GMO Ban Sought In Jackson County

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MEDFORD, Ore. – A group of organic farmers and opponents of genetically modified organisms filed petitions on Tuesday, seeking to ban “GMO’s” in Jackson County. It’s an issue that has been brewing for about a year now when organic growers found that genetically modified sugar beets and other plants were being planted in several Rogue Valley plots.

Several dozen supporters of a ban on GMO’s descended on the Jackson County Elections Office to turn in more than 700 pages of petition signatures Wednesday morning. The petitioners are calling for a county ordinance to block the planting of genetically modified crops that they say could spread pollen to nearby organic crops, thereby contaminating the organic produce.

“It’s a natural process to spread pollen. Genetic drift is virtually inevitable and one way to protect our organic farms in Jackson county is to make this a sanctuary for quality food,” said Chief Petitioner Brian Comnes.

“If we do not take action, if we allow GMO crops to contaminate organic farms in Jackson County, it’s to our economic detriment, for all of us,” State Representative Peter Buckley.

Supporters did make a pitch for commissioners to push the process ahead without going to the voters first.

“If you cannot take the leadership to pass our ordinance to protect the health and safety and welfare of our farms and our citizens, we would ask that you at least put yourself on the record for supporting a GMO ban, and pass a resolution endorsing a ‘Yes’ vote on the ordinance,” stated Chris Hardy, an organic seed grower.

In the meantime, elections officers are checking signatures for a possible vote later. If the petitions signatures qualify the County Clerk says the first time this measure could come up on the ballot would be in May of 2014. If the county commissioners decide to adopt the issue and put it on the ballot, it could come in a special election, maybe a year earlier.

4,662 valid petition signatures of registered voters are required to get the measure on the May 2014 ballot. More than 6,700 names were submitted. In addition, more than 900 farmers and 230 businesses say they also support a ban on genetically modified crops in Jackson County.


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  1. John Butler says:

    I find this very amusing simply because there isn’t a vegetable we eat that hasn’t been genetically altered my man. Every pet we have has been genetically breed to our likening. Milk cows and goats have been genetically altered to produce more and “better” milk. Simple corn is really grass that has been genetically altered to be what we eat today. Cornell University has even altered Maple Trees to produce more and sweeter sap. The only real difference is the fact man has learned how to speed up the process so now it’s bad?? Oh yeah, your complaining about what you have been doing for centuries, NOW IT MATTERS??? Or is it you aren‘t getting your cut.

  2. Steve says:

    John, both the science and real-world observation clearly shows the devastating health impacts of consuming today’s GMO foods. There is a big difference between evolutionary breeding and cultivating compared to gene splicing among species to cause the plants to produce their own pesticide, or to be resistant to existing herbicides so that they may be utilized even more heavily. Please thoroughly review the information at http://responsibletechnology.org with an open mind; you may find your current conceptions challenged.

    1. Jolene says:

      Thank you Steve for being educational without being nasty or sarcastic.. It is a nice change from many of the commentaries one see when researching GMO’s.

      1. Marty says:

        Some people deserve sarcasm. If you are going to make an argument, it’s kind of important that you have a clue about what you speak. What I know is, that a single atom in a molecule can turn a life-giving substance into poison. I’m not exagerating, here. Poison. The adulteration on substances as complex as proteins is nothing to be toyed with. Allowing rich corperations to control the entire agricultural industry, when they have proven themselves to be only interested in their own profit; to the financial ruin of farmers who have the health of their customers at heart, will be a disaster I intend to have no part of. If John wants to play culinary Russian Roulette, that’s his business. Not mine. The billionaires can afford to do all the brainwashing they want on TV. We don’t need his nonsense here.

  3. Helen says:

    Steve is right. I have been doing an experiment on myself for about 3 months now, eating only certified non-GMO (or at minimum USDA certified organic), long story, short my health has improved TREMENDOUSLY (became disabled in my mid-40’s, diagnosed with COPD, Fibromyalgia, etc). I haven’t been able to do non-GMO etc. 100% of the time. I’d say at least 90-95% of my diet is non-GMO/organic. That’s the ONLY thing I’ve changed. I’ve made sure to still eat junk like chocolate and ice cream so that the only vaiable is the aforementioned diet changes. I’m on SS disability and I’m having a hard time affording the food, so the more farms that have organic/GMO free the better for me.

  4. Deborah says:

    It’s unfortunate that so many of us continue to rely on “what we hear” instead of researching this topic. It would SEEM to be a no-brainer that if the Farm Bureau okays GMOs, then they must be safe. If the FDA has not banned GMOs, they must be safe. If the EPA turns a blind eye to GMOs, they must not be harming our environment. Turns out that NONE of the above groups are testing for safety. The chemical/GMO seed corporations have been allowed to self-regulate. Since when is that appropriate?

    Let’s use some simple common sense, and address just one angle of this debate. GMO crops are designed to stand up to herbicides that kill the weeds (but not the crops). Statistics show that farmers are therefore spreading millions of pounds more herbicide than ever before to really knock out those weeds. This has encouraged the growth of “super weeds” which resist herbicides, so stronger weed killers are used in an upward spiraling cycle. Testing shows these toxic herbicides are left behind in the soil which grows our food. Can this be healthy for the soil or the food that grows from it? Are toxic chemicals good for the farmworkers who are exposed to them? Is it possible that these herbicide toxins, which are showing up in the breast milk of nursing mothers, and in the fetal blood of pregnant women, are only harming the WEEDS but are safe in every way for all other life growing on our planet? Simple common sense, please. We have never before been so exposed to so much toxicity, or had such a prevalence of cancer and metabolic disorders.

    We are what we eat. What exactly is this stuff we’re eating?

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