Richmond B.C. to become a GE Free Zone

Richmond, BC: Richmond City Council voted unanimously to make Richmond a GE crop and GE tree free zone. Congratulations to local community organizers and CBAN Member GE Free BC on this tremendous outcome from years of hard work.

Richmond City Council takes a stand against genetically engineered crops
Richmond, British Columbia, 22nd May 2012
Press release

The Richmond Food Security Society and the Society for a Genetically Free (GE) BC would like to warmly congratulate Richmond City Council on its courageous stand against GE crops and trees at its General Meeting on the 22nd May.

The two Societies introduced a resolution asking Richmond to become a GE free crop zone. At its General Purposes Meeting, Richmond Councillors unanimously supported the idea, as well as the need for mandatory labelling of GE crops, and more public education.

Long time Councillor Harold Steves, whose family has farmed in the area for three generations, spoke passionately about how GE alfalfa, if approved, would destroy a lifetime of work as an organic farmer because of contamination. Councillor Chak Au spoke in favour of the resolution saying that this was the most important issue that had come up in his tenure as Councillor, and stressed the need for Richmond to ensure the safety of its community. Other Councillors talked of their concern that introducing new GE crops and trees could potentially lead to economic loss for Richmond, and that the public is not sufficiently aware that it is eating GE foods and the potential health risks of this. Council will finalize the wording of the resolution which should be available in two weeks.

A number of community members including local farmers spoke about their concerns over the health and environmental impacts of GE crops. Arzeena Hamir, the former coordinator of the Richmond Food Security Society, submitted a petition with 1,000 signatures in favour of the resolution, and emphasized the difference this resolution would make to local businesses involved with sustainable agriculture. Tony Beck from GE Free BC noted the importance of including local farmers currently growing GE corn in a community dialogue around sustainable development. Dag Falck from Nature’s Path spoke to the difficulties his company has in sourcing organic ingredients because of contamination from GE crops. GE Free BC would also like to recognize the work of community activist April Reeves for her work on this resolution and against genetic engineering in BC.

Richmond is a municipality of almost 200,000 people to the south of Vancouver, and has about 200 farms. There are seven GE free zones in British Columbia – Powell River, Kaslo, New Denver, Nelson, Rossland, Salt Spring Island, and Denman Island.

For more information go to and for the national GE campaign

For further details contact Arzeena Hamir at 604 727 9728 and Tony Beck at 604 671 2106

Richmond bans genetically modified plants

The Canadian Press May 23, 2012

RICHMOND, B.C. — Richmond City Council says engineered crops and plants have no place the gardens of Metro Vancouver.

Councillors have voted unanimously to ban further genetically modified species from Richmond soil, although the ban is unenforceable, because genetically engineered plants are regulated by the federal government, not local authorities.

Activist Arzeena Hamir fought for the Richmond decision and is pleased the city has joined Powell River, Salt Spring Island and the Kootenay communities of Nelson, Rossland and Kaslo in banning scientifically altered crops.

The ban comes just days after orchardists in B.C.’s Okanagan region voiced concern about the possible arrival of genetically modified fruit trees.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is considering an application to allow an engineered variety of apple, called the Arctic Apple, that has a trait preventing the fruit from browning when cut.

Growers fear customers will reject tinkered fruit and the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association has already passed a resolution opposing genetic modification, but supporters insist modified foods can solve many of the world’s hunger problems through increased crop yields.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

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