GMO Free California began in 2011 as LabelGMOs.org. We were a grassroots campaign of 92 communities around the state to label GMOs by ballot initiative. We gathered almost 1Million signatures for the ballot, had huge support, but then lost that battle due to $45M spent by Multinational Agribusiness Chemical companies.
But great good came out of our hard work on the ground. We ignited a nationwide movement that eventually got good labeling laws in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont. Vermont was slated to go into effect last June. However large multinational chemical companies wanted a national law. Their $Millions invested in lobbyists convinced the big corporate-run Organic Trade Association to abandon real GMO labeling to protect their market share (organics are supposed to be nonGMO). The legislators that had been holding strong caved because “our side” supported the joke of a labeling bill which we dubbed “The DARK Act” (Deny Americans the Right to Know).
But even though we have not gotten the law we wanted, we have moved the market. NonGMO Project verification is the fastest growing label in food production. Demand for NonGMO ingredients is growing so fast that although US farmers are turning to nonGMO crops more and more, the supply is not meeting demand so we have to import them. This all good news as the market adjusts itself.
When we started Prop 37, California already had four counties (Mendocino, Marin, Trinity, and Santa Cruz) that were GMO Free Growing Zones. After the election in 2012, the local leaders who had led the Prop 37 charge decided they wanted to work on GMO Free Zones for their counties, too.
Humboldt county voters resoundingly voted to join the other counties in 2014. Sonoma County follow suit in 2016, connecting five counties on the Northern California coast in a 13,734 square mile growing zone.
We continue to raise awareness on GMOs, organic farming (and beyond), local food economies, poisons in our food and much more. We invite you to join us!