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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

From the Organic Cosumers Association

No More GMOs! Please Donate Today

Dear Friend,
Two weeks ago, thousands of volunteers and paid signature-gatherers hit the streets of California, clipboards in hand. They're collecting signatures in front of grocery stores and farmers markets. They're talking to college students, moms, business owners, health professionals . . . anyone who will listen.
Their mission? Gather 830,000 signatures of registered voters by April 22nd. That's the deadline for submitting signatures to state officials in order to get The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act on the ballot in November.
If we pass this initiative – which will require food manufacturers and retail stores in California to label genetically engineered (GE) foods – we will be on our way to getting GE-tainted foods out of our nation's food supply for good.
We need to raise $150,000 in the next two weeks to guarantee we have enough people on the streets to get 830,000 signatures by April 22nd and start building an effective public education campaign.
I believe we can get the signatures we need by April 22nd and take this issue directly to California voters in November. And I believe we can win. But only if all of us - you, me, young, old, democrats, republicans, greens, libertarians, and independents - all 99% of us who have a stake in the future of our food - pull together. And pool our resources.
Please donate today to the Organic Consumers Fund to help pass this historic Genetically Engineered Food labeling initiative. You can make a secure online donation, or donate by mail or by phone.
If we win in California, we all win.

It doesn't matter where you live. A win in California, where there is tremendous opposition to GE foods as well as a multi-billion dollar organic food industry, will have the same impact as a national labeling law.
Think about it. If a company like Kellogg's has to print a label stating that their famous Corn Flakes have been genetically engineered, it will be the kiss of death for their iconic brand in California - the 8th largest economy in the world - and everywhere else.
We know we can't win the GE food labeling law battle at the federal level - Monsanto's lobbyists have seen to that.
Just last week - despite the growing public outcry against GMOs - the USDA announced plans to speed up the approval process for more genetically modified crops - cutting in half the time it will take for Monsanto, Dow, and others to get their genetically modified crops to market.
Last year the public sent more than 250,000 comments asking the government to stop the commercialization of genetically modified alfalfa. The agency approved it anyway.
More recently, 850,000 – and counting – have written to the FDA demanding the right to know if GMOs are in their food. Don't hold your breath for the FDA to listen to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want to know whether the food they are eating contains GMOs.
Do count on this: Washington bureaucrats will protect the obscene profits of the biotech industry. Not consumer choice and public health.
That's why we have to make an end run around the indentured politicians and win this battle in California. And we can do it by using one of the last remaining tools of Direct Democracy: the ballot initiative.
Why do we need to raise so much money?
Companies like Monsanto, Cargill, Archers Daniel Midland and DuPont, along with the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Farm Bureau and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, make billions of dollars selling contaminated foods.
They will invest millions to defeat this initiative.
They did it a decade ago in Oregon, where Monsanto and Big Ag outspent us 30-1 to defeat a GMO labeling initiative. Pro-labelers there were up against a cabal of corporate giants - including Monsanto and DuPont - which called itself the Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law. The coalition's $5.5-million propaganda campaign scared voters into believing that labeling laws were unnecessary and too expensive.
They did it again in Washington state last month, where campaign contributions to three of the eight politicians on the Senate Agriculture Committee - Democrat Brian Hatfield, and Republicans Jim Honeyford and Mark Schoesler - guaranteed the bill's death in committee.

At this very moment, industry is working to defeat GE labeling bills in Vermont, Hawaii, Connecticut, and other states.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, in 2010 alone, Monsanto spent $8 million lobbying in and more than $400,000 in political contributions. It also spent $120 million in advertising in the mass media, including National Public Radio, to convince consumers that GMO-tainted foods are safe – despite the overwhelming scientific evidence otherwise.
Now Monsanto and Big Food Inc. are cranking up their PR campaign again in California. Same old arguments, same old lies – this time, backed by even bigger bank accounts.
We will never be able to outspend monopolistic corporations with billions in profits at stake.
But if we raise enough money to collect 830,000 signatures, to get this Initiative on the ballot, to run a strong counter-campaign, I believe we can win in California. Here's why:
● This time, we have far more scientific information and greater public awareness on our side. GE contamination is now a mainstream media issue. Monsanto has become the most hated corporation in the world.
● This time, we have overwhelming public support. Polls show that more than 8 out of 10 voters in California want mandatory GMO labeling.
● This time, we have built the strongest coalition of alternative food and health consumers in history, for the exclusive purpose of passing this law.
We've been campaigning on this issue for years. We are closer than ever to a win. But we need all the help we can get.
Today, I'm asking you to invest in this Initiative. Invest in your future. And invest as generously as you can.
The Organic Consumers Association, Organic Consumers Fund, along with other coalition partners, have already raised over one million dollars to get this Initiative on the ballot. We need to raise $150,000 more, as soon as possible. This money will be used to pay our signature gatherers, media consultants, attorneys and others whose expertise we need in order to win.
Please contribute to this historic and critical campaign today. And then please forward this email to your friends. Share it on Facebook and Twitter. Print it out, tack it to telephone poles. Hand it to your grandmother.
Tell the world: This is our last best hope to take back our food and farming system and to protect our health, the health of our children, and the environment. Thank you.
For an Organic Future,

Ronnie Cummins
Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund

P.S.: The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Donations are not tax-deductible. If you need to make a tax-deductible donation, you can contribute to the Organic Consumers Association, a 501(c)3. Your donation to the OCA will be used for general public education and grassroots mobilization.


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