The Fight Against Frankenfoods in South Florida: GE-Free Cookoff at Marando Farms
Local fight against genetically engineered (GE), also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is still raging on. Peacefully, of course. The latest event was Sunday's Food & Water Watch's GE-Free cook-off at Marando Farms.
The event, which was open to the public, asked contestants to bring a GE-Free dish to share. Around fifty members of the public turned out to show support and learn more about the efforts to require mandatory labeling of GE foods.
The event, which ran from 2 to 4 pm, featured guest speakers from a wide array of organizations: Chelsea Marando, farmer and owner of Marando Farms; Tamara Ayon, Executive Director of the Broward County Democratic Executive Committee and concerned mother; Reverend Gail Tapscott of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale; Erick Gunkelman of Food and Water Watch. Dion and Sandesha Taylor of RawOne Foods and Adrian Veitia of Miami Catering Service Chef judged.
Clean Plate Charlie spoke with Reverend Gail Tapscott about her involvement with the movement. She holds educational workshops. Her next workshop, called Nutrition Detectives, is going to focus on teaching children to read labels. Food & Water Watch will be coming to speak to parents at the event, which will be held on December 9.
According to Tapscott, "This issue is currently about money. Supporters for Proposition 37 in California were outspent four to one. They had a difficult time getting the word out, because the opposition was spreading lies. Four million people did vote for Prop. 37. Word was going around on voting day that it wasn't even worth voting for it, because it was going to lose: 3 million votes weren't even in."
Overall, those involved felt that the 'cook-off' was a success. Local dietician and nutrition consultant, Adrienne Bolten has been involved with the local fight against GMOs since the beginning. She has seen the movement grow over the past few months. "I started going to the meetings two months ago. The first meeting was myself and about four or five other people. Now every Tuesday, we have at least ten to twelve people, if not more. Right now, it's a small, but incremental game."
Bolten was present for the meeting with State Senator Sobel last week. According to Bolten, "Senator Sobel was open to discussion, but she wanted to know what the health hazards are, but it's hard to show now. If it's not labelled, you don't know what you're eating and it's hard to study the empirical effects. In nutrition and dietetics it's all about educating the consumer and the public. The very core of this is disease prevention and health promotion. We can't accomplish those goals without the labeling of GE foods. I mentioned to Senator Sobel that we have labeling of trans fat to determine if a product is heart healthy. And we don't have that choice with GE foods."
At this point, you might be wondering which dishes won the cook-off. The popular vote went to a kale salad, while the judges voted for a bloody mary--not a surprise on a Sunday afternoon.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to South Florida dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.