The Non-GMO Blog

America’s Immune Response to GMOs

In his excellent book “Blessed Unrest” noted author and entrepreneur Paul Hawken describes the millions of groups worldwide—“ranging from neighborhood organizations to well-funded international organizations”—working to protect the environment and fighting for social justice and human rights.

Hawken says that this massive social movement acts as the immune system of the planet. In the same way the body’s immune system fights off viruses, these groups fight threats to the planet’s climate, air, soil and water resources, seeds and food, and people, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

I thought of this when writing the lead article about the GMO-free groups that have emerged across the US. I spoke with ordinary Americans who became activated to fight threats to human health and the environment posed by genetically modified organisms. People like Pamm Larry of Chico, CA, Zofia Hausman of Philadelphia, PA, Tara Cook-Littman of Fairfield, CT, Ed Stockman of Plainfield, MA, and Iris Whelan of Ocean Springs, MS. A common response from them was: “I was an unlikely candidate to get involved in something like this.” But they felt the need to do something because of their concerns over GMOs. So they launched groups—like, GMO-Free Connecticut and Mississippi, and No GMO 4 Michigan —to demand the right to know whether foods contain GMOs.

Their “immune response” is responsible for getting 26 states to introduce bills to label GM foods.

They face huge challenges: powerful multi-national food and biotechnology companies that will spend millions of dollars in misinformation campaigns and threaten lawsuits against state governments to deny labeling along with a federal government that allows biotechnology companies to claim that their GM seeds are unique and patented while declaring GM food the same as normal food.

Despite the challenges, momentum for GMO labeling is growing. Natural food retailers are either committing to labeling GMOs in their stores or removing them from shelves. National labeling legislation has been introduced. Even big food companies recognize the growing demand for labeling.

When labeling happens it will be because We the People demanded it. Isn’t that the way America should work?

Article written by

Ken Roseboro

Ken Roseboro has been called “the nation’s reporter on all issues surrounding genetically modified foods” by Acres USA magazine. He has written extensively about GM foods and the non-GMO trend since 1999. His articles have appeared in leading food and agriculture publications and websites, including Harvest Public Media, Mother Earth News, Huffington Post-Food for Thought, Civil Eats, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Organic Processing, World Grain, Food Processing, European Food and Drink Review, and others. He is a contributing editor to Organic Connections and New Hope 360. Ken is author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health and The Organic Food Handbook both published by Basic Health Publications. He has spoken at many conferences including Natural Products Expo West, All Things Organic, Acres USA Conference, The Organic Farming Conference, National Heirloom Seed Expo, and others. He is a member of the board of directors of the Iowa Organic Association. Ken appears in the award-winning documentary film, GMO OMG. In 2006, he received an Award of Merit from Seed Savers Exchange for his efforts to preserve genetic diversity through his publications.

2 Responses

  1. Chief
    Chief April 22, 2014 at 4:38 am | | Reply

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for bringing an intelligent, well-spoken voice to the GMO arena. I’m glad I stumbled across your website.

    I’m a 25 year old farmer, entrepreneur, physicist and writer born and raised among the snow-capped mountains of Montana. I grew up on an off-the-grid homestead with my brother, raised by my dad–a scientist, historian, entrepreneur, farmer, author, alternative energy expert and passive solar pioneer (he’s never one to brag, so I’ll do it for him). My brother and I went off on scholarships, first to the east coast then to the south for college, but we have since returned to our wild mountains to build our lives and prepare to not only survive, but thrive and pass the torch of civilization to those who will follow us.

    We’re a small family operation in Montana who love to grow things. The climate is challenging, but over the years we’ve settled on a few varieties of vegetables and grains that produce reliably. We discovered Painted Mountain Corn a few years ago and were amazed at its ability to mature in 90 days and produce bountifully where so many other corns have failed. We loved its colors, nutritional value, hardiness and ability to thrive in rocky, marginal soils at higher elevations (we grow at 5,000+ feet).

    I found your website when I was scrolling through search results for “Painted Mountain Corn.” You featured a short post on Dave Christensen a while back.

    With gluten intolerance on the rise and increasing awareness of the poisonous reality of GMO corn, I wonder if you’d be interested in featuring Painted Mountain Corn again on your website? My family and I have a lot of knowledge we’d love to share with folks on everything from passive solar greenhouses to chemistry to permaculture. Check out our website: and let me know if we can write up something for The Organic and Non-GMO Report.

    Have a great week,


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