GMO-Free Florida: The Momentum is Rolling!

by Trish Sheldon

With co-leaders Mel and Atiya, I facilitate the Action Group for ‘GMO Free Florida’ and the ‘Millions Against Monsanto, Florida Chapter’.

We are working on multiple fronts:

- looking into several Florida (local and state) labeling initiatives and networking with our newly active Non-GMO groups across Florida;
- doing Outreach, Leafleting, Speaking, Film Screenings, Petition Signing, Letters to our Constituents and Direct Action.
- I also take clients shopping to show them how to ‘really’ read labels, advise on what to buy or avoid, and I speak at Mommy & Me groups.

Coming from California, I have been an advocate for the organic movement since the mid 80s. I knew that industrial farming was one of the largest polluters of our planet, I knew that organics were great because of the pesticide issues, however at that time I really didn’t know much about the “Gene Revolution”.  My activism journey started about 3 years ago, when I read an article on GM crops. I couldn’t believe more people were not interested in what was happening to our food supply. I started talking with my friends and family about the issue. Some were very receptive, others thought I was crazy. Then I began blogging and sharing information with my friends on Facebook. That is when I first learned about Jeffrey Smith and IRT, and many other great organizations on the GMO battlefront.

Two years ago, I read a petition from Greenpeace on GM rice.  I was so mad.  I started talking with grocery chains and restaurant managers about the issue, and meanwhile my core of foodie activists was growing, until last year when we organized our first rally.  We joined efforts with people in Tampa, and we had two rallies in Florida.  We were determined to do something!  It was the OCA’s ‘Rally for the Right to know’ and 35 people showed up. From organizing that rally, I met my “partners in crime” Atiya, Mel and Dr. Lynn, all instrumental in bringing momentum to this local movement.  (Dr. Mercola just happened by and he took some footage of the rally!).

This year, it seemed out of our hands–it went big!  We posted on walls, emailed, blasted out our event to all our favorite Facebook pages –within a week, The  Robert Scott Bell Show contacted me.  Eventually we connected with one of the best organic markets in South Florida, BM Organics, where we held our meetings.  Some great bands performed, including mine.  Sponsors and speakers poured in; we even tried to fly in Jeffrey Smith but he was already booked somewhere else – however, we were able to patch him in via the Robert Scott Bell Show.

On World Food Day, I’ve seen more participation than ever:  nine separate rallies across Florida!  And 100 rallies nationwide, making this the biggest single day of action for labeling GE foods in U.S. History!  And the culmination was the Right2Know March from NY to DC.  Environmental groups are talking about GMO’s and the media are now more  receptive to interviewing and reporting such rallies, as we saw with the Broward and Palm Beach New Times, Sun Sentinel, and WLRN!

Our next action is to bring together multiple groups on Saturday, October 22nd at 1:30pm in Miami, where we will “crash” the SEJ, a meeting of over 700 journalists who cover environmental news. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are working very quickly to get as many people together as possible to support this rally. Also, Occupy Ft. Lauderdale and Miami will meet us in peaceful protest.

For more info, see
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=241569719225607
Just say NO to GMOs!
Tricia (Trish) Sheldon can be reached at tristessa88@gmail.com
and at 
Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197496120313661