Local voters in San Juan county voted yes for Initiative Measure 2012-4 by a wide margin in the November 6 election. This essentially puts a ban on genetically modified organisms in the county.
The declaration made on the Initiative Measure read as follows: "The people of San Juan County, desiring to protect our agricultural industry, our natural environment, the private property rights of our citizens, and the health, safety and welfare of our People, deem it advisable and appropriate to restrict the cultivation of genetically modified crops, livestock and other organisms in San Juan County."
With 8,877 votes counted, "Yes" votes outnumbered "No" votes by 5,183 to 3,329, for Initiative Measure 2012-4.
GMO-ban supporter, Marta Nielsen of Orcas Island is an organic farmer who raises chickens. She announced, "I'm proud to live in a county that could see the immense benefit of passing this forward-thinking initiative."
The GMO ban was proposed by organic farmers and other interested parties in the county. The ban makes it unlawful to propagate or grow plants or animals in San Juan County, Washington, that have been genetically modified. It further provides for penalties and the destruction of such organisms.
A recent opinion piece on GMO's by Ken & Kathryn Akopiantz, primary sponsors of the initiative can be read here.
The video above features Ken Akopiantz, a farmer and owner of Horse Drawn Farm and the Seed Librarian of Lopez Community Land Trust. He speaks on the dangers of genetic engineering (GE) and genetically modified organism (GMO) and explains why it is important to support the Initiative Measure No. 2012-4 to ban raising GMOs in the San Juan county. This speech was delivered during the Food Charrette on Lopez Island, Feb 25, 2012.