Life After Prop 37

What’s Next After Prop 37?

Last month, in the midst of the contentious bickering that was the presidential election, Californians voted down Proposition 37, the one that would have required GMO labeling.

Having spent some time in Germany over the past few years, I’ve become acquainted with their green hexagon “Bio” label for organic foods, and the emphasis on non-GMO foods in their diets. Even though Prop 37 seemed to be less-than-perfectly written, I wanted to support the idea behind it and give it the backing that it needed.

Sadly, more than 50% of my voting compatriots disagreed, largely due to a massive marketing campaign against the measure, funded largely by Monsanto.

I’ve supported more than my share of failed propositions since we got here in 1999, and I usually let the losses go fairly quickly. Nearly a month later, though, this one still stings.

I suppose that for all of the money spent by agribusiness, something good has come out of it: even as the least-educated food consumer imaginable, you couldn’t have a television or radio in this state without becoming increasingly aware about the existence of GMOs in the food supply. Did people know that six months ago? I wonder if Monsanto’s blanketing of the airwaves will come back to bite them in the long haul as people become more educated about their food choices.

So what’s a Betty to do in this situation? I feel a strange urge to be more of a part of the local food movement, not just as a consumer but as a provider, or maybe an educator. No, it’s not even the local movement; it’s the quality movement. I don’t care where it comes from, exactly, as long as it’s good. After all, I am the kind of person who gets her spices shipped from the midwest via UPS.

But at the same time, I don’t really know what role I could play in this. I already feel like an inordinate amount of my time is spent food shopping, meal planning and cooking, and frankly there are more than a few nights where I just wish that I was the kind of person who could swing by the local fast food joint and feed the family guilt-free.

I want to feed ourselves real food, but the effort required to do so is pretty substantial. Iit certainly doesn’t help that the good local market that used to be my go-to default for organic meats and local produce has been bought by a regional chain and is now… well, deeply disappointing. The farmer’s market with the good meats is 25 minutes away, but the one with the best vegetables is nearby. I could easily spend my entire Saturday morning driving all over the east bay to buy the week’s food; how committed am I?

I just feel like my summertime tomato farming isn’t cutting it. I should be buying fresh food in bulk and canning and preserving; instead, I try to spend my weekends doing radical things like unwinding, relaxing and playing with the kiddo (and the endless stream of laundry, of course). Someone suggested that I should start beekeeping and raising chickens, although both of those probably violate some sort of city ordinance and take more time than I’m probably willing to commit.

How do you get the fresh foods that you want? Do you rack up the miles as you go from store to store and farmer’s market to farmer’s market, or do you just settle for the local grocery because there’s so much else going on in your life?

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5 Responses

  1. Joining a CSA had been the solution to this problem for us. Sadly, no such thing exists here in Pensacola and though there’s a weekly farmers market, there’s not much there. More baked goods and wind socks than produce.

  2. Alan Etienne says:

    Sadly, this is what most consumers are going through. Even when you’re willing to go the extra miles traveling from place to place, it becomes exhausting. Eventually the average GMO markets and grocery stores become more attractive solely due to convenience. It’s the same with fast foods which are notoriously filled with GMO’s. The fight is harder for the ones that wish to purchase real foods but you’re going up against Corporate America, being the underdog or rebel was never meant to be easy. GMO labeling is the best way to win, but, there aren’t enough people involved. For me, it can be difficult. I’m a college student. I can’t always afford to travel and buy GMO free foods, and when i can, the strain it puts on my wallet is terrifying. I do my best to avoid it and make other people aware of it but not everyone is as concerned. I’m just waiting for something to happen, another prop, or a huge movement. I would love to get more involved as well but i’m afraid it won’t be as effective as i think. Keep trucking.

  3. Alisa says:

    And that’s the problem. If we’re busy on Saturday morning (market day) due to any number of kid sporting events or activities, there’s no great option for alternatives. My “good” market has gone mediocre and I could easily spend hours on the road each week trying to get to Whole Foods, Sprouts (an excellent selection of dried beans and grains) or the deluxe supermarket that’s 20 minutes away. The CSA that everyone raves about locally is another 15 minutes’ drive to pick up (pickup only), which is absolutely why it’s so darned easy to buy mediocre (at best) and unhealthy (at worst) crap.

    And here I am in London, surrounded by notations of origin and provenance and I’m so darned frustrated about American food.

  4. Jewel says:

    Man, this article hit home. I spend so much money, time and effort gathering and preparing food. I have a toddler and am pregnant which does not add to my energy efforts. I drive all around town multiple days a week. I often wonder what I do with all my time. I am a stay at home mommy and I still am not able to keep up with all the demands. Avoiding GMO’s and chemicals in food is hard, so I make just about everything from scratch.

    Before my husband and I ate real food though life was not as bright. My husband had a bad case of asthma and his nose was clogged all the time, not to mention he would get sick a great deal. Then I started making the real organic foods and his inhaler is just about non existent.

    Hope and prayers is what I have that America will get it. The bigger impact GMO’s and all the things we are doing to the environment is having a terrible impact on us and the future for our children.

  5. Jan says:

    We’ve decided to use our average sized suburban lot to grow as much food as possible. We don’t want to leave it up to the corporations to feed us any longer. Although it does take a lot of work, and we feel it is worth it. A lot of our old friends think we’re strange, but I’ve made new friends that think just like me. 🙂 We trade produce if we have too much and it builds community.

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