A coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals plan to hold what it calls “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 known as “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs. The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington beginning Oct. 1 and running through Oct. 16, with marchers expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles from the United Nations Headquarters to the White House. The marchers are seeking support from communities along the march 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,” said 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.” Hansen help kick off the Oct. 1 at the United Nations in New York.
The East Coast states through which the march will pass and in which organizers intend to hold rallies are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Among the supporting organizations of the event are 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 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,” said Right2Know March organizer Katherine DiMatteo, president of Bonn, Germany-based 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.”
Along the route, advocates, farmers and business leaders are expected to join to speak out in favor of GMO labeling.
The march will be accompanied by the Sustainable Living Road Show and the Compass Green Mobile Greenhouse Project. Participants will be able to bathe in the ALL-ONE Ark, Dr. Bronner’s “Interblastive Foam Experience!,” as well as eat organic, non-GMO fare provided for a small fee.