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'Get the drift! Vermont says no GMOs!'

(Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From an Oct. 23 news release:

For Interviews call: Bayard Littlefield 802.272.9536
Doyle Canning 802.279.0985

MONTPELIER, VT—Vermont farmers and their supporters rallied in Montpelier today before a meeting on genetically engineerd crops at the Agency of Agriculture. 37 organic dairy farmers farmers signed a pubic statement to voice their opposition to the adoption of policies that will allow cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Vermont. In a related incident, a giant banner was unfurled from the third story of a building next to the Statehouse declaring “Coexistence = Contamination! Vermont Says No GMOs!”

Rallying with colorful signs and banners, Vermonters again demonstrated that Genetically Engineereed agriculture poses threats to the safety of the food supply, Vermont’s environment, and small scale and organic farmers. “So-called ‘coexistence’ of genetically engineered crops and organic crops means there will be contamination,” said Lisa McCrory of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT). “Organic famers have zero tolerance for GE Contamination. NOFA supports a Time Out on GMOs becasue contamination of organic crops, and conventional farms, means lost markets and lost revenues for Vermont farmers, and endangering Vermont’s ecosystems.”

Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr formed an "ad hoc" working group on genetically engineered crops, which met Thursday to host representatives from the US Department of Agricuture and the Universtiy of Vermont.

Vermont leads the nation in percentage of acres farmed organically at 22%. Seventy Vermont towns have passed Town Meeting resolutions which call for labeling of GE ingredients in food, a moratorium on growing GE crops in their towns, and encouraging the corporate developers of GE seeds be held liable for damages resulting from GE contamination. Over 150 farmers have also signed letters in support of these resolutions, as concerns over containment and liability of these crops have hit headlines nation wide.

More than 30 citizens and farmers attended the demonstration, carrying signs and banners supporting a GE Free Vermont with slogans like “Coexistence=Contamination” and “Monsanto Out of Montpelier!”

The GE Free Vermont Coalition is a statewide effort for a Time Out on GMOs.