Day 19

Non-GMO

SPONSORED BY RW Garcia

PGC Notes: As a reminder, you must follow all submission instructions in order to be considered for a daily prize. This means including your name, username, email address, and school in every submission. Please be sure to fully read the instructions for each challenge!  Thanks. 

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

Maybe you’ve heard of a GMO, but if you had to define it, you may not be able to. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Plenty of people have never even heard of GMOs, much less think about them when they’re grocery shopping. But, over 60 countries like Peru, Algeria, and 28 European countries have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. If that many countries have placed restrictions on GMOs, we should be paying more attention to them.

So, what are GMOs? A GMO, or genetically modified organism is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology. This is different than traditional breeding practices, where different breeds of the same species are combined to produce favorable traits. With modern GMOs, DNA is taken from a completely different species (like a fish or virus) and inserted into a crop (like a tomato or corn) to transfer genetic traits. These experimental combinations of genes cannot and do not occur naturally.

The overwhelming majority of GMOs are engineered to be more tolerant to large applications of herbicides and pesticides, like Roundup, 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. Food Democracy Now has the scoop on glyphosate here.

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, biodiversity loss, and violations of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

To make matters worse, the long-term health effects of GMOs on both people and planet are virtually unknown, and almost all studies that “prove” the safety of GMOs are funded by the very biotech corporations that profit from GMO sales.

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 $25 billion.

CHALLENGE

Green

20 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.

Then, take a look at our video of the day to give you an understanding of this really important topic

  • Research a person that is a leader in the Non-GMO movement and tell us what inspires you about this individual.

Deliverables

Upload a PDF Document your response. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2018.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 points total by logging out and back in again.
  • If you are having trouble uploading, try using a different browser
  • 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 #PGC2018.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

Think

The list of common ingredients that are now almost entirely made from GMO crops is astounding. 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 food. 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

Find an informative infographic and video that explain GMOs and their impact on health and the planet.
>Now, it’s 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? Check out this link to find out some high risk ingredients.
    • Write down the high risk ingredients you found in each item.
    • Did your findings surprise you?
  • Visit a local independent green grocer, co-op, or 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 make a creative side-by-side comparison. Caption each item with key ingredients and offer your perspective on GMOs. Share on a social media platform of your choice. Include a link to an informative short video and an infographic or article. Tag @turninggreenorg, @rwgarciasnacks, @nongmoproject, @usrightoknow, and @gmoinside with #PGC2018 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

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2018.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 points total by logging out and back in again.
  • If you are having trouble uploading, try using a different browser
  • 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 #PGC2018.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

Greenest due on October 29 @ 6am PT.

Up to 50 additional points will be awarded for outstanding 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 NonGMO Verified or 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.
      • Watch this 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 #PGC2018

    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

    • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greenest_2018.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 points total by logging out and back in again.
    • If you are having trouble uploading, try using a different browser
    • 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 #PGC2018.

TODAY’S PRIZES

up to 10 winners from the greener challenge will receive:

RW Garcia NonGMO MixtBag Chips
RW Garcia NonGMO Lentil & Turmeric Chips
RW Garcia NonGMO Kale Crackers
Guayaki Yerba Mate NonGMO Sparkling Mate
Nutiva NonGMO Coconut Sugar
Nutiva NonGMO Coconut Flour
Theo Chocolate NonGMO Dark Chocolate  Bar

One Degree Organics NonGMO Granola
Drew’s Organics NonGMO Salsa
Kuli Kuli Moranga NonGMO Greens & Protein
Dr. Bronner’s NonGMO Bar Soap
Eco Lips NonGMO Lip Balm
NonGMO Project Verified Tote Bag

up to 10 winners from the greenest challenge will receive:

RW Garcia NonGMO MixtBag Chips
RW Garcia NonGMO Hummus & Pepper Chips
RW Garcia NonGMO Sweet Potato Crackers
RW Garcia NonGMO Sweet Beet Crackers
Guayaki Yerba Mate NonGMO Bluphoria
Nutiva NonGMO Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Coconut Secret NonGMO Teriyaki Sauce
Lundberg NonGMO Quinoa
Made by Nature NonGMO Figgy Pops
Kuli Kuli Moranga NonGMO Energy Bar
Dr. Bronner’s NonGMO Coconut Oil
NonGMO Project Verified Tote Bag