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In November 2011, about 250 Boulder County residents attended a public meeting to discuss the planting of GM (genetically modified) crops on county-owned land.
Their turnout, together with an anti-GMO (genetically modified organism) recommendation from the county’s Food and Agriculture Policy Council, led county officials to vote for a phase out of genetically engineered crops on open space.
This is a powerful testimony to the influence residents can have on their local regulations when they stand together for a cause; you, too, can work toward enacting such a phase out in your area as well.
Boulder Residents, County Officials Say “No” to GMOs
Boulder’s Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee voted 5-4 in support of the Food and Agriculture Policy Council’s recommendation to phase out the planting of GM crops on the county’s open space.
Currently, about 16,000 acres of county-owned land are planted with genetically engineered corn; the new rule will mean these crops will be transitioned out in favor of traditional GMO-free farming practices.
The area has been a hot-spot for GMO debate since 2009, when local farmers wanted to plant genetically engineered sugar beets in the county.
Following public outcry, County commissioners delayed the farmers’ request. Since then, a local survey showed that 56 percent of Boulder County residents supported a ban on GM crops, and now their voices have been heard. As reported by the Boulder Daily Camera, Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee member John Nibarger said:
“There’s the voters’ side of this, and there’s the farmers’ side of this … I think we heard rather strongly … (that a lot of voters) don’t want to see GM crops.”
Americans Already Eating GM Foods, While Other Countries Have Banned Them
GM corn, soybeans, canola, and sugar beets have made their way into approximately 80 percent of current U.S. processed grocery store items, now that up to 90 percent of several U.S. grown crops are grown with genetically engineered seed. So if you live in the United States, you have most certainly already been exposed to GM foods — most likely a lot of them.
This is why Boulder’s move to phase out GM crops is such a breath of fresh air, as finally a governing body in the United States is stepping up to protect its residents from this massive, uncontrolled experiment — a move that has already taken place in other parts of the world, and in four counties in California and a city in Maine.