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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Say NO to GMO: And At Least Give Us the Right to KNOW!

Jun 28, 2015 12:36PM

I grew up around the corner from a permanent produce stand called “Lil’ Big Horn”. I could ride my bicycle down the hill, with my mom’s shopping list and pick up everything we needed for dinner. None of it came in boxes, or cans, nor was it already prepared. On the weekends. my family would drive to the U Pick It farms to fill our baskets with berries, tomatoes, corn and nuts. When our grandparents visited, they would show up with baskets full of fresh-picked surprises from their local farmers, and we would learn about the different fruits and vegetables and unique heirlooms you couldn’t buy locally. When we traveled cross-country to California, our favorite souvenirs to bring back were avocados and artichokes. We would have the whole neighborhood over and my mom would teach everybody how to prepare and eat them. The richness and the freshness of those local savories still linger on my taste buds. To this day, I can bite into any raw fruit or vegetable and know whether it is as I remember or if something is missing.

The truth is, it’s not what is missing, but what has been added, and no longer is it just about missing those intense, distinctive flavors that only nature can create so perfectly, but more importantly, it’s about the nutrients, enzymes and unknown health factors that each individual creation provides. The bigger picture is about what is best for all; our community, farmers and food workers, and our right to know what’s in our food, how it is produced and where it comes from.

This month’s special edition on Food Democracy is perfectly aligned with the debut of the PurePlant Nation film on July 4, which may be the biggest story this year…and to think this healthier, plant-based movement all started in Kentucky, kin to our Southern traditions of fried meats, biscuits and gravy, fruit pies and ice cream. Who would have thought the Nelson Campbell and Kentucky State Representative Tom Riner would create this well-supported and impactful documentary that addresses obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Nelson, inspired by his father, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of 2004 book The China Study and the documentary film Forks Over Knives, is well positioned and capable of revolutionizing the consumption of food and the way it impacts American lives, the health crisis, the vitality of our economy and the solvency of our government—by simply changing the way we choose to eat, one citizen at a time.

I truly believe that if all vegetables tasted as good as I remember, no one would ever want anything else, and I am grateful for the options we have here in Northwest Florida. When I find myself dining out with my vegetarian and vegan friends and the only option available is iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and French fries, I want to challenge our community to wake up and smell the produce, because more and more of us are going to expect and demand fresh, local and fair market vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds and nuts, and the many delicious treats created from them. Here’s a special thank-you to the farmers and local providers that offer conscious eating options and practices (see special listings on page 27.

May the truth always prevail! 

Happy 4th of July,

Scott & Daralyn Chase

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