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 Erica Shuhler on September 28, 2010 at 11:23pm
Are you all aware of the GE salmon debate currently playing out? Send a comment to the FDA, asap!
Google "gmo salmon" for more information.
Comment by Heather K on August 23, 2010 at 8:29pm
Local GMO Info: Last week I spoke with a farmer from Acme (upper south fork nooksack river watershed). She said she suspects the local valley sweet corn has had some cross fertilization from corn grown for silage (cow food). She reported that many of the local farmers are being sold Round-up Ready Corn without being educated on the damage it can cause. This is sad news for a special valley!
This valley also has one of our best family-farm seed-grower businesses!

The south fork valley will also need broad community support in their attempts to also protect the steep hillside forests from being harvested, which has resulted in major land-slides over the past couple years, some coming very close to homes.
Comment by Wendy Courtemanche on August 21, 2010 at 1:57pm
thanks for posting this action alert, Brian.
Comment by Brian Kerkvliet on August 19, 2010 at 9:32pm
Now's Your Chance to Stop Monsanto's FrankenSugar!
Court Blocks Future Crops of Monsanto's Genetically Engineered "RoundUp Ready" Sugar Beets...

...Unless the USDA Completes an Environmental Impact Statement and Decides Again to Deregulate

The Center for Food Safety has won an important legal victory in the fight to stop the spread of untested and hazardous genetically engineered crops. After ruling that the USDA (under president George W. Bush) shouldn't have approved genetically engineered sugar beets without assessing the Frankencrop's potential to contaminate conventional and organic varieties, a federal judge has blocked future crops of Monsanto's genetically engineered RoundUp Ready sugar beets. Monsanto's GE sugar beets now comprise 95% of the nation's sugar beet harvest.

The ball is in the USDA's court. The pro-biotech sugar industry is urging the USDA to rush through an Environmental Impact Statement so they can plant a new crop of Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets next year.

The only thing that can stop Monsanto's sugar beets is a massive public outcry. The Center for Food Safety's legal work has given the USDA, under President Obama, the opportunity to do the right thing.

Now's our chance to press Obama's USDA to protect biodiversity and human health from contamination with FrankenGenes that never should have been released into nature or the food system!

Comment by Linda J Fels on July 5, 2010 at 10:10pm
According to GM Watch, the media got the spin wrong on that Supreme Court decision. Here's an article that explains it:

How the media got GM alfalfa wrong
Lisa J. Bunin
June 24 2010

(With all the confusion around about the recent Supreme Court ruling, we wanted to share this missive from Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D. of the Center for Food Safety. –Anna & Kate)

The media got it wrong and let the public down when it erroneously reported Monsanto's wholesale victory in its Supreme Court appeal of the GM alfalfa case — the first-ever Supreme Court case on GMOs (Monsanto Co. v Geertson Seed Farms). Despite claims and headlines to the contrary, Monsanto is still prohibited from selling and planting its Roundup Ready GM alfalfa. The true victors in the case are farmers, consumers and environmentalists who have argued that planting GM alfalfa would contaminate conventional and organic crops and lead to spraying noxious pesticides in regions where over 90% of alfalfa farmers do not use or need them.

So, why did the press get it so wrong? Monsanto hit the press early and convincingly and the press failed to do its due diligence by corroborating Monsanto’s facts with both sides in the case. It should have known better and acted more carefully despite the rush to get the first story published, but it didn’t. Monsanto's Goliath PR machine succeeded in framing the Supreme Court decision as a slam dunk in its favor, to head off a drop in its stock market price. The real news — that it still can’t sell its patented GM alfalfa — would surely have driven impatient investors to sell their stocks.

Not surprisingly, shortly after the publication of multiple stories announcing Monsanto’s unequivocal win, an alternative narrative began to circulate on the web and people started asking questions about whether Monsanto actually “won” the case and what it meant to “win” the case anyway. Fulfilling the role of David against Goliath, bloggers exposed how the rightful victors had been unfairly slain by the press due to the unsavory alliance between the Goliath biotech giant and the major media.

The answer to the question of “who really won the case,” requires examining on what grounds Monsanto appealed to the Supreme Court. Specifically, Monsanto asked the court to reconsider the lower court decision in the GM alfalfa case by: (1) lifting the injunction on GMO alfalfa, (2) allowing the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa, and (3) not allowing contamination from GMO crops to be considered “irreparable harm.”
In truth, the Court only ruled on Monsanto’s first request, which it affirmed by stating that the injunction was too broad to be allowed to remain in place. However, it ruled in favor of the farmers and Center for Food Safety on the two other remaining issues, which in many ways are even more important. First, the Court did not overrule the lower court’s ban on the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa and, therefore, the ban remains intact. Moreover, the Court’s decision to set aside the injunction was based, in part, on the fact that a prohibition on GMO planting was already in effect, due to the lower court’s ruling and, therefore, the injunction was duplicative overkill. Second, the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that the threat of GMO contamination was a sufficient cause of environmental and economic harm to support future challenges on GMOs. Unfortunately, these critical details about the Supreme Court’s decision were omitted in early press accounts, making it
look as though Monsanto prevailed in its quest to deregulate GM alfalfa.

Two and three days later, the real story about the outcome of the GM alfalfa Supreme Court case has emerged in some press accounts. Yet, any analysis about the need for civil society to demand greater corporate accountability in the face of government inaction to halt threats of GMO contamination has yet to surface in the mainstream media. Clearly, the greatest significance of this case is that it shows how Goliath corporations, like Monsanto, BP and the rest, can be held accountable for their actions by members of civil society who have the courage to take on the role of David in the battle to protect our environment and food supply.

# # #

Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D. is the Organic Policy Coordinator at the Center for Food Safety, a national, non-profit, membership organization, founded in 1997, that works to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture.
Comment by Wendy Courtemanche on June 22, 2010 at 10:57am
Published on Monday, June 21, 2010 by Reuters
Court Backs Monsanto on Biotech Seed Sales

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a federal judge had erred in prohibiting the planting of Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa seed until a federal government agency completed a detailed environmental review.

By a 7-to-1 vote, the justices reversed the lower-court ruling in their first decision involving genetically modified crops. At issue in the case was an environmental impact study on how the Roundup Ready seed could affect nearby crops.

Environmental groups and conventional seed companies, led by Geertson Seed Farms, had sued the Agriculture Department in 2006 to force it to rescind its approval of the Monsanto alfalfa seed until it did a full environmental study.

Monsanto, based in St. Louis, intervened on the government’s side in the case, and had appealed to the Supreme Court.

Alfalfa is the fourth-largest crop grown in the United States, covering about 23 million acres annually, Monsanto has said.

United States District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco issued the injunction barring the nationwide planting of the alfalfa seeds pending the environmental review. His decision was upheld by a federal appeals court.

In the Supreme Court’s main ruling, Justice Samuel Alito said the district court had abused its discretion in barring the Agriculture Department agency from carrying out a partial deregulation and in prohibiting the planting of the seeds, pending the completion of the environmental review.

Judge Alito also said in the opinion that the federal judge had erred in entering the nationwide injunction against planting the seeds.

Shares of Monsanto were up 0.4 percent at $50.57 in morning trading.
Comment by Renata Beata Kowalczyk on May 16, 2010 at 1:12pm
Nope Megan, I am talking about Stephanie. Let me know if you want to be connected with her. All the best!
Comment by Megan Westgate on May 14, 2010 at 6:08pm
Thanks Renata! I'm guessing you may be talking about Trudy? She and I work a lot together--she is amazing! This is an issue that really brings out the passion in people!
Comment by Renata Beata Kowalczyk on May 14, 2010 at 6:01pm
Megan, I want to connect you with someone who is high up at PCC in Seattle and is taking on elimination of GMO as her life mission. I think there is great opportunity to collaborate. Please email me at I will introduce two of you.
Comment by Megan Westgate on May 13, 2010 at 2:02pm
I'm really glad to see this group. I am the Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project (, a national organization, and am looking forward to helping raise awareness locally! I am also on the Board of the Community Food Co-op and the Co-op will be a great ally in raising GMO awareness. For any of you that are on Facebook, the Non-GMO Project's page there has daily updates on GMO news, so it's a useful resource if you're interested:

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