Green Zenith – 1/14/2013 (GMOs)

“Green Zenith” will be a new blogging feature every Monday. To the extent that a “green” lodestar has been the overarching, guiding principle for the range of my freelance writing and consulting services, a green “zenith” represents the information that is directly overhead right now.

My weekly “Green Zenith” will feature links, books, articles, ideas, etc. that I have collected over the past week in the areas of land use law, local agriculture, and sustainable living, much of which will be relevant to those in Massachusetts and/or New England. The lists may be long or short, as the case may be, but the hope is that it will further inform readers about information that may helpful and relevant.

Without further ado… (much of this week’s “Green Zenith” was collected from all of the wonderful and inspiring people and presentations I encountered while at the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Winter Conference on 1/12/2013):

  • Happy to hear about this group that recently formed to work toward legislation that would require mandatory labeling of GMO foods in Massachusetts:  MA Right to Know GMOs
  • Have you heard about The Organic & Non-GMO Report? Until this past weekend, me neither, but I picked up a printed copy (great info!) at the NOFA conference. Here is a link to their website.
  • The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Ass’n et al. v. Monsanto lawsuit remains ongoing, with oral arguments heard on 1/10/2013 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (click here to listen to audio from that hearing). A decision could come very quickly (probably resulting in bad news for the organic farmers since it would likely affirm the lower court’s dismissal of the case) or within a few weeks (meaning a longer decision from the court if there are noteworthy issues, though could ultimately go either way even if a longer written decision comes down). Stay tuned on this one!
  • If you are eating GMO food, you may want to think twice, and you likely will after watching the movie, “Genetic Roulette”.  A ten-minute redux of the film (a MUST see) is available at the MA Right To Know GMOs website (click here), or you can visit the website for the movie itself to learn more about how to obtain your own, full-length copy, view trailer, etc.
  • Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston
  • Ideas that I heard about: doing a “food system assessment” for your city or town … some farmers are offering microgreen/herb CSA shares … lots about rooftop agriculture in urban areas … the notion that we are alive today because our ancestors saved seeds (thank you Amy LeBlanc of Whitehill Farm for this last one–great seminar on seed saving techniques!)
  • What I’m reading right now: Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy, Sustainable Places, Kimberley Hodgson, Marcia Caton Campbell and Martin Bailkey (2011, American Planning Association, PAS 563)
  • Even if you cannot source (or afford) a particular organic food, try to find those that are certified GMO-free by the third-party Non-GMO Project. I was happy to learn that one of my favorite olive oils, which is not organic, now boasts a certification from this agency.  Until legislation (and the FDA) catches up with consumers’ desire and right to know what they are putting in their bodies, the best we can do is speak with our wallets.
  • I just heard that the Prop 37 votes in California (the push to require label GMO foods) were extraordinarily close, much more so than I had realized. I found this recent article from Civil Eats that sums it up nicely. Truly stunning how close it all was considering the spending inequity between the two sides.

Copyright (c) 2013 by Kristen M. Ploetz and Green Lodestar Communications & Consulting, LLC. All rights reserved.