Transition Whatcom

GMO Awareness and Action


GMO Awareness and Action

Genetically Modified Organisms have a potentially disastrous impact food resilience, seed saving, and overall health of our food system. Lets work to prohibit GMOs within Whatcom county and toward labeling laws on food containing GMO ingredients.

Members: 35
Latest Activity: Jun 26, 2014

Discussion Forum

"Anti-Ecological and Authoritarian"

Started by David MacLeod Nov 28, 2012. 0 Replies

Here's an interesting comment from blogger Ran Prieur:"California, a liberal state, has soundly defeated labeling of genetically modified…Continue

Initiative Measure No. 522 to Label GMO foods

Started by Stephanie Davis Oct 8, 2012. 0 Replies

Signatures are currently being gathered for Initiative 522. All signatures must be submitted to the state by the end of the year. Petitions can be signed at either of the Food Co-ops or Scratch and…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Stephen Trinkaus on October 8, 2012 at 7:56am

Before I opened my business, in the mid-1990's, I explored the option of buying from non-certified organic farmers who claimed to be farming organic (or better) anyway.  What I discovered appalled me - specifically how these farmers were not organic at all, and many used Round-Up and other toxic synthetic chemicals.  Not all of the farmers did this, of course, but it was enough to convince me of the importance of third party certification.  Although I still find the USDA definitions of organic lacking, I still favor organic certification over those who forgo it.  We obviously have a disagreement here, and I doubt either one of us is going to convince the other.  I am not apologizing to you, and if anything I think you owe a lot of people an apology - those who you have put down, called names and otherwise insulted over the years.  You bully people, Walter, plain and simple.  You couldn't even help buy call me a name in your last comment -and it is a long string of names you have called me over the last couple months (and before that, but I'm not sure if you will remember those interactions.)  I may be wasting my time here, but it has bothered me for some time that this community allows you to get away with the way you treat people without calling you on it.  Consider yourself called out, and politely asked to stop.  Thank you and good bye.  

Comment by Stephen Trinkaus on October 7, 2012 at 5:50pm


We can agree that the standards are far from perfect.  I also agree with you to a point that the organic movement has been co-opted by large corporations and that they use the word "organic" as a marketing tool far more than a guiding philosophy.  Check my original comment below when I referred to these corporations following the letter of the organic law and not the spirit of the law, and that these same people and corporations work to water down the law more than they already have.  In my almost 20 years in the field of sustainable agriculture, I have my own stories of unimaginable deceptions within the organic industry.  There is a lot to be outraged about.  Really, I think there is a wide range of things we agree on, especially as far as organic "standards" and the organic "industry".  I even would venture to say that we may agree on more things than disagree.  However, that is not my point here.  Really, I have two points that I will try to explain here.

My first point is that you put down people who do not agree with you or who do not share your strategy.  You have put down me, my store, and the farmers we buy from as sell-outs (and worse) on many occasions.  I think that we are all people trying to do the best we can in an incredibly corrupt and dishonest system.  Trying to live or advocate for more sustainable ways of doing things in a capitalist industrial economy is often making a series of decisions between lesser evils - often there is no choice to follow an ideal path, although many of us strive to nonetheless.  I can see that struggle all around me, and I can see that struggle in  you.  But why do you find the need to put down and otherwise insult others who have the same goals that you do?  Wouldn't it be more productive to see where we overlap and work together?  The beast we fight is so powerful.  Our divisions keep us in check and unable to challenge the beast in any meaningful way.  I would even go so far as to say that the media-industrial complex goes so far as to exploit and magnify our differences so that we cannot effectively organize to challenge the status quo.

My second point is that just because we disagree on how to deal with the glaring imperfections in the organic standards, and the deceptions of the large corporations that have attempted to co-opt the movement, does not mean that we are on different sides.  We are on the same sides, but have different tactics!  Apart from the fact that you name-call and otherwise put down those who disagree with you, I actually respect your position and your tactics.  It might appear to you that people who have chosen to work to whatever extent within the organic standards are your adversaries, but I assure you that they (or we) are not.  We share the same anger, frustration and fears that you do.  Do you see in any way that we are on the same side here?  Do you see in any way that your put-downs of my store, of me, of local organic farmers, of local organic value-added producers, etc are counter-productive and insulting?

It is in now way the ideals you have that I object to.  I like what you have to say, but the way you go about putting your ideas out there is why I have responded so strongly to you.  

Maybe we should sit down and have tea or coffee sometime.  You may be surprised to know that the coffee we serve in Trapeze is not certified organic because I found that wild-harvested, the non-certified organic coffee beans we use are the most sustainable ones we could find and offer the most equitable arrangement for the growers and pickers.  And, if I thought that the products from your farm offered a level of integrity that couldn't be found locally elsewhere, I would not hesitate to buy them either.  Get it?

Comment by Stephen Trinkaus on October 7, 2012 at 4:34pm

Walter - Criticism I can handle.  I have even gotten used to people belittling those who disagree with them and name calling.  Just every once in a while someone needs to stand up to bullies like you.  You take your show on the road to many public forums - here, on the Herald website, and I even remember being on a food and farming panel with you where you pulled the same crap.  Your put-downs and insults are counter-productive and show a level of contempt that I do not appreciate in this community that I value so much.  

Comment by Stephen Trinkaus on October 7, 2012 at 2:09pm


There are plenty of small-scale local farmers who choose to certify organic.  Also, most people who choose to eat organic food prefer to have their food certified by a third-party agency.  In other words, there are plenty of options for stores that specialize in organic foods to stock their shelves with products that both support small scale local organic farmers with high integrity and people who want the third party certification.  If there were not enough certified organic local farmers, operations such as yours would be the logical option.  But why penalize those who choose to certify just because you have an ax to grind with the USDA standards?  You are continuing to drive a wedge and create divisiveness where none need exist.  I hope instead that you will join those of us who actively advocate for stricter organic standards, seek to ban toxic synthetic agricultural chemicals, and outlaw all GMO's.  In this movement there is much more we all have in common than separates us.  Horizontal hostility will only make the struggle more difficult and dissuade others from joining it.

In my mind the true adversaries in this struggle are those who comply with the letter of the organic law, and not the spirit of the law.  Those are the same people and companies that are fighting the GMO labeling law, and advocating for looser rather than stricter organic standards.  

There are many tactics that will serve us to reach a more sustainable and healthier food system.  If we continually shut down all those who don't agree to the letter with the tactics we prefer, we will get nowhere fast.  For example, I don't agree that a boycott of these companies is necessarily the best tactic, but I will still support this boycott in my own way, and I sure as hell am not going to insult and attack those who advocate it because I think that other sets of tactics would be more effective.  

I'm sure none of this will convince you otherwise Walter, because you continually beat the same dead horse and attack the same people with no effective result other than to piss people off.  However, someone needs to occasionally call BS on your statements because they are full of factual inaccuracies and thinly veiled insults.  As someone whose life's passion it is to create a better food system, I will gladly play that role.

Comment by Stephanie Davis on October 7, 2012 at 12:35pm

A friend shared this with me a few months ago, though some of you may be interested.

Boycott the Organic and 'Natural' Traitor Brands Whose Parent Companies Oppose Your Right to Know

In recent weeks, several public interest groups, including the Organic Consumers Association, Cornucopia Institute,, and Natural News, have pointed out the gross hypocrisy and greed of large food and beverage corporations selling billions of dollars of organic and natural food, while meanwhile bankrolling the industry opposition to GMO labeling. These organic and “natural” traitor companies and brands include: Kellogg’s (Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms); General Mills (Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar); Dean Foods (Horizon, Silk, White Wave); Smucker’s (R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic); Coca-Cola (Honest Tea, Odwalla); Safeway (“O” Organics); Kraft (Boca Burgers and Back to Nature); Con-Agra (Orville Redenbacher’s Organic, Hunt’s Organic, Lightlife); and PepsiCo (Naked Juice, Tostito’s Organic, Tropicana Organic). All of these companies are profiting from the sale of billions of dollars of their proprietary organic and “natural” food brands while at the same time funneling large sums of money to the Monsanto-led campaign to defeat the November 6th GMO labeling ballot initiative (Proposition 37) in California.

We need to send a clear message to these traitor brands, in the only language they understand: lost profits and lower sales. Today, the Organic Consumers Association and are formally calling for a boycott of 7 organic and “natural” brands.

Read More and Take Action

Comment by Brian Kerkvliet on January 16, 2012 at 3:08pm

On January 31, family farmers will take part in the first phase of a court case filed to protect farmers from genetic trespass by Monsanto’s GMO seed, which contaminates organic and non-GMO farmer’s crops and opens them up to abusive lawsuits. In the past two decades, Monsanto’s seed monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets. 

In many cases farmers are forced to stop growing certain organic and conventional crops to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto admits to filing 144 lawsuits against America’s family farmers, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts. Due to these aggressive lawsuits, Monsanto has created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy. 

Farmers need your voice today. Please spread the word.

Comment by David MacLeod on October 14, 2011 at 9:40am

Check out this event, which will be of interest to this group:



Friday 21 October 2011, 3:00 pm, Fraser Hall 4

Farmers have been saving seeds since the dawn of agriculture,
but that practice and crop diversity are threatened by consolidation
of seed ownership by a handful of large chemical and pharmaceutical
corporations. Agricultural resiliency and the integrity of
neighboring ecosystems are further threatened by promotion of
transgenic (GMO) crops by those same companies. Corporate control
often is exacerbated by regulatory capture of the agencies
charged with protecting farmers, the public, and the environment.
Few farmers have succeeded in resisting this transformation of the
agricultural system. Percy Schmeiser is one of those rare farmers,
and his story is compelling.


More info:

Comment by Roseanne on September 5, 2011 at 11:21pm


I have signed up for more information from about supporting this march here in Bellingham.

Comment by Linda J Fels on September 5, 2011 at 6:06pm
Just to give you all a heads up of an event here in Bellingham during the Right2Know March.  Tanja Kanoa and I are giving a presentation on the Health Risks of GMO Foods on October 11th at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.  See the event under the EVENTS tab for more info.  This will be our third presentation this year and our largest venue.  We were both trained last year by Jeffery Smith in how to present this information.
Comment by Roseanne on August 13, 2011 at 12:18am

There will be an organized march in October from New York to Washington DC demanding the labeling of genetically modified products in our food by the Right2Know community for anyone who would like to participate or support the march, here is their website:



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