In the past couple of weeks, we’ve reported on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s disturbing acquiescence to Monsanto; the agency announced that it would grant non-regulated status for alfalfa that has been genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s commercial herbicide known as Roundup, and defied a court order prohibiting planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets until a proper study of their environmental impact could be done. This trend is disturbing, but there’s plenty we can do. Today in a great post on Grist, Robynn Shrader, chief executive of the National Cooperative Grocers Association, gave us “Four Things You Can Do to Defend Organic against the GMO Alfalfa Threat.”
“Last month's decision by the USDA to fully deregulate GE alfalfa isn't just a minor skirmish in a long and exhausting battle,” Shrader writes. “It threatens the existence of organic farming and organic food, and flies in the face of USDA's mandate from Congress under the Organic Foods Production Act to promote and preserve organic agriculture.” Sustainable agriculture advocates including National Cooperative Grocers Association, Organic Valley, Stonyfield, and organic champion Maria Rodale are calling for organizations to "stand together in opposition to GE alfalfa," she adds. “The USDA's decision last week was a tremendous setback, but the fight is far from over.”
Here's what Shrader urges each of us to do today to take action on this issue:
- Let the White House know that organic food has a right to exist and thrive, and that you do not support the deregulation of GE alfalfa or any crop, by signing this petition.
- Support organizations like the Center for Food Safety (CFS) as they raise funds for legal action against the USDA's deregulation of GE alfalfa.
- Continue to support the farms and processors that bring us organics. Increasing our market power gives us greater impact in Washington and throughout the nation.
- Continue to demand that the USDA and Congress protect farmers and consumers from the risks of GE crops, products, and ingredients. Check out the seven-point plan National Organic Coalition created to provide clarity and focus for the organic movement on this issue.
Never underestimate the power of the vigilante consumer.