Close to 600 retailers took part in last year's inaugural Non-GMO Month in October, hosting in-store events and promoting the sale of products bearing the Non-GMO Project seal.
This year, organizers hope to go bigger. In addition to retailer promotions, next month thousands of supporters will participate in the GMO Right2Know March from New York to Washington. The two-week event invites protesters to hike the entire 313 miles or tag along for a few hours, with stops along the way at grocery stores and natural food manufacturers. Once they reach Washington, marchers will hold a rally outside the White House to advocate uniform GMO labeling.
Event organizers and supporters say the march reflects a near boiling point anti-GMO consumers have reached in the past year. In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the use of Roundup Ready alfalfa. Shortly after that, a coalition of farmers banded together to sue the agribusiness company Monsanto, challenging its patents on genetically modified seeds.
Sales of products bearing the Non-GMO Project increased 24% over the past year, according to the program. That's evidence, supporters say, that shoppers demand transparency.
“American consumers deserve the choice of whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” said Michael Hansen, chief scientist with the Consumers Union.