In November, California’s Proposition 37 will give its citizens a critical opportunity to vote on a measure to make it mandatory for food producers to label foods containing any genetically engineered ingredients in that state. The implications of this measure are as far reaching as the economic future of small farmers and our own access to food.
The proposal was initiated by California’s Right To Know organization in order to “create and enforce the fundamental right of the people of California to be fully informed about whether the food they purchase and eat is genetically engineered and not misbranded as natural so that they can choose for themselves whether to purchase and eat such foods.”
Giving citizens the power to make this happen is frightening enough to companies like Monsanto that they’ve tossed in $4.2 million to the “No on prop 37” organization, which has overall accumulated $25 million to conduct a consumer campaign that’s spreading dangerous misinformation about the Proposition in addition to the right to know what is in your food. They’ve acknowledged to their stakeholders that if California approves this measure, the rest of the country will be sure to follow. What they’re protecting is the right to introduce under-researched, trans-genic, patented foods into our bodies with no accountability for disclosing this and in most cases, no long-term testing.
Many of you are already aware of the issue and have rightly been questioning why the Co-op continues to offer products from organic brands that are subsidiaries of the same companies funding the fight to shut down Prop 37. Admittedly, we’ve been watching the tide of conventional companies venturing into organic, or some of our favorite independents being bought up by them over the past 10 years. This growing interest in organics has been helping to build the market for organic farmers and is helping with demand and pricing. At this time we feel that discontinuing the organic brands within a conventional company does not achieve our long-term goal of more land under organic cultivation.
However, we are continuing to support and participate in the Non-GMO Project to highlight their non-GMO-verified products on our shelves. Also, and as always, we want you to vote with your dollars as we provide the information you need to make your own eating choices.
Meanwhile, we encourage anyone interested in seeing GMO foods labeled in Wisconsin to contact their legislators and ask them to support mandatory labeling. We also suggest that consumers continue to support organics, which are prohibited from including any GMO ingredients.
To read more on Prop 37, go to: www.carighttoknow.org.
The following countries have banned or restricted the import, distribution, sale, utilization, field trials and/or commercial planting of GMOs:
Algeria, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Japan, Philippines, European Union, Norway, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Brazil, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, South Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Madeira, Switzerland, India, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Poland.
In the United States:
Maryland—GE fish; North Dakota—GE Wheat; Montana—GE wheat; Burlington, Vermont—moratorium on GE food; Boulder, Colorado—GE crops; City and County of San Francisco—GE plants, animals, foods, crops and body products.
Percentage of crops that are Genetically Modified in the U.S.:
Soy (85%), Cotton (Cottonseed) (76%), Canola (75%), Corn (40%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), Zucchini and Yellow Squash (small amount), Quest brand tobacco (100%).
Household account changes
In response to Owner requests, on May 15th of this year the Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors ratified the following change to the definition of a Household as it pertains to our Owner types to be “ anyone living in the residence including children under 18.” This change excludes Household accounts associated with a discount (i.e., Access, Board, Staff).
Beginning October 1st cashiers will be following the new guidelines for Households accounts, which will allow anyone living in the home to use that Owner number at the registers to make purchases. Owners’ houseguests can use the number as well.
We will be limiting this privilege to purchases. Only the names listed on the Household record (Primary/Secondary) may:
- Vote in Co-op elections or other official Cooperative voting (i.e., referenda, bylaw changes, etc.)
- Place special/pre-orders
- Receive the patronage refund
- Pick up Annual Meeting & Party tickets
- Receive the Owner price for classes (unless the Owner is paying for the class)
Shopper cards are available by request at the Customer Service desk for anyone in your Household.
If you currently own an Individual account and would like to allow others in your Household to shop using your number, you can upgrade to a Household at any time by stopping in at the Customer Service desk where you’ll fill out a short form and make an equity payment on your Individual account to become a Household.
Also as a result of Owner input, the Co-op is ready to announce that we are improving the benefits for businesses wishing to purchase from the Co-op. Per the Co-op’s Bylaws, businesses are not eligible to become equity-paying Owners of Willy Street Co-op, however we do offer a Business Account. We are now expanding the benefits bestowed upon Business Account holders to include the following:
- No 5% surcharge
- 10% discount on all eligible pre-orders
- Ability to place special orders
- Eligible for all sale prices
- Access to the Co-op’s delivery service (standard fees apply)
- Businesses are not eligible for Access discounts or making payments with an EBT card.
- WSGC Pre-paid Charge Accounts can be set up in addition to the business account. Businesses are responsible for the management of all purchases. Willy Street Co-op will track sales charged to WSGC Pre-paid Charge accounts.
If you are interested in setting up a business account, please stop by our Customer Service desk and we will help you get started.
Principle 6 (P6)—The Cooperative Trade Movement
Small-scale farming gets top billing in this program designed also to promote locally grown foods and foods from cooperatives or non-profits. Look for P6 signage around the stores or check out the brochures available in the Owner Resources Area. We’re proud to represent the core group of Co-ops that developed P6 with Equal Exchange to promote our way of doing business for nearly 40 years.
Símbolo de Pequeños Productores (SPP) = fair trade
In December’s Reader, Dawn Matlak will be profiling the new fair trade effort being launched to certify only small-scale farmers who are in democratically organized cooperatives. The Fair Trade movement has been undermined over the past two years after Fair Trade USA bought the copyright to “Fair Trade,” and began to allow plantations to become certified for this special distinction. Just Coffee in Madison has already become officially registered with the Símbolo de Pequeños Productores (Small Producer Symbol in English)—the new farmer-owned certification system.
If you’d like to learn more about these new developments in fair trade, consider attending the presentation by Just Coffee on October 17th in our Community Room at Willy East or check out the SPP website: www.spp.coop.