Activists, farmers, and concerned consumers across the U.S. and the world have been inspired and energized by the historic vote in Mendocino County California on March 2, 2004 that banned the production of genetically engineered crops and animals. Mendocino is the first of 3300 counties in the U.S to implement such a ban. Mendocino residents voted for the GE ban despite massive spending by the biotech industry ($700,000) and a non-stop barrage of misleading advertising and disinformation. For a grassroots report on this victory see: <http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/mendocino031104.cfm>
The Mendocino victory has rocked Monsanto and the biotech industry, who fear that grassroots activists across the U.S. and Canada will now follow Mendocino's example. As Allan Noe, vice-president of CropLife America, a front group representing Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta stated, "We don't want to see this pick up any steam. The activist community is well-known for championing causes and for going all out to fuel their beliefs."
Of course this is exactly what is happening. As Katrina Frey, an organic winemaker from Mendocino and a leader of the Proposition H ban put it: "Mendocino County is the first GMO-free County in the nation, and I am sure it will not be the last. There are currently nine other California Counties considering similar measures." Frey's sentiments are echoed by Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, who is fighting a crucial court battle against Monsanto in Canada's Supreme Court: "This is a great victory and a wonderful inspiration for farmers and consumers in the United States and Canada."
But now the Mendocino ban and future similar bans are under heavy attack. Informed sources have told the OCA that the Farm Bureau and the biotech lobby are spearheading an effort to introduce a bill in the California Senate that will nullify the Mendocino GMO ban and make it illegal for other California counties to pass similar laws. Legislative leaders under the sway of corporate agribusiness and the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, apparently feel they must stamp out "BioDemocracy" in California before it spreads any further. OCA and its allies are organizing a major campaign to stop or defeat this legislation. Last weekend we met in San Francisco and Berkeley with national anti-GE activists to plan this campaign. We are also approaching county elected officials in San Francisco and other areas to pass similar GMO bans. But we need your help to spread the word, organize city or county GE bans in your local area, and, most of all, we need donations to finance this crucial campaign.
Donations are urgently needed!
We need to raise at least $50,000 in the next 30 days from OCA members and supporters to defend the Mendocino victory and to spread similar bans throughout California, the U.S., and the Americas.
We believe this is the most crucial moment in the ten-year history of the anti-GE foods movement.