A fellow Davis Co-op loyalist alarmed me recently, posting that the Co-op was refusing to allow pro-Proposition 37 lawn signs. Prop 37 would require labeling on genetically modified food, and it seemed quite odd that the Co-Op had allowed Prop 37 petitioners to pester shoppers at the front door for weeks last spring, but then didn’t want to post the signs.
I happily signed that petition, and am happily supporting Proposition 37, because I will not knowingly purchase or consume genetically modified food. Key word: “knowingly.” The corporate food industry doesn’t want us to know when there are “genetically modified organisms” or “GMOs” in our food. Why? Simple: We won’t buy it.
My concern about GMO foods extends beyond my own personal health choices. GMO seeds and plants impact the environment in myriad ways. Plants, pollinators, insects, things that eat insects, things that eat things that eat insects — all these things are in delicate balance. Disrupt one link, and the rest of the chain rattles. I don’t want to help finance environmental disruption when I shop.
Beyond these concerns, the fact that Monsanto is one of the two largest financial backers of “No on 37” (the other is DuPont) is reason enough for me to vote “Yes.” Monsanto is one of the great corporate devils, and I don’t want to help finance Beelzebub either.
Why do I despise Monsanto? Go Google “Monsanto Global Food Supply” and be horrified. Is it worth paying an extra quarter for lettuce to stop feeding the monster? You better believe it.
I first became alerted to Monsanto’s impact on our food supply when I noticed that yellow corn on the cob had all but disappeared from the grocery store. All that’s left is that horrid, sweet, insipid white corn. So, you buy the white stuff because that’s all there is, and unless it came from an organic, local grower, chances are it’s genetically modified, because 90 percent of the U.S. corn crop is bioengineered. (Google that too.)
So what, you just won’t eat corn.
Oh, yes you will.
Start reading labels. Corn, corn syrup and corn byproducts are in everything. Corn is a main ingredient in livestock feed. The animals eat GMO corn and we in turn eat their meat and milk. You’re probably eating GMO food all over the place, right now, and don’t even know it. Doesn’t that piss you off, even a little? Wouldn’t you at least like the option to consume it or not? That’s what Proposition 37 is all about: the consumer’s power — and right — to choose.
The corporate-funded researchers will insist that GMO food is safe. They’re about as credible as the Big Tobacco-funded researchers who say cigarettes aren’t addictive. I don’t buy it. Literally. I simply don’t purchase it. This is still America, people, and last time I checked, I have the right to purchase what I want, and that’s hard to do when Big Food can hide what’s inside.
Yikes. I’m getting off track here. Once I start kicking Monsanto, it’s hard to stop.
Back to that Facebook post. My friend was so upset by the Co-op’s perceived hypocrisy, she was considering a boycott. I panicked. I simply adore the Co-op, and don’t want anything to threaten it. It’s my therapy. A trip through the Co-op boosts your self-esteem like nothing else: “Do I deserve this $10 jar of organic almond butter? Why, yes, I absolutely do.” By the time you gather up all the other stuff you absolutely deserve, you’ll feel better than if you’d spent an hour with your psychotherapist. And, it’ll cost about the same.
If you’re lucky.
A few bars of organic dark chocolate here, some goji berries there, some sustainably grown coffee, and ooh, triple cream brie and garlic-stuffed olives, some free-range chicken, and kombucha – gotta stock up on kombucha — and you’ll blow right past what a therapist charges. But you’ll have a bag of goodies to show for it! A whole bag!
Hey, I didn’t say the Co-op was cheap. I said it feels good to shop there.
Ixnay on the boycottay, people.
That said, I’d prefer to see GMO labels on my food while shopping there so I can spot — and avoid — the Frankenfood. As for the labels themselves, how about a skull and crossbones. With radiation symbols in its dead, empty eye sockets. That should get the point across.
“Oh, but those labels,” yelp the “No on 37” folks. “They’ll cost a fortune!”
Did it cost us a fortune when they started printing those little white and green “USDA organic” labels on things? No. And neither will the GMO labels.
The “No” camp is also fanning financial fear by pointing out that the proposition allows individuals to sue food producers if their products are fraudulently packaged. Here’s a big, fat “so what” to that. Talk about diversion tactics. They’re placing blame on the plaintiffs rather than on the corporate-backed food processors trying to skirt the law. Don’t want to spend fortunes on lawsuits? Then obey the law.
Dang. Nearly out of column space, and I still didn’t get to the story I set out to tell, about the Co-op’s response to my friend’s post, explaining that one — one — person objected to the signs because they made her feel “unwelcome.” Oh boo hoo — pull up your big girl panties, stop your sniveling, and get your free-range butt inside and buy some mung beans and agave nectar.
It was going to be a great column about how when anyone sniffs, “I’m offended,” Davis folks start scrambling to console that hypersenstitive whiner rather than just telling her/him to suck it up and deal with it. Sadly, I got so damn furious thinking about Monsanto’s cancerous tentacles stretching into the global food supply that I got totally off track.
The hypersensitive whiner column will have to wait. For now, just vote yes on Proposition 37. Kicking Monsanto in the shins feels great.
— Email Debra DeAngelo, winner of the 2012 Best Serious Column award in the National Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, at firstname.lastname@example.org; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.edebra.com