Michael Pollan and Alice Waters and the Organic Consumers Association are wrong. Monsanto and DuPont and Kraft are right. Vote for Goliath over David. Vote against the right to know what’s in your food.
Last fall was an awkward time for me. I had the experience of siding with the multi-gazillion dollar, Monsanto-Big Food agribusiness side over a grass roots movement of organic farmers and good food advocates.
This is messed up.
Why? I agree with pretty much everything that the food movement represents. I care about the environment, worker safety, animal welfare. I want more nutritious food, more sustainable ways of growing food, AND more information and transparency about how my food is produced. I am overwhelmingly thrilled about what the food movement has accomplished — better food, more nutritious food, more sustainable food. Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman and Alice Waters are heroes to me.
Yet I profoundly disagree with them on this one issue.
I thought that last fall was a one-time thing, a quirky manifestation of ballot-initiative happy California. I thought that after Nov. 6, 2012, the day Prop. 37, the GMO-labeling initiative lost, I would be back on Team Pollan rather than Team Monsanto. I was hoping the food movement would shift its focus to any number of others issues— like animal welfare, encouraging children to eat healthier, reducing the consumption of monster-sized sugary beverages.
But now Washington state has a GMO-labeling vote in the works, and Vermont has an initiative, and so does Minnesota. I recently learned that there are labeling initiatives underway or bills being considered in more than a dozen states, and there’s also talk about introducing a bill in Congress. And then just last week, the push-me-over-the-edge news: Whole Foods Market — my beloved Whole Foods Market — declared that they’ll require mandatory GMO-labeling by 2018.
I want to be back on the food movement side of this issue. I want to be able to vote with Pollan and the Dinner Party. But in order to get my support, the food movement needs to update its overly simplistic, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-humanitarian, anti-common sense GE strategy. I’m not saying the food movement should stop fighting to give consumers more information about genetic engineering. No. It just needs to change the way — and the what— it’s fighting for.
That’s what these upcoming posts are about. Here are the first four parts of an eccentrically-long series on things that the food movement could do to win back the support of folks like me — and these guys — that is, GE-friendly foodies.