The old adage “we are what we eat,” has implications that are causing growing concern.
The Shuswap Seed Savers will highlight some of those concerns on Sunday by showing Genetic Roulette Sunday afternoon, Nov. 18.
The film, by bestselling author Jeffrey M. Smith, documents how genetically engineered foods (GMO) could harm you and your family.
But Smith’s mesmerizing film also shines a bright light of hope that we can reclaim our health and our food systems.
A member of Shuswap Seed Savers, June Griswold says the group formed in 1995 because of growing concern that non-GMO heritage seeds would become rare.
Members of the group began saving heritage seeds and sharing them in annual events in Enderby. As interest and participation grew, the group moved from venue to venue until they settled in Armstrong’s A.L. Fortune School.
Attendance at last April’s 18th annual Seed Swap & Sale totalled more than 825 and Griswold has already booked the school for next April.
“That was the number who paid admission but we knew there were lots of other people around,” says Griswold. She says the scandal surrounding the failure of a California proposition to label GMO foods is the result of another strong-arm effort by big business, but the situation has, at least, raised awareness of the risks.
Griswold is hoping to attract a large audience to Sunday’s event in order to educate community members to the risks of eating GM foods.
Smith, author of the world’s bestselling books on GMOs, Seeds of Deception, is a leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices.
His film presents never-before-seen-evidence that points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the North American population, especially among children.
“Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn,” cautions a website promoting the film. “Monsanto’s strong-arm tactics, the FDA’s fraudulent policies and how the USDA ignores a growing health emergency are also laid bare. This sometimes shocking film may change your diet, help you protect your family and accelerate the consumer tipping point against genetically modified organisms.”
Other efforts are being made to encourage a close-to-home diet too.
The provincial Ministry of Agriculture recently announced funding a Buy Local Program that will offer applicants matching funds from $5,000 to $100,000 to launch or expand local food marketing campaigns.
Eligible organizations include associations, co-operatives, marketing boards, Aboriginal groups, companies and non-profit organizations.
The campaigns can promote B.C. food, seafood, agricultural products, agri-tourism and include in-store promotions, social media or web campaigns, traditional advertising and on-product labelling.
“Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key commitment of government’s Agrifoods Strategy, a component of the B.C. Jobs Plan, to lead the agrifoods sector growth into a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017,” says a press release announcing the funding.
And Monday morning, Care2, a popular petition site, posted the following petition:
“In today’s food production system, crop diversity is shrinking, family farms are struggling, and even something as simple as a tomato isn’t nearly as good for us as it was 50 years ago,” noted the website, pointing out there exists a worldwide movement of small farmers around the world who are already working with nature to build a better food system.
Not only are subscribers asked to sign the petition, but pledge to support small farmers, buy local, organic and fair trade whenever possible; learn more about where food comes from and how it is produced and, with resources and tools from the USC Canada Seeds of Survival program, discover the web of food diversity that farmers have nurtured globally for thousands of years.
Genetic Roulette will be shown at 2 p.m. Nov. 18 at the SASCU Downtown Activity Centre. There will be displays of information by Shuswap Seed Savers, Bee-SAFE, Shuswap Food Action Group and Shuswap in Transition.