Slow Food MV/GMO Free present petitions

Senator John Keenan (left) and Rep. Tim Madden

In a ceremony held March 17, at Cronig’s Market in Vineyard Haven, Rep. Tim Madden accepted petitions signed by 3,319 Islanders, in support of legislation related to labeling food products and seed that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Representative Madden is the co-sponsor of the two bills, H813, An Act Relative to Labeling

seed, and H2093, An Act Relative to the Labeling of Foods, along with the joint committees on Public Health and Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard member Nan Doty of Chilmark, who spearheaded the petition drive, presented two binders full of signatures to Mr. Madden. The ceremony was sponsored by the Slow Food MV/GMO Free group, with the help of Island Grown Initiative, to raise Island awareness about the issue. Mr. Madden presented the petitions at the State House the next day to state Senator John Keenan, chairman of the joint committee on public health, along with a banner created by Island student Hardy Eville.

“I am pleased to report that the committee released an amended version of the bills,” Representative Madden said in an emailed statement to The Times this week. “This is good news, as the legislation has never been positively recommended in the past. This is the first step in the process, but a very significant one. Efforts such as those put forth by the dedicated individuals on the Vineyard played a significant role, and the chairman seemed impressed with those efforts,” he said.