Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Getting Involved - Local Food Happenings in Tempe and Arizona

Getting Involved - Local Food Happenings in Tempe and Arizona

There is a groundswell happening in the world of food and nutrition. People are becoming aware that something is amiss with what is happening to our food supply and our environment.  As people begin to realize that truly natural nutrient dense food and vibrant good health go hand in hand they are looking for ways to change the way food is being grown and produced. Instead of sitting back and feeling helpless, it is time for all of us to get out there and make a difference.

So often, people think that they have to search far and wide to make a difference in the world. When we become aware and look around, there are plenty of activities and opportunities in our own backyard to impart real and significant changes in our food supply. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are one of the hottest nutritional topics out there right now. There are some exciting opportunities coming up in Tempe (and Phoenix) over the next couple of months that offer educational and volunteer opportunities regarding GMOs and other pivotal nutritional topics.

13th Annual Local to Global Food Justice Forum (March 1-2, 2014)

Next weekend ASU will be hosting the 13th Annual Local to Global Food Justice Forum and Festival. Local to Global Justice is a student-founded group at ASU dedicated to educating people about topics concerning local and global justice. This year’s event theme is Food Justice. The event is free. The event will feature workshops throughout the day, panel discussions, keynote speakers, kids’ activities, entertainment and free vegan lunch. 

There are sure to be great discussions about the global and local food systems, social injustice in the food and agriculture industry and connections between food and health. It would be fair to assume that if you are searching for more ways to get involved in making a difference locally and globally, resources will abound at this event.

Right to Know Arizona (Ongoing)

Right to Know Arizona has introduced a ballot initiative they are hoping to get included on the November 2014 ballot. The initiative has been drafted to require the labeling of GMO’s in Arizona. In 2012 California had a similar initiative (Prop 37) on the ballot. Monsanto, Dow and the Grocery Manufacturers association spent millions of dollars to successfully defeat the bill in California.
In 2013 a sadly similar scenario played out in Washington State. According to an article in Bloomburg Businessweek, The Grocery Manufacturing Association doled out over 11 million dollars to defeat Initiative 522. In both campaigns the argument used by the food manufacturers was that having to rework their labels would be costly and those costs would be passed on to consumers. This argument is absurd and weak. Labels are changed at the drop of a hat when a company wants to promote things such as the latest popular movie or holidays to increase sales. These companies and organizations have a lot of power and money. For this reason it is even more important for people to get involved…and lots of them. 

Right to Know needs enthusiastic and passionate volunteers to help get the word out about the initiative. They will need ideas and help for fund raising efforts. Unfortunately, a lot of money is needed to fight these giant biotech companies and lobbyist organizations.  They have a lot of money and political clout. Approximately 180,000 signatures must be collected by June in order for the initiative to make the ballot. That’s a lot of signatures to collect in a short amount of time. If you don’t have a lot of time to commit, that’s OK. Get out there for a few hours one day to help collect signatures. Post about the initiative on Twitter, Facebook and Pintrest. Every effort, no matter how big or small, matters.

To get involved:

Visit the Right to Know Arizona website @
Join the Right to Know AZ Meetup Group @
 March Against Monsanto – Phoenix/Tempe (May 24, 2014)

The May 24th march will be the 3rd event held in Tempe. The march is a peaceful demonstration aimed at educating people about the harmful effects of GMO’s on our bodies and our environment. It is a worldwide event that has been gaining momentum with marches being held all over the world.  This event has been helping raise awareness about what GMOs are and how they are having a drastic effect on the world. 

The March Against Monsanto was founded by Tami Canal, a mother of two daughters. She felt compelled to do something to protect the health of her two growing girls. The marches are held in over 52 countries on six continents. The media coverage has been sporadic at best. Networks could be in fear of losing big sponsorships from companies that sell products containing GMOs. Not one local media outlet covered the first Tempe march, not one. It is the individuals who have made this movement grow and expand. This is another way to act locally while thinking globally

To find out more about the March Against Monsanto:

Go to their website:
March Against Monsanto - Phoenix Facebook Page:

GMO Free Arizona (Ongoing)

GMO Free Arizona is a non-profit founded by Rachel Linden and Ariane Glazer. Their mission is simple. They want to provide information and education to folks in Arizona about the detrimental effects of GMOs on our environment, and our health. The work with a national group called GMO Action Alliance to continue the important mission of education people and supporting efforts to require labeling of GMO’s in our food.

They have an excellent website full of valuable information on GMOs. The resource section of the site is a goldmine of information on studies, articles, books, documentaries and websites all related to GMO education. The section called “About GMOs” features a very poignant video that provides a great deal of valuable information about some of the hot topics related to GMOs. 

GMO Free Arizona Website: 

Each and every one of us can do our part. We need to embrace our power to do good in our communities. We can and will make a difference to improve the quality of the food we eat and the environment. Together, we can support local farmers, businesses, environmental initiatives and so much more. Get out there: fire up your social media, hit the farmers markets, plant something, and talk to your friends, family and neighbors. You can make a difference.


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