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I am so excited to see one of my heroes, Vandana Shiva, this Saturday at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. I admire her so much for so many reasons. For example, she is the pioneer of the non-GMO movement. She’s been fighting for farmer’s rights, seed sovereignty, the environment, our ecosystem and our food supply for longer than I think I’ve been alive! I also think that she’s such an incredible role model for all activists, but especially for girls and women. She is more aware than most people about what a frightening state our world is in, and yet she remains so optimistic and enthusiastic. I am so inspired by everything she does including how she has this compelling, yet gentle way of getting people to stop, and challenge them to think differently. I’ll be going to India very soon and can’t wait to learn more from her on how to make this world a better place. She’s made a huge, positive impact on India’s agriculture by influencing government policy…and that’s what I’m trying to do for Canada by making GMO labeling mandatory.

We know who we’re fighting against. We’re the David and they’re the Goliath. The only way our movement will be a success is if we all work together as one big, global team, which is exactly what Vandana is all about. Our organisation, Kids Right To Know is driven by two basic principles: transparency and freedom of choice. We all work so hard as a team, to educate Canadians about GMOs so that they’re made aware that when it comes to our food, things aren’t transparent, which means our freedom to choose has been taken away. But to get that back means GMO labeling must become a law. Otherwise, soon, we’ll all need PhDs to be able to detect which food is GMO and which is not. This is what we’re fighting so hard for – so that we can make clear, informed decisions about what we eat.

GMOs are the hottest topic right now when it comes to food in Canada and the United States. Polls have been consistently showing that about 90% of Canadians who do know what GMOs are want them labeled. Wherever and whenever any of us finds the opportunity to raise awareness and can influence change, we must take action and just go for it! The Festival of Dangerous Ideas is a beautiful and inspiring celebration of this kind of thinking. Let’s not be afraid to go against the grain and challenge the status quo…and better yet, challenge the big bullies!

Rachel Parent, Founder of Kids Right To Know

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We were inspired by Vandana’s passionate fight to preserve heritage seeds, protecting small farmers who rely on the renewal of their seeds year after year, often times fighting off GMOs (genetically modified organisms) from large corporations.

In Canada, there’s a rally to support Bill C-474, which would support Canadian farmers by requiring that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”

The bill would stop GE (genetically engineered) wheat and alfalfa from being produced, because it cannot be sold in certain markets, such as those in Europe, which are world leaders in banning GE products.

It’s timely, then, that we get to hear from Bob Wildfong, Executive Director of Seeds of Diversity Canada, who recognizes the importance of keeping seeds local, natural and diverse. Feeling inspired? Plant the seed in your local community.

By Bob Wildfong
Seeds of Diversity Canada

We have to take notice that there’s a crucial missing piece in the growing local food movement. It makes sense to grow our food close to home, but we also need to grow our seeds close to home.

Just after World War 2, there was a strong desire to create domestic self-sufficiency because people remembered bad times when they couldn’t get food across borders and worldwide shipping was disrupted. Our federal government spent millions of dollars developing Canadian-bred varieties of fruits and vegetables, but most of those are now just relegated to seed banks.

During the past 50 years, our food system has shifted to a massive export-import system and seed production has globalized too.

Now, most of the seed varieties that are sold and grown in Canada are actually bred and produced in other parts of the world. Canadian varieties are not easy to find, because we’re too small a market in the global wholesale system. So our local food is mostly grown of non-local varieties.

We can support Canadian local food and local seeds by supporting Canadian seed growers, home-grown Canadian seed companies, and rekindling our identity as a land of abundant food choices. See a complete list of Canadian seed companies, and the fruit and vegetable varieties that they sell at www.seeds.ca

– Bob Wildfong, Executive Director, Seeds of Diversity Canada

www.seeds.ca
www.semences.ca

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can plant the first seed: Share your story of how you’re planting seeds for change in your community, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

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