Friday, May 10, 2013

Getting Connected with I-522

With the November elections approaching quickly, involvement with the campaign to label genetically engineered (GE) foods in Washington State has become increasingly important. That being said, it can be difficult to know exactly how you can help the campaign. For this reason, I have set out to create a comprehensive, though surely not exhaustive, guide of ways you can help out.


First and foremost, it is most important that you are educated about the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This includes, but is not limited to, the different ways they affect your body, the environment, and animal life.

There are also several publications produced by different organizations across that country that provide invaluable knowledge about GMOs and the food movement in general. Organic Bytes, the Organic Consumers Association’s weekly newsletter, as well as the Institute for Responsible Technology’s publication are good examples. In addition to newsworthy updates on the movement to label GE foods, it’s important you familiarize yourself with I-522.

With this knowledge intact, you are now ready to take action.

Yes  on 522

Working with Yes on 522 is the most direct way to get involved with the campaign to label GE food product. They offer the most up-to-date news specifically regarding the campaign in Washington State as well as events such as Kitchen Conversations, a way for you to stimulate conversation and activism in your own neighborhood. Joining the campaign with Yes on 522 is one of the best ways for those who are passionate about donating their time and energy into the campaign.

Contact your Representatives

Endorsement of I-522 by Washington State Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell as well as your local representative is imperative if the initiative is to pass this November. Although you can always reach out to your representatives individually, Food and Water Watch, an organization dedicated to the safety of our food and water, has organized a fast and effective method; you can choose to use the message that they have created or modify it to your liking.

Governor Jay Inslee’s support for I-522 has been paramount for its success so far. This does not mean, however, that we as his constituents should stop demonstrating our support. You can call, write, and even fax our Governor to let him know you appreciate his continued support for the fight to label genetically modified food products in Washington State.

Social Networking

Before the internet, word of mouth was one of the most effective ways and transmitting knowledge and gaining support for campaigns such as I-522. Now, social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter offer unique ways to reach out to several people with the touch of a button. By sharing your knowledge about GMOs, you will provide the campaign with the invaluable support it needs to succeed this November. You can join the Facebook pages of organizations such as that of Yes on 522, Weekly Women’s GMO Free News, and the Non-GMO Project to stay up to date with the most recent news and events in the movement. In addition, sharing your findings with your friends will help spread the word in a unique way only made possible through social media websites.

Moms March Across America

Although the name seems to suggest a form of exclusion, fear not. Moms March Across America is an organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge surrounding the GMO-Free movement. Because, as they claim, moms are responsible for buying 85% of the food in American households, I-522 largely concerns them. This does not mean, however, that Moms need be the only people who apply. Fathers, children, and everybody else are all key players in educating their community about the dangers that GMOs pose and how to get involved.

On July 4th, Moms March Across America is helping to organize education booths at thousands of local parades across the country. By doing so, they hope to “make Independence Day a true celebration of Truth in labeling, Justice for future generations and Liberty for All to know what is in their food!” Their website offers the best way to find a parade near you on July 4th.

Talk to your Grocer/Server

Last, but most definitely not least, talking to your grocer about genetically modified foods is one of the best ways to get involved with I-522. Grocery stores such as PCC Natural Markets and Bellingham’s Terra Organica have been vanguards in the movement to label GE food products, and it’s time other stores follow suit. By educating grocers and demanding that they label their products containing GMOs, you are helping them to make vitally important business and ethical decisions.

It doesn’t stop at grocery stores, either. Many restaurants across Washington State have joined I-522 not only with verbal recognition of their support, but with their money. Talk to the owners, chefs, and servers at your local restaurants about GMOs. The more they know, the more likely they are to join the campaign.  

Shop at Farmers’ Markets

Washington’s Farmers’ Markets offer up not only a bounty of fresh, locally grown produce, but a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about what it takes to grow food sustainably. By speaking to those who grow the food, you’ll be able to gain a holistic understanding about the issue of genetic modification in agriculture. How does it affect the farmers, their land, and the food they produce?

Contact the Washington State Farmers Market Association to show your support for I-522.

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