On January 19th OSA co-hosted a listening session on GMO contamination in seed with Friends of Family Farmers, Cultivate Oregon, Our Family Farms, OSU Extension Small Farms Program, Oregonians for Safe Farms and Families, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).
The conversation included farmers, seed growers, seed companies, plant breeders, and other food and farming stakeholders about issues they face with GMO contamination. The unwanted presence of genetically engineered (GE) traits in organic and other non-GMO varieties of seed stands out as a major challenge in some crops that have a GE counterpart in the marketplace. Participants were prompted with these questions throughout the session:
- Have you been impacted by GMO-contaminated seed? How?
- Have you been financially harmed by GMO-contaminated seed?
- Have you reported or sought recourse for these events?
- What does coexistence mean to you? What does it look like?
- Are there examples at state/international levels that we might consider?
- Do you believe the federal regulatory framework for GMOs is adequate?
- What do you need from a state-level framework to ensure seed integrity?
We were lucky enough to work in partnership with Amy Wong from Friends of Family Farmers on developing the listening session. During the session Amy also summarized recent legislative and other seed advocacy efforts to protect seed stocks from GE contamination in Oregon, as well as a provided a brief overview of efforts in other states.