A quick look at the standard American spread at a Fourth of July gathering can be the biggest unintended commercial advocating for the GMO awareness movement.
There are burgers made of cows pumped full of hormones and raised in miserable conditions, genetically modified seedless watermelon, sweet corn grown with trademarked Monsanto seeds that could sit out on that same table and look virtually unchanged days later, and, at the very end, some whipped-cream topped sweetness that's chock full of eggs provided by hens imprisoned in battery cages.
But with everyone from Cheerios to the Girl Scouts now responding to the calls for GMO Awareness, the spread is getting an overhaul as more people request to know where their food is coming from and what little weirdo experiments it went through before it got to the picnic table.
Locally, this Fourth of July provides an opportunity to get educated with the annual Fourth of July GMO Awareness Event on A1A and Las Olas Boulevard. The Fort Lauderdale event is part of a 100-cities nationwide educational rally to "celebrate a world with seed and food freedom."
"It's not like we are asking for a lot," says Trish Sheldon, one of the organizers of the event. "I mean already, these top seven food manufacturers already are labeling in 65+ countries - if they don't have an outright ban! Why not here in the US?"
Sheldon and some of the same folks behind Gmofreeflorida.org and the March Against Monsanto that saw an estimated 800 people march back in May will set up with a tent, coolers, drum circle for a day of petition signing, educational conversations, community outreach and flyering beginning around noon and lasting til the city's fireworks celebration later that night.
"I will be out there on the Fourth of July, As always, having fun with my family and friends while educating the masses about GMO and fighting for all the moms whose children have severe food allergies that not only have a 'right to know' but, a 'need to know' if the products their children are eating contain Genetically Modified Organisms. We want traceability. Transparency. Accountability," Sheldon says.
Sheldon says with China and Russia banning GMOs, the US shouldn't be that far behind.
The event takes place 12:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 241 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Visit gmofreeflorida.org.