Food & Water Watch’s Local Coordinators: Warriors on the Front Lines of Washington’s Battle to Label GE Foods
By Julia DeGraw
Washington state is poised to make history by becoming the first state to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. While the opposition in this fight is well funded it only has the support of biotech and chemical companies. We – the Yes on 522 camp – have the support of tens of thousands of Washingtonians who believe they have a right to know what’s in their foods. We will not win this campaign by outspending the opposition but we can win it with people power, which is why we’re excited to introduce you to some of Food & Water Watch’s local coordinators leading the charge to get out the vote and pass the GE food labeling bill (I-522).
Cindy Black hails from Seattle and has been engaged on this issue from the beginning. Right after I-522 was certified by the Secretary of State, Cindy was ready to hit the ground running to drum up the grassroots support to ensure a win on GE food labeling in Washington State.
Sarah Stolar, also from Seattle, got involved very early on in the campaign as well. As a mother, she wants to know whether or not the food she is feeding her daughter has been genetically engineered and she knows she’s not alone. She joined the fight to ensure that every mother has the right to choose whether or not to feed GE foods her children.
Rachel Tomczek in Redmond was a food activist even before I-522 came along. She knows that one of the most important ways to create a better food system is to get civically engaged, volunteer with groups advocating for a better food system, and to bring whatever special skills or passion that you personally have to the work that you’re doing. You can follow her activism at her own blog: http://foodspaces.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-journey-part-3.html.
Ryan Griffith hails from La Center and is a college student at Washington State University in Vancouver. He’s been an ardent supporter of I-522 all along and is working hard on his college campus to educate young voters about the issue, making sure they are registered and that they don’t forget to make history by voting yes on the GE food labeling initiative.
Sandy Cole is from Vancouver and she loves use her time as a retiree to fish and fight for a better food system. She doesn’t want to consume GE foods and she thinks everyone has a right to choose whether or not they do as well.
Temple Lentz is also from Vancouver and is finding time in addition to campaigning to become a freeholder for Clark County to support the Yes on 522 effort. Temple has created a name for herself in the regional blogosphere and she brings her talent, passion and connections to the campaign to demand GE food labeling in Washington State.
Roben White calls Vancouver home and has been growing his own food as well as canning it to be enjoyed year round for years. While he enjoys ensuring his own access to healthy local food and sharing it with his friends and family, he knows that this is not a model everyone can follow. He believes consumers have a right to know what’s in the food they buy in the supermarket. Roben was also instrumental in Washington AFL-CIO’s endorsement of I-522 and he brings years of progressive campaign experience in Southwest Washington to the Yes on 522 campaign.
Katy Wert joined the GMO food labeling fight in Vancouver by getting her employer at the time, Mint Tea, to endorse and support the Yes on 522 campaign. She has been supporting the campaign almost from the beginning by helping to get local businesses endorsing the GMO food labeling initiative because she knows that in addition to people power we also need the support of businesses and local groups to push the campaign to victory.
While this group is going above and beyond to score a victory for Washington consumers, we can all do our part to support the campaign – click here to phone bank and here to contribute funds, even if you don’t live in Washington. And stay tuned for more on the Yes on 522 campaign.