Here’s my testimony I presented at Augusta yesterday in support of LD718 (Maine GMO Labeling bill)
Senator Jackson, Representative Dill, and honorable members of the Maine Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Joint Standing Committee: Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony in support of LD718 (Maine GMO Labeling Bill)
My name is Lillian Lake. I have a degree in Business with a concentration in International Development. As a Community Visionary, I weave people and ideas together to form sustainable, resilient, culturally sound communities; most often around local food systems. Working regionally, nationally and internationally, my work connects me with businesses, food producers, hospitals, schools and universities and other non-profits. I am working with the University of Maine at Farmington to develop a GMO-free campus. This is student led and I believe a testimony to multi-generational interest in obliterating GMO foods.
As a social activist and lifelong resident of Maine, I have fought for social justice on many levels. Maine’s proposed GMO labeling bill isn’t “just” a labeling bill. It is a human rights bill. It provides for the right for us to know what’s in our food; what foods we put in our body; and have food that is culturally and nutritionally sound. It’s a step, not a solution to a larger problem. Biotechnology has prolific representation in Washington. This bill helps level the playing field, allowing consumers to vote three times a day with their forks. It is policy that does not discriminate in regard to income or culture. Maine’s Senators and Representatives have a responsibility to provide that opportunity. You know your job is not to decide whether GMO’s are bad or good, but to allow Maine’s citizens to make that choice independently; labeling is one means of fostering that independence. You must be the people’s representative.
Most European countries saw a large market increase (which continues), in organic, sustainable farming when GMO labeling was made mandatory. There is no reason to believe this will not happen here. This is desirable as we want to meet the nutrition needs of the poor in ways that benefit small farmers. Small farmers and fishers are the crux of Maine’s economy. As we begin to experience food shortages across the country, it is imperative we institute policies that support our local food producers, as well as patrons.
However, food security is not just about food, it is about culture and history. A GMO Labeling bill in Maine, reflects our history of independence; fearless leaders; support of sustainable farming and fishing practices; and the will of Maine’s citizen’s to look out for Maine – as individuals and collectively.
Finally, LD718 is an opportunity to change the conversation. When solving a problem involves political leaders and scientists, you will have divisiveness. This is an opportunity to bring together conventional and organic farmers and fishers and what is good about each for the benefit of an agricultural industry that is sustainable, resilient and culturally appropriate at “community” level, because talking GMO alone is divisive.
Thank you for your time, attention and thoughtful, informed consideration of Maine’s historical GMO labeling bill.
East Wilton, ME