In addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness month, October has been designated “NON-GMO” Month. I had the pleasure of having dinner with Jane Goodall last year. It was a small private dinner with friends and seated at my left was the owner of a very large, nation wide grocery store chain. To my right was “Jane”, as everyone refers to Jane Goodall; one of my lifelong heroes and a force in the environmental and preservation movements around the world. My dinner partner to my left, knowing I was a Nutrition Coach, began our meal by giving me his opinions on how beneficial Genetically Modified Foods (GMO’s) are to the world. He believes they are the answer to world hunger, the much needed next “green revolution” and that “giving” these seeds to third world countries is our greatest gift to humanity.
As I was about to give him my negative opinion on GMO’s –that they are actually taking away the farmers ability to grow their own seeds, leaving poor farmers indebted and obligated to the giant seeds companies each year for survival. My serious concerns over the untested long- term effects of splicing fish genes into a tomato seed and other abominations that apply to soy, corn, and numerous other crops. Or why most EU countries have banned or have strict regulations on the use of GMOs in their food, but not the USA. And most importantly, why the US does NOT demand that GMO crops are labeled so that the consumer can make a choice. (hint: it’s all about money) I did not have a chance. I felt a gentle hand on my right arm. I turned in my seat to see Jane Goodall’s pale gray eyes staring into mine.
Jane Goodall leaned in and said “Holli, don’t” and when I asked her why she smiled. “We must sit down and talk, for as long as we need. Now is not the time.”
I responded, “Jane, he thinks GMO’s are a good idea. He is in a position to make an enormous difference.”
She leaned closer and whispered. “I’ve been in Congress all week, I’ve met with the opposition, I’ve been talking about GMO’s, Sustainable Food, Organic farming-It takes time. It will take much more time than a dinner. We must sit down with them, and we must listen thoroughly. We must make sure we understand them. And then we will talk. This is the best way.”
Then, she patted my arm again and gave me a look that said “listen to me”. And she turned to her dinner companion on her right. I’ve thought about this evening many times since my dinner with Jane, as I’ve encountered people who challenge me on the importance of eating organic foods, or laugh when I talk about certain food groups being the root cause of asthma or frequent sinus infections. People agree on how toxic fast foods are, and yet that afternoon will stop at the drive thru on the way home from the office.
Jane has been an inspiration to me my entire life and since meeting her and seeing her gentle and persistent, intelligent way, she is now more than ever. Jane Goodall has persevered for many years in her mission to save the Giant Apes she holds so dear through education and research, and realizes the necessity for conservation and local community sustainability for their survival. Jane is a life long vegetarian and healthy food advocate. Check out her book, Harvest for Hope
Jane Goodall’s program “Roots and Shoots” is actively creating a worldwide network of young people who are learning to care deeply for all animals and the environment.
For more information on GMO’s, including your own shopping guide and APP for your phone, please go to:
For information on GMO Month go to http://www.nongmoproject.org/consumers/non-gmo-month/