On March 6, 2004 residents of Mendocino County passed Measure H, banning the planting of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops — also known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) — within their county. The measure is now being used as a model in at least a dozen other counties in California where local residents are well on their way to passing similar measures. Organizers in Butte, Humboldt, Marin and San Luis Obispo counties have already collected enough signatures to place measures on the November ballot. Californians feel that local measures seeking to ban the cultivation of GE crops are critical steps toward economically and ecologically sustainable agriculture.
California farmers produce more than 350 varieties of crops and export more than any state in the US. Although California is recognized as a world leader in organic food production and sustainable agriculture, the world’s largest biotechnology companies are attempting to force GE crops onto California’s farms. Genetic engineering poses a significant risk to the environment, our food supply and the economic health of farmers.