Arugula— Arugula is a light, tender, leafy green that resembles lettuce. As a member of the brassica family it is related to mustard greens, but has a much milder, sweeter flavor. Some describe the typical flavor as “peppery”.
Baby Kale— Tender, flavorful, and sweet. Use this versatile baby green raw in a salad or sautéed with your favorite dish.
Yellow Finn Potatoes
Red and Green Celery
Fennel Bulb— We recommend adding fennel bulb to your tomato based pasta sauces to make a more flavorful spaghetti or lasagna.
Yellow Cipollini Onions
Over the course of this last week we have been following the debate and results over Washington state’s controversial ballot initiative I-522 which, if approved, would require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) products sold within the state of Washington. GE is sometimes referred to as Genetically Modified (GM or GMO). The purpose of the initiative is to add a new chapter to Washington state’s Public Health and Safety code regarding the disclosure of foods produced through genetic engineering.
The initiative starts out by explaining that polls consistently show that typically more than 90% of the public wants to know whether their foods contain GE ingredients. It also points out that people trying to avoid consumption of GE foods currently have no way of knowing whether the foods they purchase and consume are genetically engineered. In I-522’s own words,
“The purpose of this chapter is to ensure people are fully informed about whether the food they purchase and eat was produced through genetic engineering so they may choose for themselves whether to purchase and eat such food. Identifying foods produced through genetic engineering also will help protect our state’s export market.”
In order to fulfill this purpose the bill details the conditions for the labeling of genetically modified foods in the state of Washington. Section 3(1) states:
“Beginning July 1, 2015, any food offered for retail sale in Washington is misbranded if it is, or may have been, entirely or partly produced with genetic engineering and that fact is not disclosed as follows…”
The initiative then outlines conditions requiring the clear and conspicuous labeling of three things: agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seed or seed stock. It then goes on to outline the penalties for violating these conditions.
The initiative went to a vote on Washington state’s Nov. 5th general election ballot and appears to have been defeated with the latest count at 48% for and 52% against. However, the interesting side of the story is the record broken by the “No on 522” campaign which raised over $33 million—more money than any other initiative campaign in Washington state history. For comparison, the “Yes on 522” campaign raised about $9.5 million.
The other aspect of this story is that of the $33 million raised against this Washington state initiative, only about $12 thousand came from within Washington State. A number that would have been over-shadowed by over $2.5 million raised in support of the initiative from within the state.
So where did the opposition get all of its money? According to the “No on 522” website, its top five contributors are Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences, and Bayer CropScience. You may recognize the names of the four big agri-science and chemical companies, all of which have a huge vested interest in GE technology. We will talk more about these companies in the next newsletter. But what about the biggest contributor? The Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) contributed more individually than all of that which was raised by the Yes on 522 campaign. So what is the GMA? After being sued by the Washington State Attorney General for violating public disclosure laws, the GMA revealed its individual contributors which included PepsiCo, Coca Cola, and Nestle at the top of the list. So, in contrast to the Yes on 522 campaign which was supported by many individual in-state and out-of-state contributors, the No on 522 campaign was funded by a few, very large companies in the food and agri-chemical industry—all of which are located outside the state of Washington.
Because this issue is so close to us here in the Willamette Valley, and because the GE debate is very important to our livelihood as farmers, as humans who must eat to live, as well as members of a much larger ecological community, we will continue writing about the GE issue in upcoming newsletters. We will explain the scientific and historical background on this issue as well as give the view from our own perspective. We hope you will find our efforts to be both engaging and enlightening.
Also, we hope you enjoy this week’s vegetables!