Tag Archives: Jeremy Seifert

522 Fundraiser

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

My mother Ratana quoted Margaret Mead the other night in her acceptance speech at the  Organic Trade Association Awards. It got me thinking about how a group of concerned committed citizens are leading this charge for the Basic Democratic Right to know what’s in our food. 64 countries around the world either ban or label GMOs. The USA and Canada are the only developed nations without Labelling laws. Given that 93% of Americas want labelling, why isn’t this a reality? If the companies selling GMOs only did short-term studies safety studies why are they allowed to sell GMOs?  Especially given they are not proven safe to eat? Why are GMOs not banned or labelled – at the very least?  Coming from Europe it took me a while to figure out that most N. Americans dont know what GMOs are, dont even know that they are in 80 – 85% of processed foods.  And why would they know?  Well Duh?  They are unlabelled.  The chemical companies who own the seed companies don’t want N. Americans to know.  What have they been hiding? 500x500-Avatar-Sup

In Washington State these is an initiative to require Mandatory labelling of GMOs. Called I 522 and put to the citizens, it was be voted on this November.  If you want labelling of GMOs you will vote yes. If you don’t want to know what’s in your food, you will vote no. Already record and ridiculous amounts of money have been poured into the No side by the pesticide companies, “big agriculture”, and purveyors of junk food. To date, they’ve put in over 12 million dollars. Most of these junk food companies also own organic companies, confusing the already complex chains of ownership.

The YES side comprises the grass roots, the environmentalists, farmers who fear that export markets will dry up as GMO contamination spreads, people who care about nutrition and biodiversity, and independent organic companies that are minuscule in comparison to the NO side. Stonyfield – mostly owned by the French Group Danone, and Whole Foods a public company are notable exceptions supporting the YES side.  But compared to the NO side, the YES side companies are digging deep in their relatively tiny pockets. It is not an equal fight to begin with, simply based on resources of the NO side.

At Baltimore’s Black Olive Restaurant there was a fundraiser for the YES on Washington State’s I 522 two days ago. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be a great idea to celebrate the YES side, given that a whole group of supporters were together. So ignited the idea for this post.  Let’s put names and faces to some of the YES supporters.  This is by no means an exhaustive list of those attending the dinner nor those who support YES.  It’s just folks that I bumped into during my short time at the event.

The YES on I 522 fundraiser was organized by Living Maxwell http://livingmaxwell.com/ and Vani the Food Babe http://foodbabe.com/. Both are passionate about food and your right to know if you’re eating GMOs.  They are on a mission to inform and educate. Here is Max Goldberg (L) with Errol Schweizer of Whole Foods http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/.  Whole Foods has taken the laudable and unprecedented step by a national retailer to require labelling by all suppliers by 2018.  This is amazing.  It’s already causing ripples, nay waves.  But Whole Foods says they want to focus beyond GMO labelling and support biodynamic systems, heirloom varieties.  GMO labelling is just the starting point.

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Below here is the Food Babe (she *is* a BABE), with Mike Bronner of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps.

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Below my brother Arjan (L) my of Nature’s Path Foods with Greg Fleishmann of Suja Organic Juice http://www.sujajuice.com/.

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Below Nutiva founder and CEO John Roulac http://nutiva.com/  posing with Kat Schuett.  Kat is a fellow jazz singer!  She’s also an international journalist, editor and community activist https://twitter.com/katschuett and –  (I’m sorry I didn’t get your name-someone please tell me so I can fix this).  Food Democracy Now’s David Murphy http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/ was in conversation with Delana Jones Campaign Manager for I 522 http://yeson522.com/.  Dave’s short term goal is a Million Members for  FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW.  Please sign up.

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Below Young Activists Birke Baehr http://www.birkeonthefarm.com/about-birke-baehr.html  and  Rachel Parent http://www.kidsrighttoknow.com/, who toppled Kevin O’Leary in a debate recently.   Kevin said “All right, Rachel,  I’ll give you labelling. With greater transparency this is going to happen.”   Do it already!  (Go YOUTH) These kids are only 14.  Birke has already given a TED Talk when we was like 12 years old.  These two have poise and charm and eloquence. GO YOUTH.

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Below, Dr Bronner’s Magical Soap team http://www.drbronner.com/.  The Bronner family cares about health and the planet, like everyone at this event.  The Bronners, Mike in the back and Dave in the hat, are big donors for the YES on I 522 and an inspiration to all fighting for your right to know what’s in your food.

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Below Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich.  They both were in the film GMO OMG.  Dennis said in the film, “If we are what we eat, then we must know what we eating so can learn what we’re going to become.  Until the year,Congressman Dennis Kucinich was the Democratic House representative for Ohio’s 10th district. A former mayor of Cleveland and Ohio state senator, Dennis has served seven terms as congressman for Ohio and in November 2010 was elected to serve an eighth.

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Below Dr Rimjhim Duggal-Stephens, my sister in law whose marriage to Arjan inspired LOVE Crunch cereal.  In a bite-for-bite program, for every bag sold of Love Crunch one is donated to the food bank. A loving person Rimjhim fell in Love with Suja Juices this last week.

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Below Darren Mahaffy, of Natures Path Foods, surrounded by delightful companions: Maria Anderson, Andrea and Randi from Naturally Savy http://www.naturallysavvy.com/

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Below Ken Roseboro below surrounded by friends. Ken is the editor of the Organic and Non-GMO report. http://www.non-gmoreport.com/organicnongmo/newslettereditor.php  He appeared in the film GMO OMG, driving around corn fields with Jeremy Seifert.  He is the one who first explained to Jeremy in the film that the GMO corn is technically a pesticide.  That pesticide companies are putting pesticides in our food.

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I wanted hoping to catch Steve Crider, regional volunteer for the YES on 522 Campaign.  He is with Amy’s Kitchen, making our family’s favourite frozen pizzas.  They also support YES with all their Heart.

In sum, you have a committed group of folks who live, sleep and breathe the YES movement for a safer, more delicious world.

The NO side is a nameless, faceless conglomeration of huge multinationals, pesticide companies with huge legal teams, infinitely bottomless wells of cash resources and shareholders who only care about protecting their bottom line.  Lest you think that this is the Organic industry versus the chemical companies it’s not so simple.  It may surprise you that not every large organic food company is fighting for your right to know.  In fact most are NOT supporting citizen’s right to know.  As Big Multinationals bought out organic companies, (like Kelloggs bought out Kashi for example), most large Organic brands are actually supporting the NO side.  What?  Say that again? How doest that work?  Well, if they hadn’t sold out I can guarantee you that they would be supporting YES. They are supporting no because they are beholden to their Giant parent companies who share a very different set of ideals than the idealists who started out wanting to grow food without poisoning the Earth.  

Organic food growers and farmers are my heroes.  They replenish the soils, purify the waters and go above and beyond the call of duty to the Earth.  Every single one I’ve met wants everyone to grow organic for the sake of our future. Long-term side-by-side comparison studies by the Rodale Institute show equivalent or greater yields.  Without poisoning the water or soil.

Why are we doing this again?

Whom would you trust?

GMO OMG LA PREMIERE

September 19th was the LA premiere of Jeremy Seifert’s film GMO OMG.  This was the very same day that BC’s Mayors and councillors voted YES for a GE FREE BC!  I was so excited that I was barely coherent! Having already seen the film, written a review about it and a post about the wild success of the UVIC campus screening… I was wondering what to say about the LA screening at the Landmark Theatre.

First of all what does one WEAR to the Premiere of a Documentary Film dealing with serious GMO issues? In Los Angeles?  Long? Short?  Glittery? Revealing? Funky? Jeans? Following the Style-Diet Principles, my outfit would be Locally-Made, and/or Ethically-Sourced and/or Re-Purposed.

Photo-op with Director Jeremy Seifert, Producer Jill Howerton, and Producer Joshua Kunau.

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I was hoping to see a bevy of Seiferts barrelling down the aisles at the Landmark Theatre.  Those little kids stole my heart with their poignant and funny one-liners.   Out of the mouths of babes… But the mini Seiferts who stole the show, were at home in bed.   Jen, their beautiful, adorable mom was there;  she starred in the film as herself, the loving, concerned wife and mother every parent can relate with.

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Pretty much a packed house, the theatre boasted celebrities like Colin  Farrell who came out to see the film.   In fact, at every point I turned there was a familiar face!  Other notable guests included Cenk Uygur from the Young Turks, Topher Grace from That 70s show, Robyn Lively, Charlie Day from the film “Horrible Bosses”, the cast of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, Kaitlin Olsen, Rob McElhenny, Glenn Howerton, Molly Sims, Mike Bronner, Laurie David and Maryam Lieberman.

When I got back, I told my friend Misty that Laurie David was there and Misty, she got all excited.  Laurie David produced “An Inconvenient Truth”. That got us talking about Larry David and the potential for comedy and GMOs.  What if Larry David wrote in a character who was striving to be GMO free?!  How many goofy sitcom moments could this character get into?  Just throwing it out there to the universe….

Below, with Mike Bronner of the Dr Bronner’s Soap Family.  Dr Bronner’s family and everyone who saw the film and everyone who is concerned about our food wants  GMOs labelled.  Even if you think that GMOS are good for you, you should want them labelled so you can choose them.

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One of the journalists I spoke  to at the after-party said that she was surprised that the film didn’t talk about pesticide poisoning and herbicide poisoning of farm-workers and others.  There is just so much compelling, irrefutable evidence for that.  Toxic Pesticides and herbicides like atrazine and other agricultural toxins aren’t strictly a GMO issue. However, GMOs and pesticides are inextricably linked.  Thus they are directly related, and entirely co-dependent. You can’t grow one without the other….  Again, it brings us back to the irrefutable declaration that people have the right to know what they are eating and what they’re feeding their families. Note Mike’s tee-shirt and support  YES on 522.  Dr Bronner’s family have contributed significantly  towards Washington and California’s labelling campaigns.  Mike announced the they are going nearly double that amount.   However, this is not even one tenth of the what Big Ag and biotech companies will spend fighting people’s right to know.  It’s incredible!  Even if you’re not in Washington, please send in a donation if you can.  If you are able to volunteer with the phone banks please do.  Your help is needed.  Here’s how you can get involved http://yeson522.com/

Below is Director Jeremy Seifert being interviewed by a California TV Station:

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Below, I’m introducing the film.  My outfit is made in India bought in India, brand is Petticoat by Debyani and Divya.aG cropped

Producer (and Model and Actress and Activist and TV personality and fellow blogger http://thedailytonic.wordpress.com/about/ !) the beautiful  Jill Latiano Howerton with her husband, actor Glenn Howerton.  He stars in, writes for, and produces for the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” What a stunning and charming couple!a Jill and Glenn Howerton

Associate Producer Daniel McCoy,  Location and Post-Audio for GMO OMG (left) Editor Terry Yates (right). 

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Happy Noah Smith!  Animation and Graphics.   I like the way his smile makes his eyes close 🙂
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Below is a glowing, expectant mom and supporter of the film Amy Boyer Colgan and her partner. Her foundation is http://www.hopefulfilled.org  She said that it’s her mission to make dreams come true.  What a great mission to have.

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Audrey Smith and Amanda Valloza-Hlavaty below appeared in Director Jeremy Seifert’s first film “Dive”.  About dumpster diving, “Dive” was an eye-opener to the amount of beautiful, healthy and safe food that is wasted in N. America.  (BTW we currently produce enough food to feed the world twice over.)

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Below: Dan Braun from Submarine, the film’s distributors.  Submarine’s last big documentary was “Chasing Ice”.  Wow.

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Here is Ben from Submarine, Dan’s son.  These two Braun men were among the snazziest dressed men at the premiere.

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Lovely Kyla from Nature’s Path !

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Kind server from the catering company.  Note the cloth napkins on the tray.  Along with with the heirloom tomato soup, the caterers were super green and cool.

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Below is Nisha Vida (left), She’s a Fulbright Fellow and Associate Producer for the film.  She is working to Make LA a GMO free zone.  It will happen!  Just a matter of time.  The momentum GE FREE BC will carry over and this film will awaken those not yet in the know.  Here she is with fellow law student Scarlettah J Shaefer.

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The timing of this film couldn’t be better.  People are starting to understand that GMOs – that are currently produced in N. America and the rest of the world, not the hope of them – are causing deleterious effects on our health and planet.  We’re not talking about the promise of GMOS; we’re talking about actual reality here.  Folks asked the panel afterwards, “Well what can we do about it?”

There is a simple answer: Support with your dollars  systems and companies that are doing the right thing.  With every meal.  That’s all there is to it.  Support labelling efforts, get involved.  And if you really want to be truly defiant, grow your own food.   As Jeremy’s son Finn said in the film (I’m paraphrasing ) if nobody buys them, companies will have to stop selling them. In Europe, multinational companies reformulate their products to be GMO Free.  I’m talking big companies like Coke, Nestle and Kelloggs.  Already 64 countries ban or require labelling of GMOs.  I was happy to hear of Costa Rica last week declaring they would prohibit GMOs.  Yay Costa Rica!  The US and Canada are the only two developed nations which don’t require labelling of GMOs.   This is going to change and I see change happening.

This film is awakening the multitude.

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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.