by Rebel Fagin

This fall voters may be able to decide if they want to ban growing GMO food-like substances in Sonoma County. This doesn’t please the Corporate Death State and they’ll spend big bucks to defeat it. To them nature is a machine that can be tinkered with in the pursuit of short-term profits. Monsanto’s policies are a prime example of this false notion.

In 2002 Monsanto introduced Bt cotton seed in India. After eight years, 87% of all the cotton grown there was Bt cotton. Bt cotton is a sterile hybrid so farmers had to buy seeds every year. Farmers pledged their future crops, backed by their land deeds, to pay for these seeds. By 2010 the price of seeds had risen 8,000%. Farmers lost their farms. Many went out into their fields, drank Monsanto’s pesticide, and died. Over 300,000 farmers died this way. In August 2012 the state of Maharashtra, India banned Bt cotton.

Monsanto’s mix-n-match mentality has created combinations that never occur in nature. They’ve injected rat and human genes into trout, spider genes in goats, and human genes in corn and rice. Over 80% of GMOs are engineered for herbicide tolerance. We’re told this will reduce herbicide usage. From 1996 to 2003 herbicide use in the U.S. increased by 50,000,000 pounds.

GMOs aren’t labeled and over 90% of Americans want them labeled. Food & Water Watch is helping folks pass labeling laws state by state with their “Let Me Decide” campaign. The Non-GMO Project has established their own label for GMO avoidance. Look for the butterfly on the label. The Federal Organic seal also means no GMOs.

We know the GMO 4: cotton, corn, canola, and soy. Other modified food-like products include: sugar beets, yellow summer squash, alfalfa, zucchini, rice, flax, papaya, and trout. Ingredients derived from these products include amino acids, aspartame, ascorbic acid, citric acid, sodium citrate, ethanol, natural and artificial flavorings, high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, lactic acid, maltodextrins, molasses, monosodium glutamate, sucrose, textured vegetable protein (TVP), xanthan gum, vitamins, and yeast products.

Animal derived foods that get feed and other inputs containing possible GMO contamination include: trout, milk and milk products, beef, chicken, eggs, honey, and bee products.

In September 2014 Dow’s Enlist Duo seeds were approved by the USDA for corn and soy beans. Enlist Duo combines glyphosate and 2, 4-D into one herbicide-laden seed to combat increasingly resilient weeds. The use of this seed could increase the use of 2, 4-D by up to 600%. 2, 4-D is associated with birth defects, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and hormone disrupters.

The only people who want GMOs are people making money from them. To protect their investments California passed a seed law in 2015 banning non-commercial seed exchange if over three miles in distance. This legislation was met with defiant protests as folks traveled three miles and a smidgen to exchange seeds with their neighbors. Some even went to Sacramento.

In March 2004 a coalition of Mendocino family farmers, vineyard owners, health professionals, parents, and local government officials passed Measure H banning the growing of GMO plants and animals in Mendocino County. Mendocino farmers wanted to protect Mendocino’s clean reputation and with this law grown in Mendocino equals GMO free. This law is important to parents and medical professionals who want to protect the most vulnerable from allergies, infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, or new toxins.

Mendocino County was joined by Trinity, Marine, Santa Cruz, and Humboldt counties, as well as Jackson and Josephine counties in southern Oregon in creating a GMO Free Zone. In 2016 the voters of Sonoma County may have the opportunity to join them in creating a GMO Free block from the Monterey Bay into Oregon. You can contact and make this a reality. GMOs affect everyone from children to doctors to agriculturalists to consumers. Help stop their propagation in Sonoma County. Who wants spider webs in their wine?

Sources: Vandana Shiva at the Willits grange 9/7/15, Censored 2016 © Huff & Roth, Monsanto: A Corporate Profile © 2013 Food & Water Watch,,,,

Rebel Fagin writes for the Sonoma County Peace Press and