them an opportunity to get involved. Some chose to be in our picture!

We also worked on a video project that will explore one thing we are each doing to be free of genetically modified foods. We are encouraging people to call friends and/or relatives in California to ask for their “Yes” vote on Proposition 37.

To learn more about GMO Free NJ and get involved, please join us at the Collingswood Public Library at one of our fall meetings:

  • Thursday, September 18 at 7 p.m. we will be screening the short film Deconstructing Supper.
  • Thursday, October 18 at 7 p.m., we will hear about a new GMO documentary project from filmmaker Zofia Hausman with a question-and-answer session to follow.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sue Cosgrove September 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM
They also have a very informative website with links to research,shopping guides, actionable items and NJ legislative contacts: http://gmofreenj.com/
Joan McDaniel September 19, 2012 at 04:50 PM
This is great. I signed up to follow the Website. I am glad to find someone else fighting this GMO. Joan McDaniel http://coconutcreamcare.com My latest article on Canola Oil a GMO Exactly, What is Canola Oil? http://coconutcreamcare.com/2012/09/17/exactly-what-is-canola-oil/
Allie Burger September 19, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Thanks Joan! We hope you can join us at an upcoming meeting or event.
Joan McDaniel September 21, 2012 at 02:54 AM
I just got this. Can't attend any meetings I hope you see this. Hot Off the Press: Rats Fed GMO Corn Die Young What happens when rats are fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s GMO corn, or exposed to Monsanto’s top-selling weedkiller, Roundup? It’s not pretty. Tumors. Kidney damage. Liver damage. In a study released yesterday - the first-ever long-term study of its kind - French scientists reported that rats fed a diet containing the herbicide-tolerant GM maize, or given water containing Roundup in amounts considered safe in drinking water and GM crops in the US, died sooner than the rats fed just the standard diet. Will this be enough to make the FDA start conducting independent testing of GMO’s - before allowing these products into our food supply? Or will the FDA continue to pander to Monsanto and tell us that GMO products are ‘not substantially different' than non-GMO products? Clink link to continue http://coconutcreamcare.com/2012/09/20/rats-fed-gmo-corn-die-young/
Floyd L Cranmer Jr. January 28, 2013 at 12:17 AM
I was very please to see that the Courier-Post finally had the gumption to publish (Jan 27th), on the first page no less, an article about the concerns that many of us have about GMOs and the need for labeling. The media has avoided this subject with a ten foot pole. We all now have to push our legislators to get the bill that has is sitting in the house to label GMOs, to be acted upon and approved. We have been putting up with an endless barrage of lies from Monsanto et al for much too long. Floyd L Cranmer Jr. jerseyfarmer@newsvine.com
Floyd L Cranmer Jr. January 28, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Glad to finally see some interest in this vitally important subject
Allie Burger January 28, 2013 at 01:23 AM
I completely agree, Floyd! It is exciting to see this issue become more apparent. Front page coverage is exactly what is needed.
Danielle A. Stanley March 11, 2013 at 06:38 PM
we showed up at the Trenton annex for a meeting regarding bill 1367 which was announced on radio by Barbara Thomas. the meeting was cancelled. please make it easier to have GMO Free NJ EVENTS updated.
Judy theisen May 29, 2013 at 12:20 PM
I have found three apps for your cell phone that helps with identifiing foods with gmo's and companies that have donated to no on prop 37. They are nogmo fooducate and buycott.

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