I just got back from my first volunteer session at my thursday local farmer’s market. A couple weeks ago I decided to make the move and be proactive about the “food fight of our lives” here in California. I sent in a free speech application to the Agricultural Institute of Marin and they accepted it with much excitement that someone would be promoting labeling of GMO’s. There is about 9 weeks left until election day and the fight is far from over.
Up until this day, I was pretty nervous. I think it takes a lot of courage to go out of your comfort zone and talk to people about what you believe in. Fortunately for me, many people that attend farmer’s markets also care about the purity of their food so the odds are more in my favor. It still didn’t stop me from thinking, “What if no one signs the pledge?” and “What if no one talks to me?” I was anxious and afraid of the rejection but I knew I had to just do it.
When I pulled up to the farmer’s market and saw all the different colored tents of the farmer’s that work so hard and passionately to produce delicious, healthy and pure food, it confirmed the reason why I was there. Not only was I fighting for my son and the health of my family, but I was also fighting for everyone one around me, including the small farmer’s that produce food for a living. Without them, we would not have any food to nourish our bodies with so I was extremely happy and grateful to be in this particular atmosphere, promoting the labeling of genetically modified foods.
I set up my table by the entrance, taped my sign to it and brought out the literature I printed out. I pulled out my clip board, put the pledge sheets on it and waited until I got my very first person to sign the pledge. This particular farmer’s market was open from 8am-1pm and I had arrived there around 12pm so it seemed like a lot of people were in a hurry to get in and out.
I was nervous to see how long it would take until I got my first pledge.
No more than 5 minutes went by and a tall, big boned fellow with a straw cowboy hat who was walking up to entrance, stopped in the middle of the road, raised his fist up in the air, and pointed out his tote bag that said “no GE ingredients.” He was a bee keeper in Sonoma and often ran classes to educate people about the importance of bees. He was really friendly and was happy someone was standing up and doing what I was doing. He went on to tell me about his feelings of GMO’s and a local Sonoma film festival he went to all the time. He was more than happy to sign the pledge and was quickly followed by a woman in her fifties who also was more than ready to sign.
What a wonderful way to start this volunteering campaign! The fears quickly melted away in the hot sun and turned into feelings of excitement.
From that point, they slowly trickled in. To my surprise, all of the people who took the time to stop, read the poster and sign the pledge were in their 40-60’s. I thought I would actually get mom’s and dad’s (ages 25-40) but it seemed like they were all too busy (some with kids) to stop and check it out. I’m really interested to see what age bracket will be the majority in the next few weeks that I’ll be doing this. I also noticed how some people really don’t even take the second to look at me or my board- it’s as if they were purposely avoiding my eyes so they didn’t have to get stopped.
I did get one man (maybe in his 60’s?) who told me we “got it all wrong.” He went on about how it’s not GMO’s that need to be labeled but GE (genetically engineered) something or another. I’m not quite sure to be honest. I told him that it was all in the same and people should know whether or not the food has been genetically engineered. He disagreed that it wasn’t the same, but then went on his merry way and told me he didn’t mean to put me in the spot light. *shrugs shoulders* It wouldn’t be entertaining if you didn’t have people like that.
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I had a ‘YES on 37’ little flyer, a double sided flyer that had ’10 things Monsanto doesn’t want you to know’ and ‘What you can do today to avoid Monsanto’s GMOs’ to hand out. I also had one copy of a sheet that showed which companies have donated money to support Prop. 37 and which companies have donated money to defeat Prop. 37. To my surprise, many people weren’t aware of the organic companies opposing Prop. 37- those same companies who supposedly “care about your well-being.” Most everyone who read it were quite shocked to see them listed on the opposing side. I wish I would have made multiple copies because many people wanted to take it so they could remember which companies to boycott. Without a doubt, I realized that was one of the most important pieces of literature and I need to make sure I am prepared with copies next go around.
In the end I got only 12 people but hey, it’s a good start for only being there an hour. My next goal will to get 20 more people, and slowly increase my goal each time I volunteer.
Standing in the warm sun and watching all the people go by with their tote bags full of fresh produce was fantastic. It felt so good to be doing what I was doing and it felt even better to have people tell me they appreciated what I was doing. It has been what seems like forever since I’ve had the chance to have some “me” time and speak to adults (I spend most my time speaking to my 16 month old) who care about the same things I do. I’d be lying if I said being a stay-at-home mother was easy. I definitely have my struggles and one of them is simply not being out and just speaking to other people, without having a baby in your arms. Before I had Andrew, I worked at a popular dive shop so I always had someone to talk to about something. When I quit my job and became a full time mother, those times were very rare (other than talking to family members) and I’ve learned to appreciate discussions with people you don’t even know (you always learn something new or hear a cool story).
It was a fun, exhilarating, inspiring, and motivating hour spent at the farmer’s market. Addictive too. I can not wait to do it again. I feel energized and ready to make a change. It’s just what I’ve needed!
Now, to leave you with some words of inspiration that are totally relevant to what I’m feeling.
No effort is too small. Stand up for what you believe in.
Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul