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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: North Coast | Environment & Forest Defense
Banning GMOs in Mendocino County
On March 2nd, voters in California's Mendocino County voted to pass Measure H, a county-wide measure to ban the "propagation, cultivation, raising and growing of genetically modified organisms in Mendocino County."
Measure H was supported by 80 percent of the wine vineyards in the county, and farmers held rallies with tractors in tow, to demonstrate their support for the measure. According to Katrina Frey, one of the co-owners of certified organic Frey vineyards, farmers in this country have lost 12 billion dollars in sales because of the contamination of corn, conola and soy crops by GMOs. The European Union has a morritorium on the use of GMOs and farmers using GMO seed cannot sell to Europe.
In spite of the enormous local support for the Measure CropLife America spent a total of 500,000 dollars on attempting to defeat the measure, in this county of about 88 thousand people. Washington DC based CropLife America represents biotech giants such as Monsanto, Bayer, Dupont, Dow Chemical and others. They spent almost 8 dollars per voter, outspent the local anti-GMO campaign at a ratio of 5 to 1, and broke all time campaign spending records in Mendocino County.
But for many local residents the campaign was about taking back their county from the threat of corporate control. In addition to the ethical probelms posed by the patenting of life forms, and the highly invasive practices of companies like Monsanto, which include tactics such as back yard inspections and the forced signature of restrictive and punative contracts, Mendocino residents say that biological and health questions such as gene polution, cross pollination, increased food allergies and other potential health threats, are significant concerns when deciding whether to use GMO seeds.
This Free Speech Radio News Story aired Monday March 1st, the day before the county voted to ban the growth of GMO crops in Mendocino county.