OMG–GMO!

Well, this is a bit of a different kind of Mike Uncorked. Megan Brown, the smiling face behind the counter at Eos, emailed me about a bunch of fun events taking place in October, in support of Non-GMO month. This was all very new for me, it sparked my interest and I want to share it all with you.

A bit of background first. Eos Natural Foods is located on Front Street in Wolfville and it is a magnificent shop filled with unique products (too many to list) and all things natural. The staff is very helpful, the atmosphere reeks of health and freshness, and I love shopping there. The 41 year old store opened in 1973 as a co-op. Amanda Vaz (a former Who’s Who) purchased it from Janet Finer and Carole Allain in 2013 and changed the name from Eos Fine Foods to Eos Natural Foods. Her vision was to create a store where people could shop and trust that the products they were buying were as local as possible (Eos has over 50 local suppliers), sustainable, organic, GMO-free, and fair trade.

It is with this commitment to quality ingredients and sustainable practices that the folks at Eos are excited to announce their involvement with the Non-GMO Project for the Non-GMO month of October! GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms and are plants or animals created through gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. For consumers, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on food ingredients that are at risk of being genetically modified, as the list of at-risk agricultural ingredients is frequently changing. This was a major eye-opener for me as I have become more concerned about my health and well being this past year.

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization that stands as the only third-party quality assurance provider for Non-GMO foods. They have over 20,000 products certified, and work with over 2,200 companies to ensure the quality of their products. What most people may not know is that in order to be certified organic, you must use GMO free seeds and ingredients. Some companies can’t afford to be completely organic; however they can verify the quality of their “high risk” ingredients such as corn, soy, and canola through the Non-GMO Project.

During October the Non-GMO project is teaming up with businesses to spread the word about risks associated with GMO products, and how to make good choices for ourselves and our families that help to lessen the impact of GMO farming on the planet (bee population decimation, soil degradation, increased cancer rates, obesity, etc). Check out the Non-GMO Project website at nongmoproject.org. EOS has some merchandise for sale as a fundraiser for them.

Eos is also showing a film regarding the Non-GMO project entitled “GMO-OMG” at Acadia University in the BAC, room 241 on Wednesday, October 8 at 7:30pm. “GMO-OMG” is an exploration by Jeremy Seifert, a father of three, into the potential harms of GMO foods and what impact they will have on our future. The screening is open to the public (for a free-will donation to our partnered charities). There will be GMO-free snacks available for purchase (by donation) as well. And on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, EOS will donate a portion of their sales that day to the Non-GMO project – mark your calendars to shop that day!

Megan also mentioned ACORN/GROW A FARMER – an amazing resource to farmers in the Maritimes and especially here in the valley. They support young farmers who are interested in producing food on a small-scale organic level through funding, education and workshops. It is through EOS’ partnership with them that secured the rights for the GMO-OMG film ensuring that all of the money raised goes straight to the NON-GMO Project, ACORN and GROW A FARMER.

A few ACORN plugs: the ACORN annual conference is happening November 12-14 in Halifax at the Marriot Harbour Front Hotel, with keynote speaker Dr. Vandana Shiva! This conference is open to anyone who is interested in organic farming, seed saving, or simply those who love to eat good food! You can register online at: acornorganic.org/conference/. On November 13, ACORN will feature their annual, 4-course, 100% Organic Banquet, preceding Dr. Vandana Shiva’s keynote address. This event will mark the end of a day-long silent auction including books, seeds, farm and garden equipment, and gift certificates, etc. EOS has limited tickets for this event, so secure yours today!

You got all that?! I want to thank Megan and EOS for contacting me about including all this in my article. You have educated me and hopefully my readers will show their support. Health and Wellness are important… so do your part!

Mike Butler