GMO Labeling Victory!
I am SO excited and proud to share this wonderful news. As you may have heard from the great press we have been getting, on April 23 the Vermont legislature passed the nation’s first “no strings attached” GMO labeling bill! The House of Representatives voted 114 to 30 to concur with the Senate’s version of H.112. The Senate voted 28-2 earlier in the month. This is a huge victory for consumers everywhere!
H.112 will require labels on GMO foods starting in 2016, and would go in to effect without actions in other states. The bill will also prohibit the use of the word ‘natural’ (or similar phrases) to be placed on any foods that have been genetically engineered. We could not have asked for a better outcome.This campaign has been energizing and inspiring to all of us who have worked to label GMO foods. The nation is watching what we are doing here, and it is all because citizens stood up repeatedly and made it clear they have a right to know what is in their food.
On Thursday May 8th at 2:30 Governor Shumlin plans to sign H.112 into law on the steps of the State House. We hope that you will bring your friends, family and a picnic lunch and join us in Montpelier for this historic moment!
We’ve been working on this issue for 20 years and on this particular piece of legislation since 2012 when Cedar Circle Farm’s Will Allen pulled together four groups to form the VT Right to Know Coalition to work on passing a labeling bill. Together we crafted a bill, a legislative and grassroots outreach plan, a series of educational forums, workshops and films, and learned through thick and thin that cooperation is hard work and well worth the effort. I like to think that right now Vermont is a microcosm of the grassroots energy and effort that we need on a national scale.
Those four groups — Cedar Circle Farm, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) and Rural Vermont each brought a diverse skill set and membership and grassroots connections that reach every corner of the state. Additionally, the Environmental and Natural Resources Clinic at Vermont Law School (ENRLC) provided incredible legal guidance and we had active support from dozens of organizations and businesses in and out of Vermont. (See the list of supporters here). To guide us through the critical final leg of the campaign we hired Action Circles, a great lobbying organization that works on progressive, agriculture-related bills in Montpelier.
For those of us who have spent the past couple years working on this campaign, now is the time to come together and celebrate our victory! Everyone is invited to the bill signing on May 8 and we can’t wait to see you there! Look for an email in the coming week from VT Right to Know for more information and the possible rain location. If you’re not on the VT Right to Know list, email me and I can give you the details.
It has been an honor and an amazing learning experience for me to be a part of the VT Right to Know Coalition. I am inspired by the enthusiasm that Vermonters of all ages have when it comes to protecting their food and the environment. We are an articulate and intelligent population. I am very proud to be a member of this community. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this incredible campaign, and also to our supporters across the river in New Hampshire – you ALL helped make history!
Hope to see you on May 8 in Montpelier and down on the farm in East Thetford!
By the way, if you happen to be in Missouri this weekend, Will is speaking at the Annual Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival. It’s a pretty big deal, check it out.