Wendy Goldner: Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to address you today. I’d like to begin by telling you why I am attending this meeting.
I attended last week’s meeting and listened as Tina Neilsen of the Boulder Parks and Open Space department present the case for allowing GMO sugar beets to be grown on Boulder County public land. Truthfully, I really wasn’t very educated about GMOs but I was born with a healthy does of liberal DNA and even without knowing much about them, I was pretty sure it was bad idea. And so I came to support my friends and colleagues when they sounded the alarm.
But after what I learned, I’m back, because I feel strongly about protecting the integrity of the food my family consumes and think that rest of Boulder does as well.
Let me tell you what I learned from the Parks and Open Space presentation:
Family farmers have successfully grown sugar beets in Boulder County for over 150 years. And yet, there are 6 family farmers who sit here today, forced to petition the Boulder City council for their right to livelihood because the crop they have been profitably and sustainably farming here is no longer accessible to them. Why? Because in 2008, just one year ago, Monsanto released the GMO sugar beet seed and it has wiped out the entire crop of non-GMO sugar beets. We’re talking about 95% carnage in one year.
That’s an entire crop that had been successfully farmed in Boulder County for over 150 years was wiped out in 1 year because of the introduction of Monsanto’s patented and wholly owned GMO seed. First corn, now 85% GMO, then soybeans, 87% GMO, cotton 91%, and now sugar 95% GMO in just one year.
Take a second to appreciate what that really means. It means that wherever Monsanto chooses to put their resources, whatever crop is next, those are the farmers who will be here in front of you next year to fight for their livelihood because the seed that they have been using for generations is no longer available and can only be obtained through Monsanto.
We need to speak up to stop this now. This is not about 6 farmers or 4000 acres. This is about the future of our food supply and what the people of Boulder County have to say about the use of their open space.
And so I have to ask you, to take a moment and look into your heart and tell me, do you really think it’s a good idea for us to be genetically manipulating the structural DNA of the food that we ingest into our bodies? And that if we don’t act now and persuade other towns to do the same, that tomorrow we may loose the freedom to choose what kind of foods we eat?
The nation looks to Boulder as an important compass heading- environmentally, educationally, economically– to roll over and say lets let “big government solve this problem” .
I believe in the phrase, “Think Globablly, Act Locally” as matter of fact I was sure we invented that slogan in this town. If we allow yourselves to believe that this is a minor agricultural legal rider when in fact it is a corrosion of what Boulder represents in the hearts and minds of people around the globe, then you are negating the back-breaking work that Boulder done.
Capitulation and complacency are not what Boulder stands for. Not now and not ever.
So, I’ll close by telling you what my 16 year old son said to me when he asked me why I was coming to speak to you tonight. I told him what I had learned last week. That within one year of their introduction, GMO sugar beets had wiped out an entire crop that will not be seen again in his lifetime. I told him that this was going to affect the future of 6 farmers who were forced to come here before the city because a multinational company had taken away their right to choose and in doing so had threaten their livelihood. But I told him that more importantly, it was time for people everywhere to wake up and speak out about the consequences of doing nothing as a single chemical corporation tried to take over our very own food source on our very own land. I told him that I was coming because last week Boulder Parks and Open Space had voted to approve additional GMO farming in Boulder County. And he looked at me puzzled and said, “Seriously. They really think that’s the right thing to do?”
So I’m asking you, “Seriously. Do you really think this is the right thing to do?”