Tag Archives: Arran Stephens

Book Launch of Wood Storms, Wild Canvas

“Weaving all these wonderful people into a warm blanket of appreciation, the memories of tonight should be something you would want to wrap yourself up in.  So set sail with your book, Godfrey, and please ride on the sea of your admirers, friends and family.  And may we help carry you to beyond the horizon beyond Godfrey’s navigation, beyond the now”

Above are words from the emcee of the evening: the enchanting Misty Britskaya, singer, rapper, artist, muse.  Below she is posing next to “Square Diamond.”  The long-awaited book was finally launched on the 75th Birthday of Uncle Godfrey at the historic Swans, owned by the University of Victoria with Victoria’s finest local art including Godfrey’s portrait of Michael Williams and the 11.5 tall Klukchitl red cedar abstract column.

Misty to crop

10 Times Chief (Nakapinkim) Tony Hunt, wore the ceremonial blanket weaved by his grandmother in the 1800s.  As a hereditary chief, Tony Hunt has only ever recognized two people as family in his big house in Fort Rupert.  One is Godfrey.  The two were regaled in these beautiful blankets (one of which has been photographed as the cover of a book).  The Chief then spoke at length of his admiration of Godfrey’s work and the frustration we fans have with Godfrey’s refusal to deal with galleries.  Chief Tony Hunt also spoke at length about how everywhere he travelled around the world, exhibiting his own art work, he got to see works of all the famous artists around the world.  He kept saying to himself, “My friend Godfrey’s better than that”. We all nodded. Yep…

unnamed-1

unnamed(photos of Chief Tony Hunt and Godfrey by Aija Steele)

Robert Amos, writer and artist spoke next.  Robert Amos has probably published more articles about Godfrey than anyone else.  Check out his review http://www.timescolonist.com/robert-amos-two-artists-with-wildly-different-visions-1.1466058 He talked about finding more about this legendary artist when he moved to the West Coast.  One of Robert’s cousins had dropped out of school in back east and made it out to the Wild West Coast in the 1960s.  But guess what? Godfrey was already there.  As Robert famously has written, “Godfrey never dropped out, he was already out there”.

DSC_0498(from left Chief Tony Hunt, Robert Amos, Godfrey, Luis Merino)

Arran Stephens, my dad, read from the book.  His lines are beautiful, starting with the phrase, “When my brother Godfrey was made, the mould, like the clamshell he climbed out of, was broken.”

unnamed-4above left: Chief Tony Hunt, Godfrey and Arran

DSC_0452

My parents Ratana and Arran with Chief Tony Hunt above.  Their generous support of me and this project made this book a reality.  Peter Grant gave the book lavish praise, making me feel honoured and a little bashful to have been able to tie it all together with such talented, accomplished individuals.

Gof alex arran megan aijaAbove: Arran, Godfrey, Alex Von Kleist, Megan Parris and Aija Steele.

Alex Von Kleist told a few stories about Godfrey whooshing into his life many summers ago.  Alex brought us into a scene when Bill Reid once spent about half an hour looking at a small yellow cedar Abstract of Godfrey’s and explaining it to him.  Masterful- as the abstract turned about its base, new images and hidden iconography were uncovered at every degree. Artist Luis Merino, whose portrait and words grace the book, said some delightful words in Spanish (does anyone know what cabron means?!).

DSC_0491

Aija Steele is the main photographer of the book.  Aija came over from Duck Creek Galley on Salt Spring Island, where she sells her photography, enhanced prints and original Godfrey Stephens.  (The Square Diamond, a limited giclee reproduction in the photo with Misty is currently for sale).  She is standing with film-maker Peter Campbell, of Gumboot Productions below. Thanks again to Tessa Lloyd for this photo:

Tessa photo Peter and Aija

We missed several important peeps. Lloyd Kahn, writer, publisher, blogger and photographer extraordinaire inspired me to make this book.  Lloyd sent good wishes from California. Check out his review http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.ca/2014/10/new-book-of-godfrey-stephens-art-just.html Also sorely missed were Elsie Johnson, Sarah Chritchley, Marial Shea, Jan Westendorp, Bruce Stotesbury, photographer Doug Van Sickle, Joe Martin the master canoe carver, and artist Tilikum Redding.  David Carey, who designed the beautiful cover and some book elements was there, listening to praise of his work.  Below I am next to there “Swamp Pookmis” painting, getting ready to give Godfrey a book.

DSC_0525

Eventually, I presented Godfrey with a book.  He wasn’t allowed to even touch a copy of this book until his Birthday on Tuesday.  It was exciting and thrilling.  I’m totally relieved that it’s out and he can’t say anything about it!  (He wanted me to write the book in incomprehensible haikus and fill up every inch of white space with lots of random images of his work.  Of course I didn’t and didn’t want him to complain until it was too late.  I’m happy that it’s too late.)

DSC_0528

Here is my dear friend Megan Parris, Godfrey’s wife.

DSC_0547

I was thrilled by this delegation of Yorkies below and we signed a book for the school library.

Yorkies legs

Mariner and musician John Van Tamelin was also there, another legend.  Writer and Elephant Earth Initiative co-founder Dag Goering and film-maker Peter Campbell documented this historic event.  Can’t wait to see their respective photos and film!!!! Tessa Lloyd, Owen Matthews plus Victoria City Councillor Pam Madoff were there – Godfrey had done a stunning portrait of Pam’s late partner Nick Bawlf that I wanted to put in the book.  Sadly, it didn’t fit but it is masterful.  I met the writer and artist Philip Willey, a cool British cat who hitchhiked with Godfrey around the world.  Check out his review of the at http://exhibit-v.blogspot.ca/2014/10/godfrey-stephens-wood-storms-wild.html Former Environment Minister David and Sandra Anderson attended as did singer-songwriter Kristin Sweetland.  Here she is with Misty and Godfrey behind the painting “Moss Street Nuvo.”

Kirsten and misty

Below I’m giving famous artist Joe David his copy of the book.  I wanted to include an early oil portrait of Joe that Godfrey did in the 70s or 80s but it didn’t photograph well enough to print in the book 😦

DSC_0536

It would have gone perfectly with Joe’s beautiful words in Wood Storms, Wild Canvas: “Godfrey is one of my all time very favourite artists. And Godfrey is a true artist in every sense of the word and concept.  He is a cultural and national treasure and unfortunately not as many people know this as should.  But who are we to know the true workings of his soul, as it just might be that fame and fuss over him might spoil and alter his genius. ”

Godfrey signed dozens of books.  Here is a close-up of a book for his pal Douglas Henderson.  The next two photos by Tessa Lloyd:

Tessa photo Douglas Henerson Tessa photo Henderson

DSC_0568

Writer and co-founder of the Elephant-Earth Initiative Maria Coffey gave us a beautiful reading.  She shared the enchanting words of missing mariner and dear friend Paul Clark.  They begin as follows “Godfrey’s muse is the sea, the silver thread where the ocean folds into the embrace of land.  Here every sense is engaged: light is refracted, atmosphere is ozone rich and the Voice is always beckoning.”

DSC_0577

I want to thank my husband Pascal for everything.  I have been with him through thick and thin and up and down.  It is because of him and the life we have built that I am able to do all the things I do.  A year ago I could barely speak.  After two major surgeries and months of rehabilitation, I learned to walk, talk and write again.  Pascal is the lode-stone and the rebar in our home and I am blessed and grateful.  Here he is with Megan Parris and Chief Tony Hunt (photo by Tessa Lloyd).

Tessa photo Pascal Chief Megan

Here is the poster for a our first ever book-signing Saturday November 1st at Munro’s Books.

WSWCBookSigningFinal

Thanks to Misty for the photos of me and Godfrey, to Diya for many of the other photos in this post, and to Tessa Lloyd and Aija Steele for letting me use some of their photos.  I’ve credited where possible!

Style-Diet Shot – Arran

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Dad in Italy.  Wearing locally-made.  (It’s easy to do when you’re in Italy)photo (5)

The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

522 Phone Bank

People who want to help support Washington’s Labelling campaign… I have good news!

You can!

From anywhere in the world even in Canada.  I’m not talking financially (although that would be appreciated go to yeson522.com so that they can fund their ads). I’m talking with your time and your wonderful God-Given Gift of the Gab!  That handful of big multinational corporations are spreading lies and waging a deceitful campaign just like they did last year in California.  In Washington however, many of these corporate donors tried to hide their identity.  They were slapped by a lawsuit by none other than Washington State’s Attorney General to get them to comply with campaign rules.

Those monster multinational corporations who oppose the measure say that “labelling is incomplete”.  That it’s not useful given that over half the food sold wouldn’t be covered.  Don’t be fooled by them – they would oppose labelling on any grounds.  The group said it is their number one priority to defeat labelling. They argue that incomplete labelling wouldn’t cover most GE foods, such as restaurants, food service.  Since when is your home delivery pizza labelled? Even in Europe food service isn’t labelled?!  522 affects the  labelling of people food you buy in a grocery store.  Close to 70 percent of the world’s population lives in a nation that requires labelling of GMOs.

Canada and the US are the only two developed countries that don’t have mandatory GMO labelling.  Can you think of anything more important than knowing what you put in the sacred temple of your body?

The ballots are out.  Washington State votes by mail.  Nov 5th is the deadline.  I’ve done phone banking several times over the last week.  It’s simple, and it doesn’t cost a cent for the phone call because the computer calls you!  Here are some happy volunteers clarifying the truth to Washingtonians last week at Nature’s Path!

DSC_0352

My Brother Arjan working though dinner (Non-GMO of course).

DSC_0346

Kyla a-phone banking with a smile.
DSC_0336My Dad Arran and Erika in deep concentration.

DSC_0343Roy with a YES on 522 sticker!

Remind your Washington friends and family to Vote.  Let’s show those corporate bullies who are covering up the truth about their food.  These bullies and their deep pockets are the only thing coming between you and your right to know.  Let’s show them that their money should have gone to useful, constructive things like feeding the hungry and designing safer food.  Can you believe that they have no higher priority than preventing consumers from finding out the truth?

350, 000 Washingtonians signed the petition that brought this to ballot.   With thousands of endorsements, and thousands of contributors Yes on 522 has the backing of the people.  The question is, will the No side convince enough people who want labelling that the bill (designed along International Standards) is incomplete?  The outcome is going to be too close to call.  Next week, a local Seattle TV station has a pro GMO fairytale to tell.  If there is a time get involved, this is it.  Get involved on any and every level.  Dispel the darkness – Spread the glowing truth!

All you need is a phone and computer!  To get trained go to http://yeson522.com/volunteer-for-yes-on-522/

The deadline is Nov 5th so we have a week left to make history!

Dag Falck, the Expert, Replies

As the saying goes, let other people advise but never let them decide for you.

Yesterday, while gathering signatures for the GE FREE BC Petition, I met a working scientist with 3 biology degrees including a PhD, who only bought organic local food and was carrying his precious sleeping baby in a baby bjorn.  Guess what?  He was reluctant to sign the petition.  He knows the data about fertilizers creating a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the data about glyphosate toxins in fetal blood, the poisoning of water by atrazine, the death of bees by GMOs since the seeds are coated in neonictinoid pesticides.  He knows that and accepts that but was still unwilling to sign.  The GMOs we accept and grow right now in N. America – not the theory of them, not the hope of them, not the promise of them – are terribly catastrophically wrong for our planet, bees, health and society.    This scientist holding his baby said that he was holding out for the possibility that GE technology was in theory helpful (for Africans, Asians, for a remote possibility that they would solve future problems).  Again, we said that GMOS that are grown right now were not solving anything especially given that over the long-run organic yields are higher that GMOs!  He hummed and hawed.

But Victory!  After a 10 minute debate – we convinced him to sign.  It was the hardest-earned signature from yesterday!

I wanted to formally address Amy’s reply from yesterday.  Not only Amy brought this up but several others too – Amy is a political scientist.  She asked important questions that were also asked by thinkers and scholars, University Professors who are using their powerful logic and splendid gifts of deduction to understand GMOs (as they are currently grown in N.America for N. Americans).  I asked Dag Falk, Organic programs manager at Nature’s Path if he would respond to questions several of you asked me following the film screening about Organic.  He has spent his entire life advocating for organic methods. He answers Amy’s questions point by point.

Dag Falck, Organic Programs Manager, Nature's Path Foods

Dag Falck, Organic Programs Manager, Nature’s Path Foods

do you know for sure that certified organic does not include GMO? What about GMOs in grain that found its way into the food chain — feed that is given to cows/pigs/chickens?

What we know for sure is that Organic does not contain any GMO that was knowingly allowed to enter the product either through growing or handling.  Unfortunately we live in a polluted world where these pollutants in the last 17 years have started to include GMOs.  Imagine whale fat containing DDT which was banned in most developed countries decades ago?  So there is no safe place, there is no way to build a wall tall enough, As Arran Stephens said many years ago, “there is no wall tall enough to keep out GMO”.  We are all very sad that this is the case, and after we grieve for this most terrible and unforgivable fact, we need to shake our heads and take a hard look around and ask ourselves, what is the best protection I can give myself and my family from GMOs?  And the answer is that certified organic food, and food with credible standards and oversight like the Non GMO Project, are the best ways to do that.  Is it perfect? — no, but it’s the best there is, and let me tell you exactly how much better it is than conventional non organic food, or food where no effort has gone into protecting it.  Organic food production has strict rules about not using prohibited materials like pesticides, herbicides GMOs etc. ect.  Buffers are required towards any neighboring crop that uses any of these.  Harvesting equipment, silos, trucks etc used to handle crops must be either used exclusively for organic, or it must be cleaned and documented according to a very high standard.

Can contamination still happen?  Yes it can, and there is pesticides in millions of public wells in America, groundwater is polluted many places, rainwater contains industrial particles that fall out in rain.  It just simply cannot be avoided 100%, even if we really really want to.  But what organic does do is two things: A) it does not add any more to the pollution, because its forbidden to use any of the materials that pollute like pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s etc.  B) the contamination of organic products is miniscule compared to conventional crops.  Consider potatoes, sprayed routinely 12 times between planting and harvest, consider GMO corn or soy that is “stacked” and contain both BT toxin (a pesticide) in each cell of the plant including the corn and soy we eat, and Round Up Ready®, which means that every cell of the plant including what we eat is impervious to the pesticide Round Up ® or Glyphosate.  And it’s not just a little bit, it’s 100% present in entire fields- as a matter of fact it’s in 100% of over 80% of all cotton, corn, soy, canola and sugarbeet that is grown in North America.

If you’re not paying attention, it’s a foregone conclusion that each and every meal you eat contains large portions of 100% GMO ingredients.  The EU, and the Non GMO Project agrees on a threshold of 0.9% GMO contamination.  Anything above that is not allowed.  Organic foods don’t have the threshold, but attain a similar level through all the practices mentioned above.  It’s actually pretty good that we can limit our exposure by 99.1% just by choosing organic.

But I agree, it’s a crime and a terribly sad world to live in where there is no way to escape even this.  That’s why (besides eating organic) that I’m doing everything I can to set this straight,.

On a practical point, organic standards prohibit feeding animals anything that is GMO, so the only thing that could get into an animal feed would be unwanted contamination at the low levels mentioned.

 How can organic farmers be sure the food scraps they feed their chickens and the like are GMO free? 

Organic standards do not allow food scraps or anything else to be fed to certified organic animals unless it can be demonstrated and documented that the feed is not GMO.  So for instance a bakery could not have their waste used by an organic farmer as feed if the bakery used non certified organic corn soy or Canola oil at all.

How about GMO contaminated soil (from household composing) in which otherwise perfectly organic tomatoes would be grown in peoples backyards?

Organic standards do not allow composting of GMO substrates, and neither should any backyard gardener who is concerned about organic and non GMO.

It’s difficult to fight back, and to do everything to protect ourselves from GMO and pesticide pollution, but it is possible to make a huge difference, and one of the easiest ways is to support organic agriculture, the only system with a strict standard, an annual third party inspection, and a serious fine for fraud (people are in jail right now for breaking the organic rules).  Also this is a repeatable system than anyone can learn, and it leaves the soil more fertile after use than before.

Sometimes it’s tempting to complain about that which we love the most, because we are so disappointed that it’s not perfect.  Think of how much we often expect of our spouses, or children.  They already are the most beautiful creatures to us, but when they slip up (in our eyes) even a little bit, we can’t help but notice, and heaven forbid we sometimes open our mouth and say something….  (don’t try this at home…)

It’s precisely because we love them, and we want them to be perfect to help us feel like we are protected by them also, that we hold them to such a high standard.  A stranger walking down the street, we don’t have very high standards for at all.

Let’s curb our tongues with our loved ones when we get disappointed or scared when we feel that they fall an ¼ inch below our standard, and lets curb our tongues when we want to cry that even organic isn’t able to protect us 100.0%.  We all know what the right thing to do is; support your loved ones, share your love for them, with them, and they will become more of what you love.  Support organic, it will do more to save  the world than any other single thing you could possibly do.  And love an organic farmer!

Organically,

Dag Falck

Start of the Moviement


Yesterday’s University of Victoria Campus Screening of GMO OMG was my start of The Moviement.  I first heard this term used by Director Jeremy Seifert, a mix between Movie and Movement.  Kind of simple.  Kind of Brilliant.

gmo-omg-event-021

Above I’m with Andrew Weaver, Nobel Prize Winner and MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head.  Note that this was not a premiere.  It was not a special advance screening.  It was for the University campus and for students and influencers.  The date for the Canadian release hasn’t been established.

Below is Murray Rankin, MP for Victoria.  He is an environmental Lawyer with a distinguished career.

aagmo-omg-event-045

Here I am with Nancy Turner, also on the panel.  She is a Distinguished Professor at UVic with over 20 books she has written or co-authored.  Nancy is hands down my favourite Ethnobotanist!aagmo-omg-event-051

UVIC Professor Engineer (who’s an economist, not an Engineer), who has attended many Cinecenta events over the years, said it was the best turnout he’s ever seen.  We had to turn away tons of people. It was chaos finding a seat. Kind of like musical chairs when the music stops…

aagmo-omg-event-069

I was honoured to host the campus screening of the film and Wowie Wow Wow (in the words of Junie B. Jones) we had such an amazing turnout.  On the panel we had Nancy Turner, Distinguished Professor of Ethnobotany (there are only a few Professors at UVIC who are “Distinguished”), Nathalie Chambers organic farmer and Farmland Conservation Advocate, Founder of Chef Survival Challenge that I wrote about recently, and Murray Rankin, Victoria’s very own MP and accomplished Environmental Lawyer.  Special guests included Lana Popham MLA, Andrew Weaver MLA, Adam Olsen, Mayor for North Saanich Alice Finall, and Sandra Anderson, wife of David Anderson former Minister.  Let’s not forget my Uncle Godfrey Stephens!  GMOs are an issue that unites diverse political parties.

Photo op with Andrew Weaver and Nathalie Chambers.  So sorry but I don’t know who the other lady is (help)?  Nathalie mentioned that we have to form ties in our communities with our farmers, with those who grow and provide our food.  She couldn’t be more right and she is living her words.

gmo-omg-event-032

Adam Olsen Leader of the BC Greens:gmo-omg-event-042

After the screening, Dean Peter Keller of Social Science, Professor Eileen Van Der Flief-Keller geologist, me and their daughter Suzie. aagmo-omg-event-115 (1)

The film blew everyone’s mind – bravo Jeremy!  I was so glad to see at least a dozen kids in the audience.  They really related to the film as my friend Lisa pointed out.  I think for us mom’s and dad’s (like Jeremy) who’ve been struggling to feed our kids food without poisons, this film is a useful tool.  Kids relate to seeing other kids.  And perhaps it’s good to see other kids who are concerned about seeds and GMOs.

Most people stayed for the engaging panel discussion after the film.  Here are some snacks provided by Nature’s Path, the presenting Sponsor.

aagmo-omg-event-034

In my introduction I mentioned how I met Murray Rankin this year at the Oak Bay Tea Party.  I was inspired by Maria Emmer-Aanes telling me that if I’m upset about GMOs then I need to tell my elected representatives.  I thought what can that do?  But I kept quiet….  I was playing on the Beach with my daughters in the balmy Spring Victoria weather when I saw Murray.  I said to myself, “Why not tell my elected representative how I feel about GMOs. Like Maria advised. I suppose it can’t hurt?”  I reasoned silently.  So I went up to Murray, shook his hand (In case you’re wondering, I’m not shy) and said, “Hi I live in Victoria.  Nice to meet you.  I’m very concerned about GMOs.”  Murray didn’t know just how concerned I was or anything else about me except I was just playing in the sand with my kids.  He replied to my unorthodox opener without batting an eye lid, and said, “Well you OUGHT to be concerned.”

aagmo-omg-event-089

We need all politicians and elected officials be aware of GMOs, like Lana Popham, Andrew Weaver, Adam Olsen.  The Honorable David Anderson was at the same inspiring talk by Vandana Shiva in March that inspired this blog.  Mayor Alice Finall, props to you too.   We need all people to understand what is so wrong about GMOs as they are right now being sold in 80% of all N. American processed foods.

Below was an engaging question from Dr. Dionne Laslo-Baker about maternal-fetal toxicology.  Our most vulnerable are exposed in the womb to toxins found in GMO production.  These toxins are found in our urine, our blood and in our unborn babies.  If our goal is to protect our children from the pesticides and herbicides used in GMO production, how can we choose if there isn’t mandatory labelling?  As someone said, “It’s very well for the rich, they can afford to feed their families Organic.  What about the financially challenged, the uneducated, those who are simply unaware?  Is it right that they are fed GMOs unknowingly.”aagmo-omg-event-085

Take home points from the discussion:

1) Certified organic doesn’t allow GMOs and never has.

2) Take Action in Labelling Initiatives.  Flex your citizen Muscle.  You have a choice every day to choose food that benefits the planet and health.  You have the power to effect change through your purchases.

3) Grown your own food using organic seeds.

4) Spread the MOVIEment and the issue.  Talk to your representatives.  They are obliged to listen.  Help get GMO OMG into Canadian Teatres!

 

PHOTOS by Simon Des Rochers

GMO OMG Film Review

Just because we have the technology to (fill in the blank), does it mean that we should?

GMOOMG

Dive, Jeremy Seifert’s first film, was an eye-opener to the practise of dumpster diving.  I was moste intrigued by the promo pictures of Jeremy in a bathing suit speedo and swim goggles diving into… garbage!   Even though most dumpster diving isn’t as extreme, the point Dive got across was that Americans are throwing away tons of perfectly gorgeous food for the wrong reasons.  Dive won 26 awards internationally. It was food for thought indeed. For Jeremy’s second documentary feature, he tackles the heavy issue of GMOs, turning a seriously obscure and convoluted issue into an intelligible one.

GMO OMG stars Jeremy with his young family, trying to figure out what on Earth are GMOs.  He gets his cute, innocent sons to wear these funky glasses he designed from craft-store paraphernalia.  He tells them their glasses would reveal where the GMOs are.  In fact, GMOs are everywhere but invisible – except for their ruinous effects on the health of our planet and every living creature.   Most people have no clue what they are or that they’re eating them.

GMO OMG Jeremy with sons

Jeremy said that he didn’t set out to make an ANTI-GMO film.  He just wanted to help his young son Finn, who featured in Dive, learn about seeds. Food is a political subject.   Especially intriguing is war-torn and earthquake-ravaged Haiti, who with a starving populace burned and destroyed GMO seeds offered to them.  The more Jeremy found out about seeds, the more alarmed he became.  Well after starting the film, he came to Nature’s Path Foods looking for funding as my family has been vocally and vehemently opposed to GMOs since they first came out.  My dad Arran said in the 1990s, “There is no wall high enough to keep out GMOs.”  Jeremy showed dad a few clips and on that basis my family provided funding for him.  This isn’t what Nature’s Path normally does.  Funding a film like this is a first for the Nature’s Path breakfast-cereal family.

natures path

Few other medium – large sized organic companies have stepped up for the consumer’s right to know.  This is because they are owned by big multinational brands that oppose labelling of GMOs.  Most larger organic companies pretend to be independent, quirky, organic brands but they’re not.  Nature’s Path, being truly independent, can stand up to bullies and not worry about their parent companies gagging them.  (David and Goliath?) These same monster multinational companies have lost the battle in 64 other nations around the world who require labelling or outright ban GMOs.  They are terrified of North American consumers finding out what’s in their food. The greatest weapon against GMOs is an informed public.

There is such a campaign of misinformation by monster corporations who stand to gain by GMOs.   Jeremy’s film explains and destroys the arguments of the false promises of GMOs to reduce pesticide use and promises to feed the world.  GMOs are poisoning the planet, killing the bees, poisoning us.  And the truth is that after initial promising yields of GMOs, over time they are outperformed by organic methods of agriculture.

cigarettes aren't harmful

Like the tobacco lobby of the last generation, GMO proponents give “scientific evidence” that their foods are safe.  Well, dozens of countries have done the same long-term studies on GMOs and found that they are not safe for human or animal consumption.  They are not conducive to the well-being of our planet.  Most people are so confused about the science that they cannot actually grasp what is wrong with GMOs that are in our food supply.

Let me summarize the main GMO take home points (as I see them):

1) 64 countries require labelling of GMOs.  The only developed nations not to are… Canada and the Unites States of America

2) GMOs increase pesticide use- in fact pesticide use has gone up about 100 times since GMO were unleashed into our food supply.  Pesticides and Herbicides are harmful to people, they cause hormone disruption, cancers, they are poisons and are toxins.  At high concentrations they kill (farmers drink them to commit suicide).  Pesticides used in GMOs are poisoning the water and soils.  They are killing the bees.  Neonics are the class of pesticide that are used as a treatment on the GMO seeds. They have been banned in Europe

3) GMOs are not proven safe for human consumption.  They were foisted onto N. America after 3 month-long studies on rats.  Every long-term study shows cause for concern.

4) Is it ethical for a company to patent life after inserting one or two toxic genes?  As Dr Vandana Shiva says, they are not creating anything but polluting life.

gmo omg tee cute kids

Jeremy Seifert manages to convey truth about GMOs in a humble, humorous and thoughtful way such that most folks can begin to understand what is so very wrong about them.  Even if people are not so sure on the science, they need to be given a choice whether they want to eat them.  Given what we do know.

Q&A With Arran Stephens re: GMOs

“I’m not the CEO, I’m just the gardener”

– Arran Stephens, Founder, CEO and Chief Gardenkeeper at Nature’s Path

Arran and Ratana Stephens, my parents, have recently been honored for their passion and commitment to the organic food movement.  I wasn’t surprised by the award but I was surprised by the fact that this story was picked up by the Wall Street Journal.  Organics is growing movement, a movement for food democracy, health, and planetary well-being.  More and more people are waking up the dangers of toxic pesticides and herbicides that our foods are typically drenched in.

Although my family has supported GMO labeling since the beginning, my battle became personal this Spring when I started to understand how little my peers know about them.  Everyone agrees that whether you think GMOs are healthy or harmful, we should have the right to know if we are eating them.  My dad was asked to answer the following questions about GMOs.

1.        What potential effects do GMO’s present?

Up to this point, neither government nor industry has provided any long-term safety studies on human or animal health from consuming Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods in our daily diet, making us all guinea pigs in the biggest feeding experiment in human history. GMOs have not been proven safe, and nearly 64 countries—including Russia and China—have significant restrictions or outright bans because of this.  We are now starting to see a growing body of research, and the results are pointing to potential negative health effects like pre-cancerous cell growth and tumors, damaged immune systems, infertility and more.   Couple this with the negative effect on our environment and the potential impacts are too great to ignore.

2.      What do consumer’s need to know about GMO’s and their consumption?

Consumers need to know that GMOs have not been proven safe, and they do not have to be a part of this huge science experiment – they have the right to know what’s in the food they are eating and feeding their families.  In 2013, 95 bills related to the labeling of GMO foods were introduced in 28 states, including I-522 in Washington.   Now is the time to learn more, spread the word and vote for your right to know, so you can make an informed decision about the food you buy and feed to your families. The best way to avoid GMOs is to choose food that is USDA certified organic, which prohibits the use of GMOs, and Non-GMO Project Verified, which  means it went through rigorous third party testing to bear the seal.  At Nature’s Path, all of our products are both organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, so consumers can feel comfortable knowing our products avoid GMOs.

3.       What does organic mean, and why is this movement important?

Organic means that food has been grown without toxic, chemical pesticides and herbicides, GMOs, antibiotics and artificial growth hormones.  Organic is the gold standard, and your best way to avoid GMOs.  Non-GMO Project Verified products have been tested for GMOs – which is incredibly important – but it doesn’t mean they are organic, so they most likely have been grown with toxic and carcinogenic agri-chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, and fertilized with fossil-based fertilizers which harm the environment. The only way to have both Non-GMO and the numerous, additional benefits of organic food, is to choose products that bear the USDA Certified Organic Seal. It’s not hard to imagine why this would be better for people and the planet and there is a growing body of research that is beginning to show the health and environmental benefits of organic food.

4.      What is the argument for GMO’s?

The biotech industry claims that GMOs increase crop yields and are the answer to world hunger.  In some cases, yields have been shown to improve while in others, they have not, and recently, those claims have been challenged by a United Nation’s special report: which found that

‘agroecological methods [without the use of GMOs] can outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live,” and that “conventional farming relies on expensive inputs, fuels climate change and is not resilient to climactic shocks.  It simply is not the best choice anymore today.”  We’ve seen people in Haiti, who desperately needed food, burn GMO seeds that were given to them, considering them a kind of Trojan Horse – we need to help feed the world with food that has been proven safe and nourishing, not genetically engineered and filled with chemicals.

Another claim from the biotech industry is that GMO crops use less pesticides, since the Bt toxin pesticide is already spliced into the GMO seed. But, since the introduction of GMO crops, toxic, carcinogenic herbicide use has gone up over 1,000%, as these GMO seeds are bred to resist the application of herbicides which kill everything else on the fields, not just weeds.