Day 23

Non-GMO

SPONSORED BY RW GARCIA

EcoWatch
The Story of Stuff Project
EcoWatch
Guayaki

OVERVIEW

“An ecosystem, you can always intervene and change something in it, but there’s no way of knowing what all the downstream effects will be or how it might affect the environment. We have such a miserably poor understanding of how the organism develops from its DNA that I would be surprised if we don’t get one rude shock after another.”
Professor Richard Lewontin, Professor of Genetics, Harvard University

You’ve probably heard of a GMO, but if you were asked to defined it, it may be tough to do. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In fact, many people have never even heard of GMOs, much less think about them when they are grocery shopping. However, 60- plus countries around the world (including Australia, Japan, and the European Union) have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. If that many countries have placed restrictions on GMOs, we should probably pay more attention to them.

So what are GMO’s? GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organism,” and the phrase refers to plants or animals that have been genetically engineered to produce a specific set of characteristics. This is much different than traditional breeding practices, where different breeds of the same species are combined to produce favorable traits. With modern GMO’s, DNA is taken from a completely different species (like a fish or virus) and inserted into a crop (like a tomato) to transfer genetic traits. These experimental combinations of genes cannot and do not occur naturally.

Most commercial GMOs are engineered specifically to be more tolerant to large applications of herbicides and pesticides, like Roundup Ready, a chemical fertilizer created by the corporate giant Monsanto. Monsanto controls 80% of the GM (“genetically modified”) corn market and 93% of the GM soy market. Roundup’s main ingredient is glyphosate. Glyphosate was found by the World Health Organization to be a “probable human carcinogen” in May 2015 and today is classified as a “known carcinogen” under Prop 65 in California. Our partners at GMO Inside have the scoop on glyphosate here.

The biggest reason many plants are modified is so that they can withstand higher concentrations of pesticides or even so that the plant becomes a pesticide. GMOs have caused the use of pesticides and herbicides to skyrocket, leaving more chemical residue on crops for consumers to ingest. While much of the research around GMOs is conflicting, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health issues, environmental damage, and violations of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. To make matters worse, the long-term health effects of GMOs on both people and the planet are virtually unknown, and almost all studies that “prove” the safety of GMO’s are funded by the very biotech corporations that profit from GMO sales.

Most millennials were born into a GMO world. Today, an estimated 80% of food on supermarket shelves contain GMOs, something not stated on ingredient labels.

Fortunately, a growing number of people are becoming informed and demanding corporate food giants to label GMOs. In the absence of meaningful mandatory labeling in the United States, our partners at the Non­-GMO Project are working hard to protect non-GMO food in a different way, by creating a voluntary labeling system by which food companies could meet the consumer demand for non-GMO choices, thereby changing the supply chain and preserving safe, healthy food for future generations.

If you want to dive deeper, take a look this article from the New York Times about genetically modified crops.

As consumers, we have the power to find and choose non-GMO products to support a safe and healthy food supply. When in doubt, choose USDA Certified Organic products, which cannot contain GMO ingredients. And keep an eye out for The Non-GMO Project’s “butterfly” verification mark, which is North America’s only independent verification for products made according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance. The butterfly is also the fastest-growing label in the natural products industry representing more than 43,000 verified products, with annual sales of over $20 billion.

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

Think

The list of common ingredients that are now almost entirely made from GMO crops is astounding. And food companies are not required to test these GMO ingredients for pesticides or other harmful effects, and they don’t have to tell you when they put GMOs in your favorite foods. The passage of The Dark Act (S. 764) in 2016 preempts all mandatory labeling laws already passed at the state level and puts the burden on the consumer to discover if a product contains GMOs or not.

Challenge

It’s time to do your own investigative work.

  • Select three packaged food items you consume on a regular basis.
    • Are any of these items Non-GMO Project Verified or USDA Certified Organic?
    • Of those that aren’t, do they contain any ingredients that are at high risk of being genetically modified?
    • Write down the high risk ingredients you found in each item.
    • Did your findings surprise you?
  • Visit your local independent green grocer, local co-op, or an online food retailer and find a Non-GMO Project Verified or USDA Certified Organic version of each of the packaged food items you investigated.
    • How do the ingredients in your non-GMO version compare to the original?
    • Will your findings today change your food purchasing decisions?
  • Pick one product and do a side-by-side comparison. Caption each items with key ingredients and something you learned that you want to teach forward.
  • Deliverables

    Upload a PDF Document with your responses and side-by-side comparison. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

Think

The key to change is understanding. GMOs can be a highly controversial topic that is often not fairly represented. Propaganda, like the new GMO film Food Evolution, can skew the facts, preventing people from taking action around an issue that really matters.

Challenge

To gain a better understanding of GMOs and the breadth of information that is available, take a look at The Organic and Non-GMO Report.

  • Research a person that is a leader in the GMO movement and tell us what inspires you about this individual.
    • Find an informative infographic and video that can explain GMOs and their impact on health and the planet to your peer group.
    • What’s your take-away? Share your perspective on GMOs with your sphere of influence on social media. Include a link to an informative short video and an infographic or article. Tag @turninggreenorg, @rwgarciasnacks, @nongmoproject, @usrightoknow, and @gmoinside with #PGC2017 and #nonGMO.

    Deliverables

    Upload a PDF Document your responses and a screenshot of the social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
    The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

    Greenest

    60 POINTS

    Due on 10/29 at 6am PT. We will award up to 50 bonus points based on quality of work.

    Think

    It just so happens that some of the most popular snack foods (i.e. processed, packaged foods) often contain GMOs. In this challenge, we are inviting you to share what you’ve learned about GMOs with friends and family.

    Challenge

    It’s time to take a break from the books and help educate your friends about GMOs.

  • Set a date, create a guest list and make an invitation that provides a list of non-GMO items your friends might consider bringing. These could be as simple as USDA certified organic tortilla chips and salsa or more elaborate goodies.
    • Invite people to your study break via email, listserv, text, posters; you name it ­­– and post about your special study break on your social networks.
    • Select a short film on the subject of GMOs to screen at your gathering.
    • Watch the film and lead a discussion about GMOs. Were they surprised by the video content? Film some of their responses and take pictures.
  • Ask each guest to talk about the snack they brought, as everyone tastes it. Ask your guests to talk about why they chose it, where they bought it, and whether they’d buy it again. Make sure to take a picture of all the non-GMO snacks before they are devoured.
    • Include a couple of quotes from friends about what they have learned and how they will act on this wisdom in the future.
    • Together, come up with one actionable idea for raising awareness and/or promoting non-GMO on campus and share your idea.
    • Post a photo of the whole group and snacks to a social platform of your choice. Tag @NonGMOProject and @TurningGreenOrg and use the hashtags #nongmo and #PGC2017
    • Deliverables

      Upload a PDF Document with your responses and a screenshot of your social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

      Submission Guidelines

      • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
      • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greenest.pdf)
      • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
      • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
      • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
      • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
      • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
      • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
      • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
    The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

    TODAY’S PRIZES

    up to 10 winners from the greener challenge will receive:

    RW Garcia Non-GMO Black Bean & Garlic Chips
    RW Garcia Non-GMO Sweet Beet Crackers
    RW Garcia Non-GMO Yellow and Red MixtBag Chips
    Guayaki Yerba Mate Organic Enlightenmint
    Nutiva Organic Organic Coconut Flour
    Nutiva Organic Organic Coconut Sugar
    Emmy’s Organics Coconut Chocolate Chip Treats (2)

    Crofter’s Organic Biodynamic Strawberry Jam
    Theo Organic Quinoa Chocolate Crunch Bar
    Frontier Coop Organic Cinnamon
    EcoLips Organic Vanilla Honey Lip Balm
    Aetos NonGMO Organic Lemon Oil
    Non-GMO Project Recycled Tote Bag

    up to 10 winners from the greenest challenge will receive:

    RW Garcia Non-GMO Lentil & Turmeric Chips
    RW Garcia Non-GMOSweet Potato Crackers
    RW Garcia Non-GMO Yellow and Blue MixtBag Chips
    Numi Organic Tea Golden Chai
    Nutiva Organic Organic Coconut Oil
    Hilary’s Eat Well Free Product Coupons (2)
    Theo Organic Chocolate Salted Almond Clusters

    Emmy’s Organics Coconut Treats (2)
    Emmy’s Organics Dark Cacao Treats (2)
    Aetos NonGMO Organic Peppermint Oil
    Dr. Bronner’s Organic Peppermint Magic Balm
    Everyone NonGMO Hand Sanitizing Spray
    EcoLips Organic Vanilla Honey Lip Balm
    Non-GMO Project Recycled Tote Bag