Courtenay City Council can take an active leadership role in building a healthier community, according to a local non-profit, GE Free Comox Valley, by creating a GE Free Purchasing Policy.
“This policy would require that any purchases that the City makes, from trees, grass, or flowers to food for City events, be free of genetically engineered material, whenever possible” explained Arzeena Hamir, of Amara Farms in Merville, who was making the presentation on Monday.
She noted that the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) recently passed a pro-GE Free resolution, and the City of Duncan adopted a GE Free Purchasing policy that is being used as a model, both last year.
The Comox Valley Economic Development Society strongly supports investments from the organic sector, and is touting their success. Most Organic Certification Standards prohibit the use of any genetically engineered or modified products.
On their website, under “opportunities” CVEDS says “We are encouraging processors and producers of niche products such as …organics to locate here.” (see bit.ly/1G0Nz8V )
Of the seven producers highlighted in the CVEDS Agrifoods Investment brochure, three are organic.
“Food and beverage processing is the community’s number one economic growth priority.”
“(There may) there may always be some controversy on the health and science sides of this issue, but a growing number of consumers and local businesses want healthier and GE Free products,” said Susan Holvenstot, also a GE Free CV member. “The economics are clear. GE Free is good for the CV.”
The group began a petition promoting a GE Free Comox Valley.
“Since our start on March 15 this spring, we are very happy to have collected over 700 signatures,” said member Linda Cheu.
Courtenay council has identified a local purchasing policy as one of its strategic priorities and GE Free Purchasing Policy fits hand in glove with that, and will be easy to implement, according to the group.
Watch for the March Against Monsanto, May 23, noon at Simms Park.
GE Free Comox Valley, a small non-profit group, collaborates with local growers, farmers, chefs, food retailers, community groups, citizens and businesses, to educate about genetically engineered products. They can be contacted at 250-331-0681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.