Tag Archives: Mike Bronner

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.