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For two days in August, GMO labeling activists from around the country gathered at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, where the University motto proudly states “Truth even unto its innermost parts.” This is a fitting slogan for individuals who are fighting for truth and transparency in our food system. Image-1-3

For years, GMO labeling activists from around the country developed relationships with each other via Facebook, e-mail and conference calls. We felt like we knew each other, though the majority of us had never met in person.   Our virtual relationships were transformed into concrete connections as Citizens for GMO Labeling brought us together in one room for the first time ever. As one of the organizers, I told the attendees that developing relationships with one another would be the most important part of the training. We are so much stronger together than we are on our own.

 

Gary Hirshberg, Colin O'Neill and Tara Cook-Littman

Gary Hirshberg, Colin O’Neill and Tara Cook-Littman

With the DARK Act looming in DC, the timing of the training was perfect. As Gary Hirshberg (Just Label It) and Colin O’Neill (Center for Food Safety) pointed out to us, the DARK Act is a direct attack on our state level work. The DARK Act exists because of our work – because we are winning at the state level. With existing GMO labeling laws in CT, VT and ME, our opposition knows more state laws are on the horizon. We cannot let Congress take that away.

The CFGL Board has always believed that we are stronger as a movement if we are fighting on as many fronts as possible. We need elected officials to understand that we are not a vocal fringe element, but we are the people you see every day. We are moms and dads, teachers, coaches, professionals, farmers, business owners, white collar, blue collar and even no collar workers. Most importantly, we are voters and we are active.

Victoria and David Byrnes, co-owners of Goodboy Organics and advocates from New York.

Victoria and David Byrnes, co-owners of Goodboy Organics and advocates from New York.

Jim Leahy leading a discussion

Jim Leahy leading a discussion

We are up against some of the most powerful industries on the planet.   In a political system where money talks, we will never win because we have more money. We will win because we are unified, strategic and amplifying our collective voice.  We all have so much to gain from working with each other.

CFGL Staff and Board thanking our sponsors

CFGL Staff and Board thanking our sponsors

 

We would like to thank all our sponsors who made this happen: David Bronner & Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Bill Weiland & Presence Marketing, United Natural Foods (UNFI), Amy’s Organics, Center for Food Safety, Organic Consumers Association and SUJA Juice.  Also, thank you to the entire staff and board of CFGL for taking this vision and making it a reality.  We are already planning The 2nd Annual Citizens for GMO Labeling Activist Training. Thirty states were represented this year. We are often asked how many states are working on GMO labeling laws. The answer is at least thirty. Next year we hope to grow to at least forty states strong. Until then, we continue to work for food transparency by empowering the grass roots, the people of this country. We are taking back our food, our government and our children’s future.

 

 

 

 

About the Author
Tara Cook-Littman