The past six months have been a whirlwind. My family, my friends, my job, my volunteer commitments and my blog all took a back seat to the work I was doing with GMO Free CT to advocate for GMO labeling in our state.
On June 25, 2013 (also my wedding anniversary), Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law the GMO labeling bill HB 6527, now known as Public Act 13-183. It is an amazing feeling to know that I was a part of this historical moment. The Governor has promised a public signing and I hope I will be able to attend. We were the first state to pass a labeling bill. Sixty-two other countries already have one.
This process opened my eyes to our legislative process in ways I can not even describe. Mostly, it proved to me that Moms, Dad, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents with a passion can use their voices. Sometimes we need to get loud, but when we do, they are heard.
Is this bill perfect? No. Is it better than the one they tried to pass? Absolutely. My role with GMO Free CT was as the social media director. We created a firestorm of phone calls and emails to the state capitol. Over 40,000 phone calls were received by the Governor and the Speaker of the House. And even though we had to work so hard to get them to hear us, in the end they all said we did our jobs.
It is damn hard work. Not for the faint of heart. It hardened me in ways.
I spoke to a friend, a former legislator, yesterday. He congratulated me on the win. He was glowing with pride that someone from our town had been a part of this win and also a bill he had been supportive of when he worked at the Capitol. I told him how so many were urging us to support the “bad bill” as we referred to it. The bill that would exempt farmers making less than $2.5 million dollars which would make the bill ineffective. He said he would have urged me to take it too. That when you get something, anything, often people will just take it and run. He was amazed we said no, and that we actually got something we could work with, with only nine days left in the session.
I am still in awe. My family was featured in our local newspaper. My fifteen minutes are almost up, but it has been weird the attention we have received. Hugs and thank yous whenever we bump into people. My youngest said, “Why does everyone keep saying I saw you in da paper?” Followed with a big sigh. She is quite over the attention.
Summer has arrived. I’m ready to focus on farmer’s markets, and new summer recipes and my garden again. To get back on the Organic Trail with a new vigor supported by the amazing people I met during this fight. Those who have long been on the Organic Trail and invited me to be a part of this amazing process.
Our fight isn’t over. It really has just begun. I’ve signed up for the long haul. I want to see this happen in the entire North East and then on to the rest of the nation. And I will do all I can to support that.
Thanks to all of you who supported our efforts. Those who made calls, sent emails or just kept supporting me through it. It was so appreciated and won’t be forgotten.
Check out http://www.righttoknow-gmo.org to find a local chapter working for GMO Labeling in your neighborhood.