Thank you, Lauren, for the interview and article!
By Lauren Cappuccio
CHAMBERSBURG >> Since January, Brett Wilcox and his son David have been running across the United States to bring an end use of genetic modified organisms as food.
A GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish and mammals. Many farmers use GMO seeds to help their production.
Brett said these organisms are harmful to humans when ingested.
The Wilcox family, from Sitka, Alaska, also includes Brett’s wife Kris, and daughter Olivia, who are following them and cheering them on the family vehicle.
They started their journey Jan. 18 in Huntington Beach, Calif., and have averaged about 20 miles a day. The family hopes to reach Atlantic City, N.J., by July 19 — after 3,000 miles and six months of traveling.
The idea for the run started when David, 15, a championship cross-country runner, mentioned doing a run across the United States after reading a story about a girl who completed the journey. After dismissing the idea, Brett said he reconsidered and decided that it would be for a purpose.
Getting the word out about GMO products has been something Brett, a licensed counselor, has been passionate about for years and led him to release the first book of a future series in 2013 called “We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World Lie after Lie.” In it, he discusses one of the companies producing GMO products, Monsanto, which produces seeds, weed control products and technology for farmers.
“The biggest lie is they say to feed the growing population, we need GMO foods,” Brett said. “It is proven that these foods are unsustainable. We are eating insecticide,” he said.
After some backlash, the company tried to change their image to look like an agricultural company, he said, and started selling the chemicals under the pretense that it would grow more product and kill all pests.
Some farmers he has talked to have agreed that GMO’s do help them and said he respects their opinion.
Brett recommended that while GMO products are not easily distinguishable at first, many of them contain corn, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, products made from sugar beets and processed foods.
He recommended looking at GMO shopping guides online to see what products are certified organic, which do not have any GMO’s.
You can follow the Wilcox’s journey at https://www.facebook.com/RunningTheCountry or https://www.runningthecountry.com. Friends of theirs started an online campaign to help with some of the costs for their family as they travel, as both of them took a leave from work to pursue the run: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-the-wilcox-family-finish-strong.
Lauren Cappuccio can be contacted at 262-4754.