Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our GMO Journey: Who Said it Would be Easy? What is the Big Deal When You've Done Something Easy?

The whole reason
My name is Jess, and I am for labeling GMOs (I'd kinda like to see them all banned and/or burned, but, alas, baby steps). I am married to an awesome guy, Aaron  – another big supporter of this cause, and he’ll be helping out as a co-host. I am also a high school English teacher at a large virtual school here in SC. There are three little girls that are truly the reason why my husband and I find ourselves in this position today. This journey started for us when our first child began to eat solid foods. After buying the first jar of baby food, I stared at it, watched the “food” pour from the jar like some sci-fi experiment, and decided that I was not feeding that to my baby. At the time, baby superstores didn’t carry the “stuff” needed to make baby food at home, so I searched websites for supplies and instructions. It wasn’t a trend I was trying to follow; I did it as a gut reaction. However I still gave her formula because I had no idea about GMOs or the affect processed foods had on our bodies. I knew fast food was bad, but formula? Surely that was safe. Goodness, had I only known.

 Fast forward five years, and I found myself in a similar situation. Jamie Oliver has always been an inspiration for me – how brave to take on the school food system - and after watching his show and following his journey, I had pain about sending my, again, first child to school to eat school lunch and drink sugar infused milk. So I started researching, but this time on Pinterest for school lunch ideas that went beyond the pb&j. I found Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food  and Vani Hari, the Food Babe and had my reality blown to pieces. I became insatiable – I had to know more and more. It became about so much more than what I would send her for lunch. I felt like it was becoming about life or death for my family and everyone I knew (and didn’t know). The connections from processed foods and GMOs to the assault on our health and environment became ever clearer as I read and watched and learned.

 I sat up in bed one night, looked at my husband and said, “We have to try. We have to cut out all the crap. Because we are killing them [our children].” He simply said, “Okay,” and we jumped into a hole from which there is no return. Since that simple conversation, everything has changed for us. We’ve become “those people” to many of our friends and family members - those wacko birds that drink that green stuff and never let their children eat candy (which, by the way is not true ). But that is okay, because along the way, we have made a big impact on some of them.

 We are still learning and changing as we find more information and others who know more than we do. As a teacher, my life philosophy is to never stop being a student - never stop learning and growing. Never stop asking questions. On a wall in my office is a motto that I’ve tried to impress upon my students and children, and it is something I try to remember every day: “Who said it would be Easy? What is the BIG deal when you’ve done something Easy?”
We know this will not be easy. But it has to be done anyway.

 I look forward to working with all of you over the coming months (and beyond depending on where this adventure takes us).

What is your GMO story?

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