Non-GMO Month – Our Right To Know

Our ‘right to know’ what is in the food we eat and feed our families is a basic incontrovertible right. Mandatory labeling would empower Canadians with the information they need to make informed choices about their food.

GMO labeling is mandatory in 64 countries around the world, including Australia, Russia, China, and all of Europe, but no such requirements exist in North America. In spite of this frustrating fact, there are many ways we can arm ourselves with tools and information to make healthy non-GMO food choices.

Let’s start by making good food choices to avoid GMOs:

Choose Non GMO Project Verified!

When you see the little orange butterfly on a product you can be assured that that product has met the very rigorous standards of the Non-GMO project- that includes testing every major high risk ingredient and using a system of traceability and segregation to ensure that the non-GMO ingredient e.g. corn, maintains its purity throughout the supply chain and that is what ends up in your ‘cornflakes’.

Choose organic!

Every organic standard in the world prohibits the use of GMOs. When we choose certified organic food we also benefit form all of the additional values of organic agriculture such as reducing our exposure to toxic pesticides, supporting a food system that values environmental stewardship, animal welfare standards, transparent labels, and complete traceability from farm to fork.

Choose non-risk ingredients!

Choosing whole, unprocessed foods is a simple way to avoid GMOs. Take your morning bowl of hearty oatmeal with apples and hemp and walnuts. That is a naturally non- GMO power breakfast since oats, hemp, apples and walnuts are not GMO crops.

It is equally important to be judicious about our information choices:

Choose reliable sources for your GMO education. At The Big Carrot we partner with organic and non-GMO organizations to keep us up to date and well informed because we know that good information is critical if we are going to transform our food system. Here are our two non- gmo organizations you should have in your back pocket:

CBAN (Canadian Biotechnology Action Network) is the leading Canadian resource for collaborative campaigning at the local, regional, national and international levels, for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice with over 18 grass roots organizations from across Canada! CBAN researches and monitors new technologies in order to provide current, credible information to Canadians.

The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and building the non-GMO food supply, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. They believe that everyone deserves an informed choice about whether or not to consume genetically modified organisms.

This October, The Big Carrot will join more than 1,500 grocery retailers across North America participating in the fifth annual Non-GMO Month. Created by the Non-GMO Project, this month-long celebration puts a spotlight on GMO education and our right to choose food and products without GMOs. See how you can participate this October in the many opportunities, both in-store and in our community, to learn more about GMOs.

On the heels of Non-GMO Month are two exciting and unique opportunities to amp up your Non-GMO understanding.

Thursday November 13th, Canadian scientist Dr. Thierry Vrain will make the Toronto stop on his cross-Canada GE Education Tour. Dr. Vrain worked as a soil biologist and genetic engineer for Canada’s federal Department of Agriculture for 30 years. Dr. Vrain is now sounding the alarm to increase public awareness about the potential hazards of GMOs that have been sprayed with the herbicide Roundup.

Saturday, November 15th, direct from her speaking engagement at the 8th Food Secure Canada Assembly, Dr. Vandana Shiva will be the keynote speaker at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Toronto.  Dr Shiva is a world-renowned author, scientist, feminist, philosopher, and environmentalist. She is the founder of Navdanya and the Diverse Women for Diversity as well as a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel Prize”). This is a rare opportunity to hear Dr. Vandana Shiva speak in person and certainly not to be missed.

So come out and celebrate your right to choose, empower yourself with information, get inspired by some of the leading voices of our movement. In honour of our non-GMO commitment The Big Carrot will donate 5% of every Non GMO Project Verified purchase you make during Non-GMO Month back to the Non GMO Project.

As always, at The Big Carrot, Non-GMO Project Verified choices feature a special shelf tag to help you spot them easily, so look for the beautiful orange butterfly throughout the store on over 1675 products (don’t forget Body Care and the Dispensary too!)


Maureen Kirkpatrick is our Standards Coordinator and a board member for The Non-GMO Project