Today, I am deeply saddened by California Prop 37′s failure to pass. It’s a sorrowful thing that a little more than half the voting public of California allowed the multi-million dollar corporate ad campaign to fool them into giving up the right to know what they’re eating, but as the old adage says, “You can fool some people some of the time.”

-But-

You Can’t Fool All Of The People All Of The Time, and so this post is for my 4,277,985 fellow Californians who voted yes on the right to know which foods have been genetically engineered. Before the Yes on 37 campaign, I doubt that four-and-a-quarter million Californians even understood that genetically engineered organisms are on their plates, but now that they know, they need to know how to protect themselves and their loved ones from these unwanted substances.

Just like people realized saccharin caused cancer and stopped eating it, so with GMOs. Just like people look back with shame on the use of DDT, so let it be with GMOs. Just as the nation turned green over the thought of pink slime, so should they be repulsed by these organisms. Just like they didn’t want rBGH in cow milk, these people don’t want GMOs. So, here is my simple, 3 step guide to avoiding foods contaminated with GMOs in the grocery stores. Memorize these and put these guidelines into action on your next shopping trip.

1. Understand that 70% of the foods in all typical U.S. supermarkets contain GMOs.

2. If a product contains any of the ingredients on this list, it is almost certainly genetically modified unless it the label is 100% organic.

3. The USDA Organic label is your #1, best protection from foods contaminated with GMOs. This is not interchangeable with labels that say they ‘contain organic ingredients’. Only if the entire product is 100% organic are you protected. This goes for both packaged foods and produce.

That’s all there is to it. Know those 3 things and you will be doing all you can to protect yourself from accidental consumption of these unwanted organisms.

How We Shop
There has never be a proposition in my lifetime that I have supported with more heartfelt enthusiasm than California Prop 37. I was praying to wake up to a new day in California today, but unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. Monsanto and their media allies (including the roll of shame on which so many California newspapers are now placed for siding with Monsanto) have managed to win simply because of their wealth. The little guy let the big guy trick him.

Ironically, for all my support of Prop 37, its passage or failure was not really going to have an impact in how our family already shops. For what we can’t grow organically ourselves, we already shop 100% organically, both from local farmers and our local natural foods store. We will go on avoiding GMOs as we always have by refusing to purchase conventional foods that are not only likely to be genetically modified, but are also loaded with incredibly toxic pesticides and herbicides. We will continue to shop as we have.

But I realize our farming family represents a minority, and so what has been lost is the chance for so many neighbors whom I care about to see their real grocery list in black-and-white for the first time since the development of GMOs. My neighbors who fill their grocery carts with obvious junk foods like Kellogg’s corn flakes and Pepperidge Farm cookies or deceptively labeled ‘natural’ foods like Morningstar Farm veggie burgers and Boca Burgers, would finally have been given the wake-up call that they’ve been eating GMOs. They could have begun to find organic alternatives to these unwanted products, forever altering the contents of their shopping carts and the contents of their bodies. These are the folks for whom I feel most badly that Prop 37 didn’t pass. I was hoping for a bright day of truth and transparency for all of them.

But, as this is not going to be spelled out clearly by an accurate label for the 4 million+ Californians who voted for the labels, the bright new day is up to them and is based on their taking just a few moments of their lives to educate themselves about avoiding GMOs. If I learned to do this, so can anyone. The label would have been good – it would have been a godsend and a symbol of the people standing up to Monsanto (the corporation that invented Agent Orange and Roundup and leaves black calling cards at the homes of its adversaries). But Prop 37s failure to pass is not the end of story. You can still do all you can to protect yourself, and every dollar you put into an organic farmer’s pocket instead of Monsanto’s war chest, is a dollar powerfully spent.

So, please, take that moment in your life to know the guidelines for avoiding GMOs, and learn to shop and eat without them.