This is personal. I am an immigrant, I moved to the United States of America for the American dream. For a better life for my family, for the opportunity to have a say about what matters to me. It has not been easy, we have given up a home that we love, South Africa, a beautiful country with wonderful people we care deeply about, but we wanted a better life for our family and more opportunities for our children. We waited nine years to be passed through the legal process and arrived just before the economic melt down in 2008. We have worked very hard alongside some wonderful new friends to start a small business and make a positive impact within our community.
Our journey has been filled with highs and lows and some very memorable moments.
I had a lot of time to think on the flight over here about what we were moving towards: liberty for all, the pursuit of happiness, strength, family, freedom. One of my earliest memories is of our first American football game at Gillette stadium. Patriots vs. Dolphins. I don’t remember the score, I don’t remember the plays, the weather or what I was wearing, I do remember that when they they started the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of the game, everybody stood, removed their hats, put their right hands over their hearts, and pride washed over that stadium in a wave. I have never experienced anything like it, I cried.
We know we are not perfect, we know we have work to do and we don’t always agree on how to get it done, but as a nation, America has an identity, we know what our values are and we are proud of them. America is made up of 300 million people who celebrate freedom, and who care.
Out in California, Proposal 37 to be voted on in November on the labeling of food containing GMO’s is a defining moment for the food movement, one that could impact the rest of the country. Yes, it is about GMO crops that are being grown and included in our food without our knowledge, and yes, it is about the as yet unqualified risks that GMO’s could present. But more importantly, it is about our right to know, and our right to choose. To choose! To be free to make a choice.
Michael Pollan wrote an article on the subject recently, read it here, on why we should all care. It is thoughtful, as always – I feel so strongly about this issue, for me it is not just about a label, it is not just about food. Maybe it is because of where I grew up, and where I am today, but I know oppression when I see it. The corporate giants that are on board with Monsanto to oppose Prop 37 don’t have the right to take away the freedom we have to make choices for ourselves and our families. They don’t have the right to keep information from us that could affect our purchasing decisions. What happened to the free market? Their argument is that we are irrational, and that we will act on emotion, and can’t make informed decisions, they are worried about what the impact our ability to choose will have on their businesses, to me that is an irrational argument. Who ever heard of building brand loyalty and trust through dishonesty? Besides, I don’t see irrational behavior and companies folding in countries where GMO foods are labelled. In his article, Michael Pollan also refers to the fact that corporate giants don’t trust us. The definition of trust is ‘confidence in, or the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth’. Truth. Seems to me truth is pretty essential to a relationship of trust.
Prop 37 needs to happen, and it needs to reach other states too. It is not just about the food we are putting in our bodies, and please believe me when I say I feel passionate about that too, but it is ALSO about not allowing those with money and power to tell us what is best for us. Let us decide, let our consumer choices and voices drive your product decisions – Monsanto & Co, you are right, you cannot trust us to do what you want us to do, but you can trust us to tell you what it is we want – and isn’t that how it should be? Isn’t that what America is all about . . . we the people?