Marin County California Bans GE Crops!

BioDemocracy on the March: Marin County, Calif., Bans GE Crops

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 3 (AScribe Newswire) -- Yesterday, while millions of Americans went to the polls in record numbers, Marin county, voted to ban the cultivation of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops.

Marin County joins Mendocino and Trinity becoming the next county to ban genetically engineered crops.

"Despite the Farm Bureau's statewide misinformation campaign, the people in Marin have spoken: we do not want GE crops," says Ronnie Cummins, Executive Director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Marin county forms an integral piece in a nationwide movement of local communities reclaiming their BioDemocrcy, building local, organic communities dedicated to safe food, fair prices for farmers and long-term sustainability. Next in line are several other California counties and cities, including Sonoma and Alameda counties, as well as the city of Arcata.

"Marin county's decision is the next step in creating a statewide ban on genetically engineered crops," according to Ryan Zinn, California Campaign coordinator for the Organic Consumers Association. "California's future depends on safe, organic, farmer centered food and agriculture."

CONTACTS: Organic Consumers Association --

Ronnie Cummins, 218-226-4164 or 218-226-3871, Ronnie@OrganicConsumers.org

Ryan Zinn, 415-271-6833, ryan@organicconsumers.org
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Press Release November 3rd, 2004

Contacts: Renata Brillinger, Director of Californians for GE-Free Agriculture
(707) 874-1557 x 222 . renata@oaec.org
Simon Harris, Outreach Coordinator, Californians for GE-Free Agriculture
(415) 561-2523 . simon@calgefree.org

One More California County Bans Genetically Engineered Organisms

Defeats of Butte and SLO initiatives will not deter future efforts in other counties

Residents in four California Counties - Butte, San Luis Obispo, Marin and Humboldt - went to the polls yesterday to vote on initiatives that ban the countywide planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops and other organisms. Marin County successfully passed an initiative with 62% support.

In Humboldt, 35% of voters supported the ban despite the fact that advocates of the measure withdrew their own support of the initiative several weeks ago after discovering legal problems with the language, indicating the likelihood that legislation will pass there in the future. In both San Luis Obispo and Butte, the measures failed to garner majority support, but gathered 41% and 40% of the vote despite being significantly outspent by agribusiness opponents such as the Farm Bureau.

In Mendocino County, the first county to pass a ban in March 2004, the biotechnology industry lobbying organization CropLife spent over $600,000 in a failed attempt to influence the election outcome, six times more than local supporters. The industry changed its tactics after Mendocino, and opposition in Butte and San Luis Obispo funneled through the Farm Bureau and other voices of corporate agribusiness, outspending local supporters 4 or 5 to 1.

Over the past year California has become an epicenter in the global struggle to stop the use of GE in agriculture. In March 2004, voters in Mendocino approved a measure to become the first county in the United States to ban GE crops. In August, the Trinity County Board of Supervisors voted to become the second. Many other counties, including Sonoma, Alameda, and Santa Barbara, are organizing to pass similar measures. Arcata is likely to become the first US city to ban GE crops when the city council votes at a November 3rd meeting.

"We are not the least bit deterred by the losses in San Luis Obispo, Butte and Humboldt counties," stated GE-Free Sonoma Campaign Director Dave Henson. Sonoma County is gathering signatures to qualify for a June 2005 ballot. "This relatively young grassroots movement of family farmers and citizens is just starting to gain momentum."

"Genetic engineering corporations have foisted these crops on farmers and consumers without sufficient testing, regulation, or the ability to prevent contamination" said Renata Brillinger, Director of Californians for GE-Free Agriculture. "This movement of county bans signals the need to pause in the headlong rush towards genetic engineering, and to engage in a statewide democratic debate about the future of this technology in California."

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Californians for GE-Free Agriculture (www.calgefree.org) is a coalition of
sustainable farming, environmental, and consumer organizations united to
prevent genetically engineered (GE) agriculture in California. Members
include: California Certified Organic Farmers . Center for Environmental
Health . Center for Food Safety . Community Alliance with Family Farmers .
Ecological Farming Association . Four Elements Farm . Genetic Engineering
Action Network . Occidental Arts and Ecology Center . Organic Consumers
Association . True Foods Network
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