To the Editor:
This is a plea to the owners of the Island food stores. Now that we are becoming aware and more educated as a society of the risks that come along with genetically modified organisms (GMO) in our food, I feel the time has come to put out the call to the Island food retailers to label which produce they are selling come from GMO crops.
While it is not mandatory for you to label GMO produce, it is a violation of our relationship with you within this small, tightly knit community. We are not numbers and figures like so many other large chain stores. We are the many people you look in the eye year after year, bumping into each other in the post office, at graduations, weddings, and the coffee shop. Believe it or not, we can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.
Don't you think we have the capacity to make decisions for ourselves? It's only right that you give us all the information we need to make an informed decision about what we want to ingest for our sustenance? Since all the food stores on the Island offer alternatives to just about anything, I wouldn't think you'd have to worry about people leaving your stores empty-handed.
I, for one, desperate for a fresh red pepper to try a new recipe I hadn't figured out how to alter yet, paid double the cost for an organic red pepper vs. the non-organic red pepper; so you got yours. I paid for one for the price of two. Granted I hardly ever buy red peppers because of the cost. I know many people who are getting more creative and scaling down their food budgets to afford organic, which is often 50 to 100 percent more expensive than non-organic foods. When I do go for those items, I say my mantra, "What is the price of our health," to lessen the blow at the cash register.
More often than not there isn't enough money in the budget for an organic pepper at $9.95 per pound. But, on the flip side, there also isn't room for me to be ingesting Bt, or Roundup, or other insecticides in my food. I will find an alternative to a pepper or whatever it is, no problem. Without the information we need to make a choice that suits the individual, so many are flying blind. That's not right. And for those who don't have an issue with eating GMO produce, nothing lost.
Don't you want to leave your community better than you found it? I know you do; I know you care.
You were innovators and pioneers to carry large selections of organic food in the 1990s, when it first came into the mainstream. You took a chance when you realized we wanted it, and we purchased it. Sometimes we didn't and you lost money, but you kept at it and figured out how to make it work.
I'm asking for you to do the same thing again. Be the pioneers. Volunteer to label GMO produce in your stores. Protect your clientele. Be a part of the chorus that is singing no to GMO's. They carry too much of a risk to our heath, the environment, and, through cross-pollination, can destroy the seed bank of crops all over the world.
So please, food store owners of Martha's Vineyard, do the right thing. Label the GMO produce. We'll probably shop more at the store that has our best interest at heart, don't you think? (Wink, wink).
And if Monsanto comes after you, because that's how they work, especially against the little communities, we'll stand behind you.
And, for all home veggie gardeners. Please check to make sure your veggie seeds are non-GMO and come from reputable sources that do testing, because there is an heirloom seed collecting community that could get wiped out by crops with GMO pollen, rendering them sterile or contaminated. My thanks for your consideration.