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Is Your Child's School a GM-Free Zone?

August 29, 2007 | 2,528 views

What Schools Hope You Don‘t Learn About!

Let me ask you a question ...

Is the food your children (or grandchildren) eat at school designed and prepared with their benefit in mind?  Is it of equal or greater quality to what you would feed them at home?  Do you really know what is in the food they eat at school?  Or is someone "experimenting" with your kids‘ meals away from home?

Here‘s why you should do your homework on this one -- 

Children face the greatest risk from the potential dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods, because ...

  • Young, fast-developing bodies are influenced most.
  • Children are more susceptible to allergies.
  • Children are more susceptible to problems with milk.
  • Children are more susceptible to nutritional problems.
  • Children are in danger from antibiotic resistant diseases.

Schools throughout the UK and other parts of Europe banned GM food years ago.  Why haven‘t we in the United States?

In the 1990s, many Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) in the U.S. rallied against rbGH and more than a hundred school districts banned milk from rbGH-treated cows.

Wisconsin dairy farmer John Kinsman describes the method he used to inspire several schools: "I simply talked to parents of small children. Once mothers heard about this, they didn‘t rest until their school made the commitment."
 
The emergence of the "healthy school lunch" movement in the U.S. today provides a ready platform to promote GM-free school meals.

Parents and schools are already seeking to change kids‘ diets in response to the obesity and diabetes epidemics, the proliferation of ADD/ADHD, and the increased understanding of the impact of food and behavior.

Several school systems have made sweeping changes to their meal programs, and new parents are consistently the largest group of new buyers of organic food each year.

In addition, the US government has taken steps to upgrade school nutritional standards. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, for example, stated that all school districts with a federally funded school meals program were to develop and implement wellness policies that addressed nutrition and nutrition education (among other things) by the start of the 2006-07 school year. 

But due to political and commercial pressures, we still have a long ways to go to provide truly healthful food for the children in our schools across the nation.

Is Your Child‘s School A GM-Free Zone?

 The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) supports efforts to create GM-free schools by providing written and audio-visual materials, web support, and guidance to local campaigns.

With support from other like-minded groups, the Institute for Responsible Technology makes available one or more copies of our Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video (DVD or VHS). Plus a You‘re Eating WHAT? CD goes to selected individuals and groups who are committed to starting a local GM-Free School campaign or have an already existing campaign.

CLICK HERE to Support the Campaign for Local GM-Free Schools

The Institute will work with local campaign organizers to plan and implement a campaign. Our campaign materials, media kit, and how-to-kit continue to evolve as we get input from local campaigns. We can also provide local campaigns with their own homepage, list serve, calendar, database, and useful links.

In addition, campaigners can purchase DVDs, CDs, and Seeds of Deception book at a special rate. This allows them to show the video and sell products afterwards to generate funds for support of their local campaign. 

If you are interested in Institute support for a local GM-Free Schools campaign, please send your contact info and a brief description of your goals, plans, campaign status, and anticipated resource needs to gmfreeschools@responsibletechnology.org.  

Do Your Homework -- Then Take Action Today

If you are a parent, click here.

If you are a student, click here.

If you represent a school interested in becoming GM-free, click here.

 What Can I Do As A Parent?

A lot, actually.  You have more clout than you think. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Educate yourself, then stay informed.

A good place to start is this website and the Institute‘s publications. The Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video presents an especially compelling case for the dangers of GM foods to children of all ages.

Plus sign up for our newsletter, Spilling the Beans, to stay up-to-date on the issues.

2. Educate your child(ren).

Consider showing older children the Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video. We are compiling other material that can be used in the home or school that describes the issues for various age groups.

3. Make your home GM-free.

Use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to identify what food items you‘re currently buying contain GM ingredients and what items you can purchase to replace them.

4. Speak with other parents.

We recommend sharing the Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video with other parents you know. You can do this one-on-one or invite a group of parents to watch the video and discuss possible follow-up action.

5. Get involved in a local GM-Free Schools campaign.

CLICK HERE to make a difference in your school and community.

Can I Make A Difference As A Student?

Absolutely!!  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Educate yourself, and stay informed.

    A good place to start is this website, the Institute‘s publications, and in particular the Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video, which presents a compelling case for the dangers of GM foods to children of all ages.

    Plus sign up for our newsletter, Spilling the Beans, to stay up-to-date on the issues.

  2. Educate your friends and classmates.

    We have found that the best way to do this is to share the Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video with them.

  3. Educate your parent(s).

    Again, we recommend showing them the Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video. Then discuss how you can make your home GM-free using the Buying Non-GM Shopping List.

  4. Get involved in efforts to make your school district or college GM-free.

CLICK HERE to influence your school district or college.

School Representatives -- Actions You Can Take Today

  1. Educate yourself, and stay informed.

    A great place to begin is with this website, the Institute‘s publications, and especially the Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video, which presents a compelling case for the dangers of GM foods to children of all ages.

    Plus sign up for our newsletter, Spilling the Beans, to stay up-to-date on the issues.

  2. Educate other people you know -- including teachers, school administrators, school board members, parents, students, school nutritionists, etc.

    We have found that the best way to do this is to share the Hidden Dangers in Kids‘ Meals video with them.

  3. Get involved in efforts to make your school district GM-free.

    If you are a school decision maker ready to convert, partially or completely, to GM-free and need recommendations on how to do this, send your contact information and request to gmfreeschools@responsibletechnology.org.

Other Resources

For a sample letter you can send to PTA members or school officials, click here.

For links to additional information on GM food and healthy school meal programs, click here.

For more information ...

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