A group of us got together in Wichita on Earth Day and had a GMO related discussion. I have to admit that I had some trepidation prior to the discussion and prior to running through the farm country of America’s heartland. How would people respond to our run and mission? With pitchforks? Manure? Crop dusters?
We’ve still got a good many miles to run, but I’m happy to write that, thus far, my fears were unfounded. Regardless of our location—from California through Kansas—we’ve been treated with a whole lot of love, respect, and generosity, including from kind folks who don’t know us from Adam, but think nothing of lending a helping hand to stranded travelers.
That doesn’t mean everyone appreciates our run and mission, but we continue to be surprised that, even here in farm country, virtually everyone we meet opposes GMOs. And if anything, they oppose GMOs with more passion than people from more urban locations. Why? Because GMOs aren’t just an issue they face while shopping in the grocery store, they’re an issue every time they step outside. They don’t have to search the Internet to see people poisoned from vast stretches of GMO monocultures. They’re surrounded by GMO monoculture. Some also have to live with the stench and pollution from nearby concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). They’ve long since said good-bye to the idyllic vision of yesteryear’s family farm, and they’ve had to say hello to the ugly reality of modern chemical based agribusiness.
It shouldn’t surprise me that the battle is more real in these rural regions. Over the past year or so, I’ve been closely following the battle the people of Hawaii continue to wage against the chemical giants.
In Hawaii, of course, the chemical giants aren’t selling their seeds to farmers; they’re poisoning Hawaiians as they saturate Hawaiian land with an assortment and quantity of chemicals that wouldn’t be allowed in America’s heartland, and they’re doing it in the name of research. And they’re fighting the citizens of Hawaii at every turn for their right to continue poisoning Hawaiians and their sacred land free of any responsibility for their legal but criminal acts. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-sergio/gmo-pesticide-experiments_b_3513496.html)
What kind of people do that? If people did that to my family, I’d be furious. Oh wait, they are doing it to my family—the human family—and I am furious!
It’s time for Americans to wake up. The chemical companies are poisoning our families, whether that poisoning takes place in grocery stores, farms, waterways, or research plots in Hawaii, other states or countries.
The people who attended our discussion in Wichita are very much awake! Some of the participants have been fighting for their right to raise their kids in a clean world far longer than Kris and I have. Others are just learning about the dangers associated with GMOs. Some are especially fired up because their own congressman, Representative Mike Pompeo, betrayed them when he sponsored the euphemistically titled Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, an act that would ensure no GMO will ever be labeled in the United States.
We had a fun and lively discussion. One of the participants, Tommy Tuttle, spoke of the upcoming March Against Monsanto in Wichita on May 24th. Wichita, of course, is one of hundreds of cities that will host yet another March Against Monsanto. David and I will be running through St. Louis right around May 24th. St. Louis is Monsanto’s headquarters. The St. Louis March organizers asked if I would say a few words at their March. “By all mean, yes!”
Speaking in St. Louis will be a total honor! But speaking on such occasions is more than an honor; protesting Monsanto and gang is our shared responsibility. If we don’t speak out, we are complicit in the poisoning of our children, grandchildren, and the world.
We extend a big thanks to Natural Grocers in Wichita for providing the perfect room for our GMO free discussion. Thanks to everyone who showed up and shared their knowledge and passion. And special thanks to Angi Whittiker for taking the initiative to bring everyone together and for leading the good fight with lots of love and compassion.
We’re excited to attend and participate in Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company’s Spring Planting Festival on May 4th and 5th. If you’re attending, please drop by our booth and say hello.
We’re also facilitating another GMO Free discussion in Springfield, Missouri (1727 S Campbell Ave) at Mama Jean’s Natural Market on May 8th at 5:30 pm.
Thanks to our Kris and Olivia (our support team), David and I are continuing our run for a GMO Free USA. A whole lot of people are praying for us day by day as we run eastward. We deeply appreciate the prayers! Of course, we often think about and pray for the people we’ve met on our run. We pray for the people of Hawaii, and we pray for all our sisters and brothers around the globe who are battling for their right to eat clean food, breathe clean air, farm clean soil, drink clean water and enjoy sustainable agricultural systems.
Thanks for your prayers and thanks for all that you do!
We’ll see you on the road!
Brett Wilcox is the author of We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie. Brett and his 15-year old son, David, are currently running from coast to America coast promoting a GMO-Free USA. Brett and David blog at RunningTheCountry.com. Brett wrote this blog in the towns of Severy and Parsons, Kansas. Support their run and mission at RunningTheCountry.com/donate.