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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
November 4, 2011
CONTACT: Ariel Vegosen 516-732-0579
Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671

 

‘People don’t want to be a GMO Experiment’
313 Mile March for GMO Labeling Ended on World Food Day
Support of FDA Petition JustLabelIt.org Exceeds 300,000

WASHINGTON, DC – On October 16, World Food Day, hundreds of people rallied for 5 hours in front of the White House demanding the Obama Administration keep a 2007 campaign promise to enact labeling of genetically engineered foods, also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs.” The Right2Know March, a new coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals, arrived at the gates of the White House after marching 313 miles and holding dozens of events as they walked from Brooklyn, NY.

“Genetically Engineered foods have never been proven safe for human consumption, which is why they are banned or labeled in most developed countries around the world” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO project which sponsored the Right2Know March. Westgate adds, “Most GMOs are engineered for herbicide tolerance, ultimately increasing the amount of toxic chemicals introduced to the environment and to our dinner tables. People have the right to know if they’re eating these experimental organisms. Clear labeling is essential.”

About 500 participants attended the White House rally including numerous food experts, organic industry leaders and concerned citizens. Many spoke out about their frustration with the recent approval of GMO Alfalfa by the Obama Administration. The decision threatens the viability of organic dairies across America due to probable genetic contamination resulting in a loss of organic alfalfa for animals to eat in a few years.

Keynote speaker and Indian Food Democracy activist Vandana Shiva highlighted the dire situation when she said from the rally stage, “The denial of food labeling is linked directly to a food dictatorship by Monsanto Corporation. I feel terrible that the White House with President Obama is doing exactly the same thing as Bush Senior and Bush Junior. We are here to hold Obama to his promise to label GMOs.”

From October 1-16 about 50 people marched 313 miles from NYC to Washington, DC to demand labeling GMOs. Every day, rain or shine, committed marchers carrying balloons and signs asking for GMO labeling would walk 20 miles and sometimes as much as 30 miles through busy cities and small towns, all the while handing out leaflets educating the public on the dangers posed by GMOs. The march brought together people of all ages and backgrounds including German organic food pioneer Joseph Wilhelm who already marched over 800 miles for regulation of GMOs in Europe; Eric Nies from MTV’s the Real World and his dog Sugar Ray; David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps; George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley Coop; author Ashley Koff R.D.; Percy and Louise Schmeiser who famously fought Monsanto over genetic trespass of GMO canola; and many individuals representing moms, kids and seniors.

Speaking about next steps for the Right2Know Coalition, Katherine DiMatteo, representative of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) said today, “The Right2Know March intends to continue to support the Just Label it Campaign. Our goal is to get 1 million signatures for the legal petition being considered by the FDA.”

The Right2Know March encourages people to sign the petition to the FDA at www.justlableit.org. Since the petition effort was launched at the beginning of October it has generated over 300,000 citizen signatures in support of GMO labeling.

David Bronner said, “As we marched it became clear that every community from Jersey City, to Trenton, to West Philadelphia, to Amish country, to rural Maryland is concerned about the potential adverse health impacts of GMOs in their food. People we met on the street were universally outraged not knowing if our food is genetically engineered. This outrage matches numerous polls that show 90+ percent of respondents strongly favor the labeling of genetically modified foods.”

The march hosted events at local food coops and on college campuses including the University of Maryland College Park and Maryland Institute College of Art. These events included fun educational games, a non-GMO tea-hut, and music provided by the Sustainable Living Roadshow (SLR) – a group of environmental activists and artists on tour to spread the word about sustainable living. Along with SLR these events featured a brightly painted fire truck which is part of the ALL-ONE Ark non-GMO organic shower and spa experience (AllOneArk.org). The march was sponsored by Rapunzel, Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps, Natures Path, Silk, Organic Valley, Nutiva, Stonyfield Farm, UNFI, Dr. Hauschka, Kamut International, and Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association and Weleda.

“As a brand that has always produced our products without GM ingredients, Silk fully supports the mandatory labeling of GM foods so consumers can make educated food choices,” said Craig Shiesley, general manager of Silk. “We are proud of the Right2Know initiative and the impact it has on both consumers and the current administration”

Marchers were met with support from local people including farmers donating vegetables and offering marchers a place to sleep. Popular musical group Beats Antique invited marchers and SLR musicians to open for their concert in Philadelphia, and in Washington DC the 50 committed marchers were joined by hundreds more including members of Organic Valley Co-op dressed in vegetable costumes.

Nature’s Path supplied the marchers with granola bars, cereal, and bright green t-shirts with a third sleeve that said GMO T-shirts are easy to spot; GMO foods are not. “We are determined to see GMO food labeling. We are excited to see so many mothers on this march because it shows that parents want the ability to choose if their children eat GMOs or not,” said Maria Emmer-Aanes of Natures Path.

Author and TV celebrity Ashley Koff, R.D. who spoke at the rally in Washington DC said, “The Right2Know March wants President Obama to keep his campaign promise made in 2007, which stated that foods that include ingredients from genetically modified crops should be labeled. As president, he vowed, he would strive to ‘…let folks know when their food is genetically modified, because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.’” Video of the President’s campaign promise can be seen here.

Speaking in New York at the kick-off of the march Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union said, “Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed. Genetically engineered foods can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan.”

Joseph Wilhelm speaking in front of White House, summed up the march, “No to GMO, yes we can President Obama, Keep your promise label GMOs!”

To arrange interviews with Right2Know March spokespeople please call Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or email adam@right2knowmarch.org

Click here to download a PDF of the latest press release



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
September 27, 2011
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@right2knowmarch.org

 

Right2Know March Announces Events During 313 Mile Walk to the

White House for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Coalition Demands a “Reset” by Obama Administration on GMO Labeling

NEW YORK, NY – In two weeks a diverse coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals will begin to march from the Historic Flatbush Food Co-op in Brooklyn, NY to the gates of the White House to ask the Obama Administration to support labeling of genetically engineered foods, also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs”. The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, DC October 1-16 as hundreds of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles to the White House. The route and details on daily events can be viewed at Right2KnowMarch.org

“Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union. “Genetically engineered foods contain untested novel foreign compounds that can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join the Oct 1 NYC Right2Know March kick-off rally at Prospect Park at 11am to 1pm followed by marchers walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to the United Nations.

In addition to daily marching, the following are major events planned by the Right2Know March:

  • RALLY – 1 Oct R2K Kick Off Event, 11am – 1pm Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
  • RALLY – 3 Oct, 10:45-11:45am Autumn Harvest Health Food 1625 East 2nd St, Scotch – Plains, NJ
  • MEET-UP – 3 Oct, 4pm – 5pm George Street Coop Natural Foods 89 Morris St, New Brunswick, NJ
  • RALLY – 4 Oct, 2:15 -3:15pm Whole Earth Center 360 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ
  • MEET-UP – 5 Oct, 12:45 – 1:45pm Big Bear Natural Foods 322 West Trenton Ave #1, Morrisville, PA
  • NON-GMO FOAM RALLY – 6 Oct, 3:35 – 4:05pm Weavers Way Coop 559 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA
  • RALLY – 7 Oct, 12 noon – midnight – The Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, 3819 Hamilton St. Philadelphia, PA
  • MEET-UP – 8 Oct, 11:45 – 12:45pm Martindale Natural Market 1172 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, PA
  • MEET-UP – 9 Oct, 10-2pm Newark Farmers Market, Market East Plaza, 280 E. Main Street, Newark, DE
  • RALLY – 13-Oct, 11am – 6pm – Maryland Institute College of Art, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD
  • WORLD FOOD DAY RALLY – 16 Oct, Concluding Rally 12:30pm to 5pm at the White House in Lafayette Park 1600 H Street, NW Washington, DC Marchers estimated to arrive at 1pm. Event to feature Mom’s Panel and conclusion of the march

“The Right2Know March is an unprecedented effort to win genuine transparency on Genetically Engineered foods,” says Katherine DiMatteo of IFOAM and a lead coordinator of the Right2Know March. “Most Americans agree they have a right to know what is in the food they put in their own and their children’s bodies, but current federal policy favors the pesticide industry and hides the facts,” says DiMatteo. “It’s time to reset US policy on GMOs.”

Helping lead the march is Joseph Wilhelm, President of Rapunzel and Indian activist, Dr. Vanadana Shiva, both veteran GMO campaigners who twice marched across Europe for controls on GMOs and in support of GMO labeling, which is required in the EU. They will be joined at the events in NYC and Washington, DC as well as along the march, by advocates, media personalities, farmers and business leaders who will speak out for GMO labeling, including: Andrew Kimbrell (Founder, Center for Food Safety, Frances Moore Lappѐ (Author, Diet for a Small Planet), Michael Hansen (Senior Scientist, Consumers Union), George Siemon (CEO, Organic Valley) and many others.

“No matter what you believe about GMOs, the bottom line is that we have a right to know what is in our food so we can all make better decisions for the health of our families,” says TV host and green lifestyle author Sara Snow.

Mothers are also marching and will speak out at the World Food Day Rally at the White House on October 16. “Without labeling, consumers have no way of knowing if the foods they are feeding their families have been genetically engineered to contain new proteins,” says Robyn O’Brien, author and founder of the Allergy Kids Foundation. “Because there is no definitive test that can be relied upon to predict whether a newly expressed protein might trigger an allergic reaction, it is important that genetically engineered foods are labeled so that the food allergic population can exercise caution and make an informed choice about what they eat. GMO labeling would provide essential and possibly life-saving information.”

Right2Know March spokespeople are available to debate GMO manufacturers on the labeling issue. “After 30 years and billions of dollars in research, only two principal GMO traits have been successfully developed: herbicide tolerance and insecticide production. Despite industry promises, there are no GMO traits currently on the market for increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other humanitarian or environmental benefit,” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project, fiscal sponsor of the Right2Know March. “Americans should have the right to opt out of this experiment, and this march is about standing up and demanding that freedom.”

Founding organizations of the Right2Know march include the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), the Non-GMO Project and the Sustainable Living Roadshow, who are joined by founding organic brands Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Rapunzel. In recent months, numerous titans of the organic and natural food sector have become sponsors of the Right2Know March including: Nature’s Path; Organic Valley; Silk; Stonyfield; United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI); Nutiva; Kamut International; and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.

Members of the media are encouraged to follow the entire organizing effort and report on our progress. Please sign up for email alerts through our website or call Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 to arrange interviews or for in person requests. Members of the public should call the Right2Know March Hotline: 202.557.5164 or email erica@right2knowmarch.org.

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Additional sponsors and affiliates include: Weleda; Biodynamic Farming and Garden Association; Center for Food Safety; Food Democracy Now; Organic Trade Association; The Organic Center; Independent Natural Food Retailers Association; National Cooperative Grocers Association; Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; Northeast Organic Farming Association’s of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut; National Organic Coalition; Organic Farming research Foundation; Food and Water Watch; Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture; Organic Consumers Association; Sustainable Food Trust; Truth in Labeling Coalition; Organic Seed Growers Association; Institute for Responsible Technology; and Cuatro Puertas.

Click here to download a PDF of this press release



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
July 25, 2011
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@right2knowmarch.org

 

Advocates for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Announce
Two Week ‘Right2Know’ March from NYC to White House Oct 1-16

Washington, DCA coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals announced today a bold mobilization plan to raise awareness and pressure the government about the lack of labeling of Genetically Engineered foods people unknowingly consume. Such foods are also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs”. The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, DC October 1-16 as thousands of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles from the United Nations’ Headquarters to the White House. The marchers are looking for support from communities along the route which can be viewed at Right2KnowMarch.org

“Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union. “Genetically engineered foods can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join kick off of the March October 1 at the United Nations in New York.

The March will rally in a broad swath of East Coast cities and towns including:

  • New York: Brooklyn, New York City
  • New Jersey: Jersey City, Newark, Millburn, Union, Springfield, Scotch Plains, New Brunswick, Princeton
  • Pennsylvania: Morrisville, Trevose, Jenkintown, Philadelphia, Springfield
  • Delaware: Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark
  • Maryland: Darlington, Monkton, Timonium, Baltimore, Elicott City, Jessup, Laurel, College Park, Takoma Park, and Washington, DC.

Early supporting organizations include the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), Non-GMO Project, Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now, National Co-operative Grocer Association, Organic Trade Association, The Organic Center, the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA), Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of NY. Business sponsors include [alphabetical] Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Kamut International, Nutiva, Nature’s Path Foods, Inc., Organic Valley, Rapunzel, Stonyfield Farm, and United Natural Foods Inc.

“While most Americans agree we have a right to know what is in our food, the federal government has resisted labeling genetically engineered food for over a decade,” says Right2Know March organizer Katherine DiMatteo, President of IFOAM. “It’s time to demand that the government be responsible to its citizens and enact mandatory labeling of GMOs instead of pretending that GMO crops are the same as traditional crops.”

In New York, Washington, DC and along the route, advocates, farmers and business leaders including Vandana Shiva, Percy and Louis Schmeiser, Andrew Kimbrell, Frances Moore Lappѐ, Anna Lappѐ, Sara, Snow, Dr. Alan Greene, Joseph Wilhelm, Michael Funk, Megan Westgate, David Bronner, Ashley Koff, RD and many others are expected to join in the coming months to speak out for GMO Labeling and to inspire citizens to take action to protect themselves and the future of farming.

“After 30 years and billions of dollars in research, only two principal traits have been successfully developed: herbicide tolerance and insecticide production. Despite industry promises, there are no GMO traits currently on the market for increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other humanitarian or environmental benefit,” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project, fiscal sponsor of the Right2Know March. “Americans should have the right to opt out of this experiment, and this march is about standing up and demanding that freedom.”

“As long as there is great uncertainly about the long term effects of GMO on the environment and upon justice issues that arise from the right of communities to access their own seeds, plants and land, a right currently challenged by many food corporations, the use of GMO food products should be questioned. People who view GMO food products as out of bounds for kosher use, have a right to know which products contain GMO. GMO ingredients should appear on food labels,” says Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomeret Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence at The Community of Living Traditions.

The Right2Know march will be joined by the Sustainable Living Road Show and the Compass Green Mobile Greenhouse Project. Marchers will have a chance to bathe in the ALL-ONE Ark, Dr. Bronner’s “Interblastive Foam Experience!” and eat organic, non-GMO food provided to marchers for a small fee.

Members of the media are encouraged to follow the entire organizing effort and report on our progress. Please sign up for email alerts through our website or call Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 to arrange interviews or for in person requests.

Members of the public should call the Right2Know March Hotline: 202.557.5164 or email erica@right2knowmarch.org .

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