September 21, 2014

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GE Free Zones

Union of BC Municipalities votes to ask province to ban GE crops and animals

September 19, 2013, Vancouver - This morning, in an unprecedented step, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), at their Annual General Meeting in Vancouver, passed a resolution “that UBCM ask the British Columbia government to legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting and growing plants and seeds containing genetically engineered DNA, and raising GE animals within BC, and to declare, through legislation, that BC is a GE Free area in respect to all plant and animal species."

Already 14 municipalities in BC have declared themselves GE Free Zones, and 10 Official Community Plans of Regional Districts have come out against GE crops, as communities across the province mobilized for a ban on GE crops.

Press Release - September 19, 2013: Union of BC Municipalities Asks Province to Ban GE Crops and Animals

GE Free Zones in BC

  1. Powell River (2004)
  2. Salt Spring Island (2004)
  3. Denman Island (2004)
  4. Nelson (Nov 3, 2008)
  5. Kaslo (Jan 13, 2009)
  6. New Denver (Sept 8, 2009)
  7. Rossland (May 11, 2009)
  8. Richmond (May 29, 2012)
  9. Saanich (Nov 2012)
  10. Metchosin (Nov 2012)
  11. Cherryville (March 8, 2013)
  12. Telkwa (March 11, 2013)
  13. City of North Vancouver (June 10, 2013)
  14. Roberts Creek

51 municipalities within the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC, resolution passed April 2013 – for AVICC members go here http://avicc.ca/about-the-avicc/avicc-members-2/)

You can join the efforts of the CBAN Member Group, the Society for a GE Free BC

City of North Vancouver votes unanimously to become a GE Free zone

10th June, 2013: This evening the City of North Vancouver became a GE Free zone. Councillors who were originally doubtful changed their mind during the meeting after a number of community members made forceful presentations about the importance of this issue. Congratulations to all the campaigners who worked on this, the next piece in the puzzle to making the whole of BC GE Free.

On March 11, 2013 in Telkwa BC this resolution was passed: "Whereas the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) in agricultural activities is inconsistent with the Village of Telkwa's Official Community Plan and Integrated Community Sustainability Plan; and whereas the nature of cross pollination is not limited by municipal boundaries; be it resolved that the use of GMO's for agricultural purposes is unwelcome in the Village of Telkwa"

On March 8, 2013 Cherryville became the 11th BC municipality to pass a resolution to ban GMO crops! Local volunteer group Bee SAFE, held a public meeting at the Cherryville hall to discuss how GMO crops affect other crops. “There is no co-existence possible between GMO crops and other crops – by not deciding to ban them, we're deciding to ban every other type of agriculture and to put the future of our food and our farms in the hands of corporations like Monsanto, who own patents on GMO seeds” said Huguette Allen. Congratulations Cherryville!

2012: Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District passes a resolution against the GE apple, which is approved by all BC municipalities at the Union of BC Municipalities in September 2012

May 29, 2012 Press Release: Richmond City Council Finalizes GE Free Zone

Richmond City Council May 29

Residents come out to convince Richmond City Council to approve GE Free Zone, May 28, 2012. Credit: Richmond Review

Richmond City Council (British Columbia) unanimously confirmed a decision to make the city a GE Free Zone. Following the initial unanimous decision by the General Purposes Committee on May 24, 250 Richmond residents turned out last night to support final approval at City Council. The biotechnology industry lobby group CropLife presented in a failed effort to dissuade councilors from approving the resolution. Instead, teachers, parents, farmers, high school students, and other ordinary citizens prevailed - they packed City Hall and spent almost 3 hours making 5-minute presentations to City Council.

The City of Richmond agreed to oppose the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE, also called genetically modified or GM) plants and trees in the City, making an exception for the 3 dairy farms that already grow GM corn. The resolution states, “no further GM crops, trees or plants should be grown in the City of Richmond. This also includes GM fruit trees, all GM plants and shrubbery, GM vegetables, GM commodity crops and any and all field tests for medical and experimental GM crops.” The City also agreed to send letters to all levels of government “requesting strengthened management of genetically modified plants, and including the introduction of mandatory labelling requirements, more transparent assessment procedures and enhanced communication with the public.” The Richmond Food Security Society and the Society for a Genetically Free (GE) BC introduced the resolution in 2010. Richmond is a municipality of almost 200,000 people to the south of Vancouver in British Columbia and has about 200 farms.

The Society for a GE Free BC with GE Free Kootenays, and GE Free Yukon are working hard to secure GE Free Zones.

City of Rossland, B.C. Adopts G.E. Free Resolution

May 11, 2009: “Moved by Councillor Charlton / Seconded by Councillor Spearn

THAT the City of Rossland oppose the cultivation of genetically engineered plants and trees, by using transgenic engineering, in the municipality; and that the City of Rossland will not purchase genetically engineered plants and trees for its own use; and that the City of Rossland agrees to revisit the resolution as pertinent new information becomes available that affects this resolution; and the City of Rossland shall forward copies of this resolution to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, Interior Health, B.C. Ministry of Health, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, B.C. Provincial Health Officer, the Prime Minister of Canada, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, CropLife Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, local MLA and MP offices and any interested and related groups. “

City of Nelson Passes GE-Free Resolution

November 3, 2008: "The City of Nelson does not support the cultivation of genetically engineered plants and trees in the Municipality of Nelson and further that council will not purchase for its own operations GE plants or trees. The City of Nelson agrees to revisit this as pertinent new information becomes available that affects this resolution and further that the City of Nelson shall forward copies of the resolution to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Union of BC Municipalities, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, CropLife Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, local MLA and MP offices and any interested and related groups for comment."

Click here to visit a great resource from Deconstructing Dinner of audio broadcasts, links and documents about creating GE-Free Zones. We hope it will act as a resource for other communities wishing to pass similar resolutions.

The Society for a G.E. Free B.C. is a social justice coalition of groups and individuals across BC/Yukon working for local, community based agriculture, and against genetic engineering of plants and trees. GE Free BC envisions a food-sovereign Canada where no genetically engineered life forms are created, patented, approved, bought, sold or traded. You can become a member now!

To help you garden GE-Free, over 100 seed companies have signed the Safe Seed Pledge that they will not buy or sell genetically engineered seeds.

Yukon Petition

In January 2012 Yukoners for a GMO-Free Yukon started an online petition at www.gmofreeyukon.com "At this point in time we do not have any genetically modified crops planted in the Yukon, and we would like to keep it that way. Our goal is to obtain 10,000 signatures by the fall 2012, and present the petition to the Yukon Legislature." The petition asks the government to ban the importation and growing of GM seeds, and the importation of GM animals.

On November 26 2007 a petition asking for a 10-year moratorium on the planting of genetically modified seeds in the Yukon was tabled in the Yukon Legislature by Steve Nordick of the Yukon Party. “We are very fortunate in the Yukon because we are one of the only places in North America that can still choose to keep our local environment relatively free of GE seed. Being GE contaminant free is vital to some of our businesses and opens other possibilities to us,” says local farmer Tom Rudge.

Map of GE Free Zones in Europe

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