As some of you might already know, my name is Stacie Orell and I run the grassroots organization GMO Free NY. Our mission is to make GMO food labeling the law in New York State, and to that end I have been tirelessly advocating for the passage of legislation that would do so -- bill A.617 (in the Assembly) / S.485 (in the Senate). We all have the right to know what's in our food, how it's made, and to make informed choices when deciding what to eat. Unfortunately our federal government and the FDA have yet to reach that same conclusion. 64 countries around the world have granted their collective 3 billion citizens the right to know if their food has been genetically modified by passing labeling laws, but Americans are still dining in the dark and have been for almost 20 years.
I have been working on this issue full-time for almost four years now -- and have joined forces with a state-wide coalition comprised of consumer advocacy and environmental organizations such as Food & Water Watch, Consumers Union, NYPIRG, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Environmental Advocates of New York, NOFA-NY, and Natural Resources Defense Council. And I'd like to be able to keep doing doing this work full-time until we have achieved victory, which I am confident will happen in 2016! But I need your help.
While the bill was not passed by the NYS legislature in 2015, it was successfully voted through the Assembly's Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection and was moved through the Senate's Consumer Protection Committee -- and it had 70 Assembly cosponsors and 27 Senate cosponsors signed on in support before the legislature adjourned for the year in late June.
This might not seem like a big deal, but it is when you consider the bigger picture. The bill has been languishing in Albany since 2001 (yes, you read that correctly -- there has been a GMO labeling bill introduced every year in NYS since 2001!). And we're up against some of the biggest opponents in the business world -- the agrichemial and big food industry. They've spent millions over the past several years in campaign donations and lobbying expenses to kill the bill! So the fact that it was successfully passed through ANY committees is a reflection of increasing awareness and support for GMO labeling as well as a function of the work being done by advocates such as myself, my fellow coalition members, and by activists such as yourselves!
testimony at a NY Assembly hearing for the bill in July 2013; to my left
are Patty Lovera of Food & Water Watch and Andrew Kimbrell of
Center for Food Safety.)
In order to keep me off the streets and
right here in front of my computer where I belong -- running the GMO
Free NY website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed -- but also with
leading grassroots actions for GMO labeling, creating educational
materials, organizing and speaking at events, traveling to Albany and
other locales to meet with legislators, and more -- I need your help.
Any amount you can donate through my GoFundMe page
would be most appreciated and put to good use. Since GMO Free NY is not
a legal entity (I didn't want to spend the money necessary to
incorporate as a non-profit), donations are unfortunately not
tax-deductible. Hopefully this won't stop you from supporting my efforts
-- I promise you will be getting a lot of bang for your buck since I am
beyond driven to get this legislation passed. We can't rely on Congress
or the FDA to do what's right -- we have to make it happen ourselves at
the state level! Please give what you can to support me and my work to
pass GMO labeling legislation in NYS!
(Me and bill A.617 sponsor Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal; I'm the one in sunglasses.)
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