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We Don’t Want to Get Political But…

September 15, 2012

Don’t you hate it when companies do this? Or you sit down for a dinner with friends and there’s someone who can’t help but bring the politics of the day to the table. Increasingly, the politics of the day *is* brought to the table, literally, in the food.

This is very present with the Prop37 label law in California. When there’s a means of discussing with the public issues related to agriculture, it’s criticized if visible and “too slick” but if we’re out here talking to ourselves how productive is that? I see at Indiegogo, while our own project is going slowly (offering non GMO choices) an anti GMO project aimed at Monsanto hating has raised over $48,000 not to provide choices but to make a movie.

We’re smack on the battle lines of this food fight and some may be surprised to know that, as written, we don’t support it. I can hear the gasps of shock from regular readers. The voice quiver but why….? Here’s the thing dear readers. It’s political. That’s it. We cannot legislate making people feel better, because long term it won’t.

Years ago folks demanded changes in dairy – raw milk sellers must conform to food safety or be shut down. So that happened. Then folks wanted raw milk like it used to taste – and it makes headlines with images of guns drawn arrests and raids on farmers in the early morning hours. For milk. So, clearly, people change their minds about those food choices.

We HAVE food choices right now. I’ve heard the questions – but it’s not labeled. Those who really, really want to avoid GMO can, either by buying direct or buying organic or checking out sites like the non GMO project site that lists brands that don’t use GMO ingredients. If that’s too much effort, then how important, really, is it?

We provide food choices and obviously believe people should have the ability to now what’s in their food. And they do. It costs, but everyone reading this has food choices!

So why do we disagree with the law? Because the exemptions are many, and people voting aren’t reading or aren’t aware of the exemptions. This doesn’t mean it’s organic…and that is getting blurred. Buying organic would eliminate GMO foods and is already labeled. Here’s the thing – you buy soy milk and it’s labeled GMO (or not, but as all beans go together except for organic/not organic, it’s *possible* that GMO is in it. Milk from a cow, even if she eats GMO corn, is not required to be labeled.

You buy a pizza and it must be labeled – you buy a fast food pizza to go and it’s not labeled. You buy a can of fruit and it is GMO free – but has a small amount of corn syrup sweetener in it that may or may not be GMO. Do you feel deceived? Lied to? By whom…the writer of the legislation, yourself or the farmer?

From a selfish point of view this could benefit us tremendously. Heritage/heirloom is clearly not GMO. People could buy from us and know what it is…but not everyone can afford to, or so we hear. So what do those folks expect – us to sell at a loss, or someone to make it cheaper? Volume. Our eggs (and everyone else’s) will be non-GMO because it doesn’t matter what the hens eat – there’s certified organic and non GMO. Is that what people have the idea of choice as? Our rabbit is non GMO rabbit (we’ve never claimed certified organic and won’t) no matter what they eat, be it our own hay or (unknown to us) GMO alfalfa. Less keeping track.

You buy homemade baked goods and it must be labeled, but go out to dinner and the China made GMO ingredients fortune cookie you get isn’t labeled. Indeed, imported goods aren’t even checked, just based off of a statement.

I think when it passes, and people find that it doesn’t mean what folks thought it meant there will be frustration overload and that’s not good for any of us. Rather than talk about it, explore what is and is not available right now and find ways to know what’s in the food no matter what the large companies do, we ban something without a big picture view.

Common sense food – it sounds better all the time doesn’t it? It sounds deceptive when you look at the amount of exceptions, and is a lawyer’s dream. Somewhere in the mix those small and middle sized farmers who can’t lawyer up will lose everything.

That’s not a win for the farmers. It’s not a win for customers. It’s not a win for the “intentions” of the law. But it’s the fallout. All which could be prevented by empowering food choices and buying direct.

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