Thursday, May 22, 2014

'We stood up for all Oregonians' - Chinook Observer: Northwest

'We stood up for all Oregonians' - Chinook Observer: Northwest:

A ballot measure to ban genetically modified crops in Josephine County passed handily, 58 to 42 percent, and backers were ecstatic Tuesday night.

Mary Middleton, one of the founders of the group GMO Free Josephine County, was the first person to get a copy of the results, and she understood the GMO vote before anybody else had a chance to digest even a single race.

Stepping out onto the front portico of the courthouse, with dozens of supporters waiting anxiously for the news, Middleton threw her arms up in a victory pose and shouted "We won! We are winners!" as applause erupted.

 She told supporters they stood up against "corporate bullies" and "resisted the corporate takeover of our food supply."

"This is a victory that will be heard across Josephine County, across Oregon and throughout the nation," she shouted to supporters. "The truth is on our side and voters had the good sense to see it."
In a later interview, Middleton discussed the grass roots effort of the campaign. Many supporters of the campaign are small organic farmers.

"We are the little county that could."

Jackson County also passed a GMO ban by an even wider margin, 66 percent to 34 percent.
Middleton said bio-chemical companies such as Syngenta and Monsanto feared a toehold anywhere in Oregon, even in Josephine County. Opponents raised more than $800,000 a huge sum for local measures in Southern Oregon to defeat it.

 "Many, many, many people are watching this," Middleton said. "We stood up for all Oregonians."

Measure backers say the GMO crops, which include plots of sugar beet starts in Jackson and Josephine counties, can contaminate non-GMO crops through cross-pollination. Concern over increased pesticide use with GMOs also spawned the campaign.

 Opponents railed against the vote.

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