2014 24.1 The 51%—Grow Your market : Denise Swafford Makes Organic Applesauce From I-522 Bruised Apple Election Results

Recently I-522 was defeated by the voters of Washington.  Some consider it a crushing blow to the non-GMO movement.  Being that farmers are resilient by nature and very capable of adapting to change we need to make something positive out of this.  Just because the apples we have been handed aren’t so pretty doesn’t mean we can’t make something amazing with them.

First of all, more of the general public are now aware that GMOs are in our food supply. Hopefully, they now have also become more aware of the dangers and the lack of publicized research in the United States when it comes to GMO foods—as well as the need to demand more regulations for the agro-chemical companies and bio-tech firms who produce the GMOs.

Perhaps most importantly, the voters—at least the ones who did vote—made the race relatively close.  So what does that mean?  It means that Washington state contains a large amount of people who want to know what is in their food and want to make the choice about putting GMOs on their plate—or not. The results from this recent vote also mean a chance to expand our market.  Much of Washington may still not know that organic means non-GMO. They need us to educate them.

Approximately 49% of the state wants GMO labeling—whether they understand all of the details or not, they want the choice.  Rather than be disgruntled by legislation not covering what we want in the food industry, let’s spin this into a positive for the farmer. Let’s focus on connecting those consumers with the products we provide.  We are all aware that with one taste of our high-quality products, many consumers will be back as regular repeat customers.

Those involved in promoting GMOs are driven by one thing—money.  Removing more and more money from agro-chem pockets, and converting the customer base is the only way to truly win this war.

I suggest we roll up our sleeves, continue to provide amazing food, and continue to take that market share away from the bio-tech firms and their respective corporate farms. Educate this new and expanding market—and change the dynamics from the ground up.

Organic was a grassroots effort—we pioneered our way out of specialty stores into main stream markets. Let’s do the same and work to force GMOs out of the marketplace, not by legislation—but by starving the GMO industry of its true desire….money.

Denise Swafford of Palmer Farms in Enumclaw is one of Tilth’s newest Board members. denise@suburbanfarmer.org
We welcome your perspective on food and farming-related issues as well as your ideas for future Journal articles and themes. editor@tilthproducers.org

Tags: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), GMO Labeling, I-522

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