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A Fantastic Day of GMO Training with Jeffrey Smith from The Institute for Responsible Technology

As I have written about before, I believe that the most important person in this country fighting against GMOs is Andrew Kimbrell, the Executive Director of The Center for Food Safety (CFS).

The CFS has single-handedly stopped many GMO crops from coming to market and is constantly taking the USDA and Monsanto to court in order to protect organic food.

If there is a number two on this list, his name is probably Jeffrey Smith from The Institute for Responsible Technology.

Jeffrey Smith has been described by Candace Pert, former US National Institutes of Health scientist, as “the leading world expert in the understanding and communication of the health issues surrounding genetically modified foods.”

He has numerous GMO books and movies to his credit and travels the world helping to educate people and governments on the dangers of genetically-modified food.

Whereas CFS’s approach is carried out through the judicial system and via email campaigns to governmental leaders (a top-down approach), Jeffrey Smith tries to galvanize and educate consumers so that GMO food can be directly defeated in supermarket aisles (a bottom-up approach).

I met Jeffrey Smith briefly at Expo West a few months ago and see all of his organization’s social media activity on the Internet yet had never heard him speak.

My thinking was that this seminar would give me more information to write about and that would be it. Yet, I left with much, much more than I had anticipated.

The Training

As I quickly learned, this day was about teaching/training people to deliver speeches about the dangers of GMOs rather than just Jeffrey Smith talking about all of the problems that GMOs cause. This was about giving people the tools, strategies and resources so they can give talks themselves.

We went through a few hundred slides (all of which are available to us and that we can use), broke into small groups to rehearse the framing of discussions and to practice what we are going to say, and learned what key words we should avoid using — legal jargon that will keep us out of trouble.

Jeffrey Smith shared with us his tested techniques for keeping people engaged and interested. What I really liked was the optimism that he likes to convey.

For him, it was important not to be about all doom and gloom but that a victory over GMOs can be achieved. Additionally, he likes to keep the talks fun and always on a positive note.

I must admit that when I talk to organic industry leaders, such as Andrew Kimbrell or Gary Hirshberg from Stonyfield, my tone carries a lot of concern and maybe not enough optimism. However, as I watch what Obama is doing with all of his pro-GMO appointments and policies, it really alarms me.

My Takeaways

1) I left very impressed with Jeffrey Smith. He knows the subject matter cold, and anyone who is dedicating his life to defeating GMOs is someone that I appreciate.

2) I really like Jeffrey Smith’s strategy. His goal is to create a tipping point where 5% of the population is on the non-GMO bandwagon, and he wants to accomplish this by empowering many others to go out into the field to speak about this subject.

Since Jeffrey Smith knows that he cannot do it alone, many individuals need the training and resources to help spread the word.

There were about 30 other people in the room with me and many of whom, I suspect, will be giving speeches themselves sometime soon. Empowering people with the tools and education is so critical, and this is precisely what Jeffrey Smith is doing.

3) As I mentioned, my initial thinking was to go the event, learn some more GMO information and then just report back about it.

But now I definitely want to give talks about GMOs using the resources available via the Institute for Responsible Technology.

I am constantly writing about organics and GMOs, and there is no reason for me to not be in the field doing more. I have a comfort level discussing this subject and I definitely understand its importance.

Attending the training inspired me to go do this.

If you are passionate about spreading the word about the dangers of GMOs and are a major supporter of organic, I strongly urge you to attend one of Jeffrey Smith’s trainings or contact the Institute for Responsible Technology to see how you can get involved.

This is an extremely important cause and we need everyone’s help to get to that tipping point as fast as we can. Great work, Jeffrey!

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