Congratulations and heartfelt gratitude to our retail, brand and distribution partners who joined us for the 10th annual Non-GMO Month. More than 1,000 stores across North America used posters, infographics and pamphlets to celebrate our right to know what’s in our food and to choose non-GMO. This year’s theme, “Make Your Mother Proud,” represented a conscious choice to go back to basics. After all, every person on the planet depends on Mother Earth. As the planet cares for and sustains us, it’s imperative that we respond in kind.
Here are some of the ways we honored Mother Earth this October:
- To reduce our environmental footprint, we limited the print-run of Non-GMO Month posters and fliers, encouraging digital downloads instead. This drastically reduced waste while using fewer mailing tubes and less fuel for shipping. Participating retailers could download and print as needed directly from the Non-GMO Project website.
- Our educational focus was the emergence of new GMOs. This is the greatest challenge and opportunity in the GMO space today: biotech companies using new techniques like CRISPR and TALEN are desperate to distance themselves from the legacy of the traditional, transgenic GMOs that consumers overwhelmingly reject. Advances in this space happen quickly, and Non-GMO Month was our first partnership with retailers and suppliers to educate consumers about these emerging genetic engineering techniques and new GMO products.
- Our educational sponsor, Simply Surimi producer Trans-Ocean, inspired a week of consumer-facing content about seafood. This is a particularly timely subject, with AquAdvantage—the world’s first genetically modified salmon—entering US markets this year.
- Helped along by the good folks at Left Coast Naturals in BC, we saw our highest engagement yet with Canadian retailers. Our relationship with our neighbors to the north has never been more important: from 2016- 2018, AquAdvantage GMO salmon was sold to unwitting Canadian consumers, with no label identifying the product as a GMO.
- By partnering with distributors and retailers on social media channels, we were able to boost our message, reaching 25,000 individuals each day!
- Dozens of retailers pledged to support the Non-GMO Project with in-store events, such as donating a percentage of sales or hosting a “round-up at the register campaign,” and received a box of Non-GMO Project canvas totes as a thank you gift. We are grateful to our participating retailers—your generosity and support make our mission possible!
Last, but not least, we received wonderful entries for the annual Endcap Contest. The Endcap Contest offered a rare opportunity to have fun with messaging and design. Stores put together beautiful and innovative displays to engage their communities in the brilliance of nature’s abundance, and we rewarded their efforts with a hand-painted cornhole set. Our only regret is that we had but one prize to give away. Congratulations to this year’s winner, Penn Herb Co. of Philadelphia, PA!
As we find ourselves in the complex, confusing, and at times frightening world of food security and environmental activism, Non-GMO Month reminds us to take time for celebration, collaboration and play.