This is the weekend the Non-GMO movement has been waiting for. After a kick-off rally in Brooklyn and another in front of the United Nations in Manhattan, the first-ever GMO Right2Know March will cross the Hudson River into Jersey City, N.J. Final destination: The White House on October 16th, where another rally will urge the federal government to mandate the labeling of foods containing genetically-modified organisms.
It’s right there in the title: Consumers want the right to know.
Marchers will have the option of staying at a local hotel or camping out in Liberty State Park, an expansive riverside space spread in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. Check the march schedule and destinations here.
Subia’s Organic Cafe in Jersey City lies along the route, and is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the demonstrators. It’ll be the first retailer to play host to the participants after departing New York. Sisters Yvonne and Nilsa Rodriguez opened the cafe and an adjacent store 8 years ago, even though friends and family said their idea of having a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Jersey City — forever overshadowed by New York as a food destination — was crazy.
REFRESH: What hospitality are you planning for the marchers tomorrow?
YVONNE: We’re going to be handing out packages of cereal donated by Nature’s Path, and fresh juices, drinks and water. Whatever they need to keep marching, we’ll offer. We’re stocking up as much as we can. We’re here to support the cause and nourish them along their way.
REFRESH: That’s a lot of food you’ll be giving away.
YVONNE: I might not be able to give away to every person who comes in, but between the organizations and companies that donated products, and what we stocked up ourselves, we’re going to try and least help with the basics.
REFRESH: What’s your take on GMOs?
YVONNE: Everything that I have here is organic, so there are no GMOs here! It’s an organic store and a vegetarian cafe, so I’m not concerned that I sell GMO stuff. But I am worried about what people are buying in the bigger supermarkets. They have to know about this issue. That’s why we decided to make our store a stop on the march.
REFRESH: Tell me about the store and cafe.
YVONNE: We push the organic and vegetarian lifestyle. I’d say 95% of the stuff we serve in our cafe is vegetarian. In New Jersey, there’s not that many vegetarian options in where to eat. Even though the market has grown —because people want to buy organic — what has really grown for my sister and me is the cafe.
Besides Nature’s Path, other companies participating through manpower or supplies include: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Rapunzel, Organic Valley; Silk, Stonyfield Farm, United Natural Foods Incorporated, Nutiva, Kamut International and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.
The march, which kicks off the second annual Non-GMO month, will pass by other retailers as well. Among those hosting are MOM’s in Maryland — another operator who has taken a firm stand on making sure all the products it sells have clean ingredients. Stay tuned.