Skip to main content

Make Them Label Your Food!

Please be advised: This man is no farmer.

He is a soothsayer. Please read his tissue of lies (not only thin, but intricately woven).

Tuesday, Nov. 6, was a great day to be a Californian. On that day a lot of my fellow Californians proved they can think for themselves, and they were not fooled. They rejected Proposition 37, a measure that would have mandated that foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — dubbed “Frankenfoods” by fear-mongering fanatics — be labeled.

The measure was misguided on many levels, as most Americans have regularly consumed GMOs in the form of soybeans and corn for many years with no associated health problems. Many doctors found the proposed legislation so disturbing that the American Medical Association took the extraordinary step of releasing a statement declaring that the labeling of foods containing GMOs is completely unnecessary. That didn’t prevent supporters of the measure from continually warning about the supposed dangers of GMOs, and through the summer and early fall the measure was leading the polls.

But in the end, my fellow Californians weren’t buying the specious arguments, and many Democrats rejected their party’s position on the issue. While President Barack Obama came in with 59% of the state’s popular vote, outdistancing Mitt Romney by a full 20 percentage points, Prop 37 was defeated, 53% to 47%.

Predictably, supporters claimed that opponents bought the victory by raising $45 million and outspending the supporters by over a 5-to-1 margin. But with most of the state’s 17.3 million registered voters having little or no knowledge of GMOs, the opponents had to give a crash course via TV, and that isn’t cheap. Among the ag companies who deserve kudos for their large donations: Monsanto, $8.1 million; DuPont, $5.4 million; as well as BASF, Bayer, Dow, and Syngenta, each with $2 million.
Battle Is Far From Over
While a lot of trends do start here in California, not a lot end here, and such is likely the case with the anti-GMO movement. Just a few days after the election a new coalition, GMO Inside, was formed. They sent out a press release denouncing the millions spent on anti-Prop 37 efforts by major corporations.

They claimed Prop 37 opponents misled voters by saying the law would have raised families’ food bills. Misleading? Do they really expect me to believe food companies were just going to eat the costs of changing the labels themselves? No, and I’m not planning on buying the Golden Gate Bridge, either.

The press release goes on to say Prop 37 opponents “can’t change the fact that over 90% of Americans support the labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients.” Really? If that were true, a quick calculation shows pretty much all the people who make up that remaining 9% or less must hail from here in California. Seriously, this group vows to take “the energy from the fight for Prop 37 to the next level.” So be prepared America, but take heart in the Golden State victory, where sound science won the day.
David Eddy is Senior Western Editor of American Vegetable Grower. 

My response: 

Dear Mr. Eddy, 

In regard to your tissue of lies:

"But with most of the state’s 17.3 million registered voters having little or no knowledge of GMOs, the opponents had to give a crash course via TV, and that isn’t cheap."

If you and your ilk were really concerned with educating citizens, simply follow Bloom's Taxonomy: Learning begins with knowledge, knowledge begins with terminology and simple facts. By hiding simple facts in mass unknown quantities, true inquiry can never develop.

Of course, you know this, and of course, you are right: you and yours will lose this battle, just like cigarette companies, DDT manufacturers, and every other money loving soothsaying propaganda machine. 

And a good day to you, with more restraint than you know, 

Kogen, Dirt Farming Monk

And this is after I sat zazen, chanted Buddha's name, and ate an oryoki breakfast!


  1. It just sucks because no one seems to acknowledge the environmental impact that GMOs have on everything and everyone else. Fine you want to cite research that says GMOs are not bad for the body, you can believe it if you want BUT monocropping with annually self-destructing seeds is good for NO ONE except Monsanto's bottom line. How can people not be terrified by the company that brought us Agent Orange and DDT??! Open your eyes people (while you still have them).

  2. That was a remarkable restraint, Kogen. They will fall eventually- thank goodness.

  3. Seriously, I sometimes think people just want something to oppose. To my knowledge, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that consuming genetically modified products is in any way harmful or unsafe. Unfortunately, some people are undeterred by facts...

  4. Spldbch,

    They're not harmful as far as we can see. However, they narrow biodiversity for which allows for weaker immune systems (amongst plants and animals), which invites epidemics, like made cow, swine flu, etc.

    Plants are not different from humans...the more you inbreed them, the more they will collapse.

    Next, there is nothing worse for our planet than genetically modified crops which come with petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides. Aggribiz is poisoning our land, air, and water.

    I'm sorry for my opposition. I'm regretting this post for weeks now. Harmonizing would be better. These farmers who own huge conventional opperations are more slave than master. Most of them don't make a profit, and wouldn't survive without government subsidy.

    Deep bow,


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…

Goodbye Green Gulch Sama! Hello Tassajara!

About two years ago I left Mid City Zen in New Orleans. I feared I was leaving something, and now I'm about to leave Green Gulch and that same fear has arisen. I imagined there was wealth, a sort of freedom, and a lot to "renounce."  I had a car (a fast one!), a playstation 3, many books, many articles of clothing, and as I look around our little cabin, that same perception has arisen- I have too much stuff! And I like it!

My book collection that I sold or gave away in New Orleans has somehow manifested out here. And I have quite the collection of farm hats and farm boots. Rubber ones, Redwings, Ropers, Bogs to the ankle, Bogs to the knee, a navy seal Solomon for the wet spring weather. Most of them are fit to throw away, glued back together and stitched with fishing line, and just so smelly, so smelly my wife won't let me keep them in the cabin, so I hide them all around Green Gulch.

So I started packing, and while that fear of renunciation has arisen, it's not …

Vows and Compass

Being in new Orleans reminds me that my way seeking mind ripened here. Maybe it was the level of maturity my father's recovery actualized. Maybe it was the Ben Wren book I found at Beaucoup Books on my lunch break. Maybe it was my step mom's copy of things fall apart by Pema Chodron sitting in the bathroom.

Later I would witness the host of suffering post-katrina offered to a young public school teacher. How could I help? I took my first set of vows not really knowing where they would lead, like the old black metal compass my dad put in my Christmas stocking when I was about ten. Beautiful to hold, difficult to understand.

Now, years later, I feel a bit subdued as form,sensation, perception, impulse, and thought tag everything, beckoning some purchase for the price of belief. I'm home, but a home leaver. People wonder when I'll move back and being a home leaver means being ready to leave home again and again, which could mean coming back.

How will I actually engage all…