Currently running for EMSWCD Director at large #1
Occupation: Volunteer Program Manager for Lift Urban Portland
Professional Background: Community involvement coordination, outreach and education, political engagement and advocacy, community affairs, environmental education and activism.
- B.S. in Natural Resources & Environment, U of Mich.
- Masters in Urban & Regional Planning, UNO
Prior governmental experience: Successful policy advocacy on local budget issues, experience with local and global activist communities, point person for a public involvement contract for Lents Urban Renewal District 2001-2002, while employed at SE Uplift.
I am running for office because I want to:
- Promote organic gardening.
- Work to keep transgenic contamination (GMOs- aka genetically modified organisms) out of East Multnomah County (& the Pacific NW generally).
- Develop more tools to reduce excessive and improper use of pesticides and herbicides such as glyphosate (Roundup®).
- Increase involvement and education in soil health and water issues, and support deeper community engagement in local food security and food policy issues, through working with schools, congregations, and businesses on garden projects and volunteer programs, with special emphasis on under-represented populations.
Please vote for me. Thank you for your consideration.
Our event this week on May 3rd served as our official launch of the labeling campaign. Press release went out on Wednesday...
Grassroots group GMO Free Oregon has launched its campaign to put an initiative on the ballot this November that would require food containing genetically engineered ingredients to be clearly labeled as such. The group will need to collect the signatures of 100,000 registered Oregon voters to get the initiative placed on the ballot this November.
We are now working hard on planning the signature gathering efforts that will take place this June. We need your help! If you'd be willing to gather signatures at your local farmers market, or gather at your church, volunteer and let us know so we can make sure you get the petitions and info.
Thursday May 3rd will mark the official launch of our statewide labeling initiative campaign. Come out for an important fundraising and knowledge-building event! We will be screening the groundbreaking film "the Future of Food" and will have a special international guest! It's a great opportunity to learn about the intiative and why it's important.
You can find out more about the labeling initiative here.
The Jackson County (Ashland area) group is currently working towards a county level ordinance banning the cultivation of GMOs in Jackson County. Highlighted by recent problems with genetically modified sugar beets, the Jackson County group is very energized and organized in their efforts to get their ordinance on the ballot for this November. You can read more about the current problems in Ashland with genetically modified sugar beets here.
Planting genetically engineered life forms and products is not a reasonable and prudent farm practice because genetic drift from windborne and insect carried pollens from one farm can create economic harm to farmers who have chosen to farm without them.
Planting genetically engineered organisms is not a generally accepted method nor will it become generally accepted among certified organic farmers who use organic farm practices by complying with USDA regulations and Oregon Tilth certifications. Both those certifications explicitly ban the use of genetically engineered organisms to acquire and maintain their organic certification. As such, organic farm operations are not similar in nature to nonorganic farm operations because they are controlled and regulated by specific rules not applied to others.
A ban on genetically engineered organisms does not deprive farmers from methods for the operation of the farm to obtain a profit in money. There are many reasonable alternatives available to farmers that do not require the use of genetically engineered crops or livestock.
Jackson County recognizes that organic farmers and farms make a vital and important contribution to its economy, improve the County's agricultural viability and increases Jackson County consumer local food choices.
The Benton County ( Corvallis area ) group is working to put forth a county level measure adopting a sustainable agriculture "bill of rights". This bill of rights will, among several things, ban the growth and cultivation of GM crops in the open environment. Currently refer to as the "Right to Seed Heritage and Sustainability", this county measure grew out of concern for our Oregon farmers who fear GM contamination of their crops, conventional as well as organic. The measure also reflects the public’s concern for our environment, children, farmland, food safety and public health and reclaiming a communities right to defend and protect those entities of concern rather than caving to corporations false power to exploit those entities.
The practice of saving seeds is fundamental to sustainable agriculture by making agriculture economically viable for farmers, promotes bio-diversity, and potentially leads to higher crop yields without genetic engineering as successive generations of the seed adapt to, or are bread for, the unique qualities of the specific region or site. GMO proprieter Monsanto currently employees a large team of lawyers who's sole purpose is to enforce Monsanto's patent claims on the GM seeds. With pollen drifting from a GM field and contaminating a non-GM field, the patent litigation Monsanto is wielding threatens this very fundamental right of farmers everywhere.
The farming of genetically modified organisms poses a significant threat to a neighboring or near by farmers ability to attain or retain organic certification due to pollen drift or other contamination. USDA Organic guidelines and Oregon Tilth Certification mandate that organic food cannot contain GMOs. So if a farmer chooses to be organic, but a nearby farmer plants the GMO variety of that crop, the organic farmers ability to maintain their organic certification is in doubt. Since organic farming practices dont use chemical pesticides or herbicides, they are higly more sustainable farming practices than those chemical heavy practices in use by GMO farmers. Accordingly defending the right to sustainable agriculture means defending organic farming and banning GMOs.
Oregon consumers have the right to know whether or not the food they purchase was produced using genetic engineering. Genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or controllable, and they can lead to adverse health or environmental consequences.
Fifty countries including the European Union and Japan have laws mandating that genetically engineered foods be labeled, but the United States does not have such a requirement. Public opinion polls indicate that over 90 percent of American voters support the labeling of genetically engineered foods.
The Oregon Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food initiative follows in the footsteps of the current California initiative ( http://www.labelgmos.org ) and is joined by similar legislation efforts currently underway in Vermont and Connecticut. All four, including ours here in Oregon strive to address the lack of GMO labeling and consumer knowledge by requiring that:
- Processed foods that contain GMO derived ingredients be labeled as containing genetically engineered food
- Foods about to come on the market that are wholly themselves a genetically modified organism (Corn-on-the-cobb, Salmon) be clearly labled as genetically engineered
- The labeling, advertising and marketing of genetically engineered foods using terms such as “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” or “all natural” is misleading to consumers and therefor GMO products cannot be labeled as such.
The initial language of the proposed measure has been submitted to the state elections office with the initial sponsorship signatures. There are several formal process steps that the state now goes through in verifying the signatures and then drafting the official ballot language for title and summary of the measure. If the measure proceeds though the process smoothly, there will be a short, but hopefully still feasible window of time dring the month of June when we will be out collecting the approximately 87,000 signatures necessary to get the measure on the ballot for November's general election.
Q: Shouldn't the FDA be responsible for this and require labeling nationwide?
Yes! The FDA should be responsible for this. However, federal labeling legislation has been before Congress since 1999 and gone nowhere even though there has been clear support from the american people that they want it, and a global movement to require it. In March, a petition was delivered to the FDA with a million (1,000,000!) signatures requesting GMO labeling. As well, 55 members of Congress signed a letter to the FDA demanding action. Even with these recent efforts, the FDA is showing no signs that it intends to take action.
Q: What happens if you run out of time and can't collect the necessary signatures?
We'll admit that we got a late start on this. When we learned that Oregon only allows citizens to submit initiative petitions in even numbered years, we had a gut-check about doing this, but decided that we just couldn't stomach the idea of waiting until to 2014 to "do something". So while we have submitted the intiative paperwork, and we realize that it might not be a reality for it to happen, this is still an issue that needs our attention. If time prevents us from making the November ballot, we will convert the energy into a campaign requesting the Oregon legislature take action to pass a GMO labeling bill.
Q: how can I help?
Sign up on this site and volunteer to gather signatures. When the time comes (June) to collect the necessary signatures, we'll need any and every volunteer we can get to help.
If your organization wants to publicly endorse GMO Free Oregon and our non-GMO related efforts, please fill out the form below.