Support Local Food Rights has drafted a Lane County Charter Amendment recognizing rights to a local food system, to seed heritage (seed saving), and banning genetically modified (GMO) agriculture countywide.
After several years of hard work, SLFR has weighed the campaign variables along with the advice of initiative experts and decided to suspend the Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County. The factors leading to this reluctant decision included:
· Our local farming community was largely supportive of the Ordinance. However, we were unable to identify farmers who would step forward to play an active role in helping the larger community understand its importance in protecting local agriculture.
· Educating the community about the human and environmental harms posed by GMOs is a complex process, given the misinformation generated by wealthy corporations benefiting from their use. This is underlined by the mythology of GMOs touted ability to feed the world (debunked by the Union of Concerned Scientists). Polls showed heartening support for our measure but not enough to signal eventual success.
· The donations we received from community members provided important support. That funding needed augmenting by large dollar donors who understand the importance of preventing GMOs from entering the local food system. For a variety of reasons, this funder group has decided against supporting any local efforts at this time.
We hope to return to this effort at a later date. Our ability to do so will depend on:
· Our success in waging the aerial herbicide ordinance campaign now underway. The lessons learned will no doubt strengthen our ability to mount future campaigns, potentially including one to keep GMOs out of local agriculture.
· Obtaining strong and cohesive participation from the farming community, including farmers who will step forward as ordinance educators and spokespersons.
· Sufficient evidence of support from large dollar donors.
· The resources to over-come the ambiguity voters have about the human health and environmental harms of GMOs.
We appreciate the commitment, energy, financial and other support given by the many people who acted on their belief that our local community has the right to protect ourselves and the environment from corporate harms like GMOs. Our work together on the Local Food System Ordinance has provided an important beginning in building a movement that is able to challenge corporate threats, whatever form they take.