Morning Read: Vermont's Will Allen Honored for GMO Fight | Off Message
Pin It
Favorite

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Morning Read: Vermont’s Will Allen Honored for GMO Fight

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 11:26 AM

click to enlarge morningread640.png
Will Allen, an organic farmer from Thetford who was a leading force behind passage of Vermont’s 2014 genetically modified food labeling law, is being recognized as one of Politico Magazine’s 50 most influential people.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also made the list, ranking No. 1.

Allen, No. 36 on the list, was granted the honor “for making food transparent.” Politico concluded that Allen “has changed America’s food system.”

Ironically, Allen’s being feted for a fight he didn’t quite win. And Politico paired him with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), someone he decidedly doesn’t see as an ally.

Vermont’s GMO law went into effect July 1 but was quickly preempted by federal legislation Stabenow spearheaded that will require national labeling of genetically modified foods. The federal law, however, gives agencies two years to come up with rules and allows manufacturers to label products with a smartphone-scannable QR code rather than the on-package labeling that Vermont law required.

“We are extremely dismayed by Politico’s blindsiding us in pairing me with Debbie Stabenow and concluding that we changed American agriculture,” Allen, manager of Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center in Thetford, said in a statement. “The Vermont bill certainly influenced the debate, but Stabenow’s efforts just prove the power of corporate control.”

click to enlarge Vermont farmer Will Allen - POLITICO
  • Politico
  • Vermont farmer Will Allen
“We were fighting tooth and nail against what she was doing,” Andrea Stander, executive director of Rural Vermont, said of Stabenow.

Nonetheless, Allen plans to attend tonight’s event honoring those on the list, Stander said. “Knowing Will, he’ll kick up some fuss,” she said.

Politico paired Sanders with conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the No. 1 spot, Allen noted. 

Stander said Politico called her to inquire which individual most deserved credit for passage of Vermont’s GMO law. Because Allen formed the Right to Know GMOs Coalition that advocated for the bill, he was widely considered the right choice, she said. “He did start the whole thing,” she said.

She, Allen and others involved in the debate do believe Vermont’s law brought more light to the issue of GMO ingredients.

Allen said: “This award gives us recognition for our collective effort and the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to safe food and the public’s right to know what is in our food. And we also get to say it one more time: Stabenow betrayed us.”


Tags: , , , , , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It
Favorite

About The Author

Terri Hallenbeck

Terri Hallenbeck

Bio:
Terri Hallenbeck is a Seven Days staff writer covering politics, the Legislature and state issues.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2017 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation