This is the tale of three school districts and the mothers who are asking for healthier school lunches.
31 million GMO school lunches are served a day to our children in America.
These meals also contain food dyes, pesticides, synthetic chemicals and high fructose corn syrup which have been linked to diabetes, autism, food allergies, ADHD and auto immune diseases.
We are three Moms requesting that Choicelunch, (which offers pesticide free, dye free and high fructose free and WILL supply GMO free lunches to our districts if accepted), be considered as a vendor for our schools and offer a second option.
We have 3 minutes in front of our school board at an open meeting to present.
Two weeks ago Kathleen Hallal approached her school board in Irvine, she took the approach of not focusing on GMOs and just requesting that the food be synthetic chemical and pesticide free. Then she met with her school Food Services Department, where she did share the full story of health risks and behavioral impact, and left the meeting saying "Zen, it was like a miracle!" The Food Services nutritionist who was also present,has a 14-month-old and she already knew something about organic food. Both she and the director were open to the idea of having a "clean food" option. In fact, they were interested in not just offering a second choice but replacing some of the other foods in the cafeteria as well!
I was THRILLED and inspired and so hopeful! We are going to do this! It just takes one person to make a difference!
Zen Honeycutt ( that's me) presented last week to my board. I was nervous but I clearly quoted stats and chose to mention genetically modified foods once during the three minutes. I am not sure if it is because I mentioned GMOs or not, but my district is taking a different view. Yesterday, I requested a follow up meeting with my Food Services Director but was told "I have just been advised that the Board is not interested in pursuing the Choicelunch option at this time. Therefore there is no need to pursue this further and set up a meeting with the company."
No reason. No meeting to even present the concept. No interest. I felt like my heart was crushed.
I implored the Food Service director to meet with me anyway, as her assessment of the program would make a difference.
Instead of a response from her, I got a response back from the Board of Ed, saying that they are not interested "due to all the reason the food service director previously explained to you."
Which was... that the Board of Ed decided not to...which is not a reason....
I wracked my brain. Then journalist from the OC Register who is doing a story on what I proposed, called me and told me that she just spoke to the Food Service director and her reasoning was that food was too expensive and that they didn't want to offer healthier meals to some kids but not to others. The last reason made me want to scream inside ...so do NOTHING?? So NO child gets a choice?
I was afraid I might turn into a screaming banshee, so I took a deep breath and responded with as much clarity as I could.
I addressed the cost only first, explaining how the online cost of $4.50 is for individual orders, and the district cost would be only 15 cents more or less than our current price of 2.50, and that parents are willing to pay a dollar more, resulting in a 1.5 million dollar profit for the school district if only 25% of the students in the district order the lunches. That money could potentially go towards improving the organic options in the national lunch program meals, for the kids who cannot afford 5.00 more per week, resulting in improved lunches for all.
Their response was "The cost was the least significant reason in the decision. It is more about the implications it would have on our Federal and State programs. The Board is not willing to jeopardize funding or compliance issues."
ARRRRGH!!! It's always money over health! Always! And that is why the status of our children's health is the way it is!!
Again, breathing, I responded, "Ok I understand you do not want to jeopardize funding or compliance issues. Of course. This program is successfully working in 250 other schools however, that have worked out funding and compliance issues.Can I connect you with a food service director and board member from another school where they have sorted that out?"
The response 5 minutes ago was, "No thank you. The board has made their decision."
Breathing...breathing...I have not responded yet. What do you think?
What has my chest tighten and throat clench is the thought and fear that somehow, I am messing this opportunity up for thousands of kids in my district...that the way I am being about this, persistent, passionate, and perfectly clear that GMOs are one of the reasons for my request to offer a healthier lunch, is somehow screwing it up. Kathleen did better not mentioning GMOs. I have a past history with my food services director where I did discuss GMOs with her so she know this is a mission of mine. What boils my blood is that GMOs might even be controversial. What has me deeply dismayed is the possibility that the Food Services director disagreeing with my approach for any reason, could affect the health of so many. The skepticism, the fear of rocking the boat with the current system, the resignation that things could be any other way, is soul crushing. It feels like the worst defeat of all because it affects the future of children. But I know I am not defeated.
I want to be clear. I WANT to affect the federal and state programs. I WANT to have less money go towards nutritionally bankrupt, toxic GMO food with additives like high fructose corn syrup, food dyes and synthetic chemical pesticides that have been linked to autism, diabetes, ADHD, life threatening food allergies, auto immune disorders and more..I am proposing a plan for THAT food to get less of our money and organic food to get more. YES.
I ask all Moms and anyone who wants to rock the boat, disrupt the current system and put a dent in the 31 million GMO meals served a day to our kids, to stand up and speak at your board meeting. It just takes one to speak, but it's going to take thousands of us supporting the speakers to have this happen.
Monica Serratos presents at her school board tonight. She is a woman of great generosity, clarity and leadership and we know she is going to do great. We pray her school board allows a further inquiry into what is possible for the sake of our children.
Go Monica and her daughter Alicia who is speaking too!
Look up choicelunch.com for a CA vendor that has promised GMO free lunches to large school districts by fall.
If you have a school lunch vendor that offers GMO Free and organic, please tell us, we will share them with the nation.
If you present to you board, let us know your approach and results. Together we can do anything.
Last night, after doing a talk for 18 awesome Moms and Dads I was told I should train others. I thought I would share my response as a blog post for all the Moms who want to know how to share about about GMOs and just don't know where to start. Feel free to copy, paste and formulate your own outline or talk.
First of I want you to know one thing. There is no "right way" that I have or anyone else has. The way to do a talk in front of others is to trust yourself. You have everything it takes and all the love in the world to do a perfect talk in front of your best friends or in front of thousands. Now how can you say that? You might ask...you don't even know me...you don't know that I am shy, or soft spoken, or I just can't look people in the eye...I can't be a speaker. Phooey to that, is what I say.
I know you. You are a Mom. You love with ever fiber of your being where you don't even know there are fibers. Your commitment goes to unknowable depths and then some. You are more powerful and more clear and more moving than any fancy advertising or well oiled marketing report ever. When you are present to that love you have for your children, you can do anything. So my "training advice"is that you set aside any chatter in your head that you can't do this or don't know how and take a deep breath. Just think about how adorable your kids are and how you would like them to experience the profound love that you have for them, for their own child one day, that they created and birthed, and then get on with it.
To be a speaker about GMOs:
You may not understand all of this now, at 10, 7 and 4, but someday you will. Someday, you will know that I fed you genetically modified food for 9 and a half years, and you will wonder why. You will wonder how someone could do that to their children. You may wonder why I didn't know. You may wonder why I wasn't more vigilant to find out. You may wonder why I didn't take you to the doctors more often or sooner and find out why you had so many allergies. You may wonder why you felt so tired, distracted and felt out of control cranky, why you had to go to school with a rash around your mouth and feel embarrassed for weeks. You may wonder why you thought something was wrong with you.You may wonder why I just gave up and basically said " You have allergies and that's the way it is. Deal with it."
You may think that my lack of action around your allergies and interest in what we were eating was some sort of sign that I didn't love you. I am sorry. I am so so so sorry that I did not wonder more myself.
I got resigned. I got doubtful. And I was in denial that there was anything I could do about it. It was just easier to believe that I was doing a good job and your allergies ( to wheat/gluten, nuts, peanuts, eggs, dairy, mushrooms, red food dye and carageenan) were genetic somehow, because I have mold allergies. I justified everything...it's okay if you have a "treat" at your friends house, it's okay if you "enjoy" the birthday party and have the cake and soda. It's okay if you drink or eat food with milk in it ( with RBGH hormones) because I had no idea what that was and "Milk does a body good". I really did think I was feeding you the way I did and loving you by "letting you" eat the sweet, colorful, enticingly crunchy, treats or fast food. I really did think we could trust what was on the shelves and it was our right as Americans to have easy, plentiful, tasty food available to us in two minutes at a drive through. I got cranky when it wasn't. Little did I know that it was the food that was making me cranky and my expectations were blinded by corporate greed brainwashing. I didn't know...and I am sorry for not finding out.
You may wonder, someday, how a whole generation could allow genetically modified foods into our supply unlabeled, and without media notice, when over 50 other countries labeled or banned GMOs when they were introduced. You may wonder why we not only didn't get them tested first, but we funded these toxic crops with billions of our own tax money. You may wonder how we could let organic food get contaminated by GM crops and then let those organic farmers get sued. You may wonder why your mother didn't do anything about such injustice.
Once studies did emerge, you may wonder how we could ignore test results from a 2 year rat study that grew tumors, had 55% of their babies die that were fed GM soy ( versus 6 and 9% of control groups fed no soy and non gmo soy) and those that did survive were smaller and sterile by the third generation. You may wonder how we could go one more day without labeling and banning these foods.You may wonder how we could be so careless and stupid. On behalf of the American people of this generation, on behalf of Moms everywhere, I apologize. With a my whole heart I am so sorry.
Our system is broken, and we, with our endless desire for easy, cheap , fast and tasty, are the ones who broke it. We forgot to value whole, fresh vegetables and fruits. We forgot that home cooking brings families together at home instead of getting the family out and about and busy. We forgot that food costs money to seed,plant, grow, harvest and transport and that our budget should reflect food as preventative health care. We forgot that we have a responsibility to budget, plan, and just buy less junk like electronics and food with toys and more real food like kale.They made it, yes, but we bought it. We forgot that we need to know what is in our food and that we need to speak up and demand truth and health.
So my sons, I write this to you not as an explanation, to defend my laziness, ignorance and blind trust in a broken system, but to let you know that I know NOW. In the late summer of 2012, my life, and the future of your life, altered when I found out about genetically modified foods. And now I have different non-apology for you.
I am not sorry that you will not be eating that birthday cake filled with GMO corn oil frosting and soy lecithin and GM ingredients. ( I will bring non GM cupcakes)
I am not sorry that you will not be eating GM lunches at school. ( I will pack them.)
I am not sorry that you will be bringing all your own food to Cub Scouts and friend's houses. ( I will give you snacks)
And I am not sorry that we will be at rallies to speak up against GMO Salmon and marching on July 4th.
You may feel sorry now, when I say no. But my No means YES. YES for life. Yes for health. YES for this vast, unending love I have for you that fills my soul and overflows into this world that we can create together... that values first...HEALTH not money, PEOPLE and PLANET, not profit. I will give up that "it's hard" and take on that I "get to" be your Mom and provide you with healthy food.
The future belongs to us. The future of food belongs to all of us. As a Mom, I know now that 85% of the food is bought by Moms, so 85% of the responsibility is on us. It is up to us to fix this.
As a respresentative of many Moms, we say, " We're NOT Buying it!" We are not buying GMO food. We are not buying the lies of safety. We are not buying the stories about feeding billions. Because we see the one or three children, that are worth more to us than billions of dollars, RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, get worse on GMO food and drastically improve when they are not eating them.
I am sorry for you, Monsanto and FDA, but the jig is up. Moms are finding out everyday. You may have the money, but we have the golden gift of gab and hearts that are bigger than your wallets. Ignoring that GMO food doesn't work for humans or our planet, no longer works. Find another way.
Boys, I love you. I always did and I always will. Forgive me for the past. Let's create a healthy future together.
Organizer of Moms Across America March July 4th 2013
Zen Honeycutt explains the link between GMOs, pesticides and chronic disease in humans: Peril on Your Plate
Mom Zen Honeycutt Explains GMOs and health risks in 6 minutes: Most Recent info on Glyphosate (Roundup sprayed on GMOs) included.
Right to Health Series sponsored by the Shaka Movement in Maui with Zen Honeycutt
New: A Conversation with a Pediatrician, Scientist, and Mom in Australia by Fran Murrell of MADGE, Australia
See their individual 20-30 minute presentations in New Zealand here:
Dr. Michelle Perro
Dr. Michael Antoniou
For support with allergies go to Robyn's foundation: AllergyKids.com
To get Robyn O'Brien's book "The Unhealthy Truth" click here and go to "Writing"
When CNN aired the Oregon GMO Wheat Mystery piece by Stephanie Elam on Monday, June 17, 2013, it was a giant step for Mom-kind. Click here for the CNN clip on "The Situation Room"
The latest information on Glyphosate ( Roundup) which is sprayed on GMO Roundup Ready food- soy, canola, and cotton (cottonseed oil common in restaurant frying oil) from the Samsel and Seneff paper is astounding.
"We are creating this" are his last words on this video.
By feeding our children 31.5 million GMO school meals a DAY, even more hospital and daycare center meals, by eating the 160 foods that are contaminated with glyphosate, click here for the list , by eating the 80% of our fast, cheap, easy and tasty food that is GMO and therefore heavily doused in glyphosate and contaminated at levels thousands of times higher than what has been shown to cause breast cancer....we are creating this. Chips, soda,french fries, corn tortillas, candy, snacks, cookies, breakfast cereal...anything with corn, soy, sugar, wheat, high fructose corn syrup and hundreds more ingredients, are 80-90% likely to be contaminated with glyphosate and contributing to this disaster of a health crisis we are experiencing in America. To add insult to injury, the EPA just raised the allowable levels of glyphosate despite thousands of comments against this pandering to big chemical companies. Find out more on our two-part blog interview with scientist Anthony Samsel. Click here.
FOOD and GMO Movies
Our WA MAAM Mom Laurie Olson's List of the TOP GMO Info and health-related movies!
Links to make your grocery shopping simpler:
Links to make your GMO Free meal planning and cooking easier:
Links to let the nation know that we have a right to know about and freedom to eat GMO Free!
GMO Trees too? Yes. Find out more:
Dr. David Suzuki in a documentary
This is an ongoing list. Visit us again for updates.