2016 Hearing

Below is information pertinent to Policy Allowing GMOs on Open Space Ag lands.

NEW: GMO Survey Press Release & Results Showing Strong Support for Banning GMOs

1. Commissioners Promise to Ban GMOs on Open Space: Don’t take our word for it, read their words for yourselves. Both Elise Jones and Deb Gardner campaigned on a platform to get elected by promising to ban GMOs on Open Space. They asked for our votes to champion the cause. And now, 4 years later, we expect them to complete that campaign promise. Read their promises across the media.

2. Legal Basis to Ban GMOs: This very well documented and easy to read primer on the illegality of GMOs is probably the best document you will find to walk you through the exact steps FDA failed to uphold in allowing biotech to release these unstudied genes and seeds into the environment. We have provided these legal briefs to the County Commissioners and County Attorney. And we have provided the author of these documents, Attorney Steven Druker, as a witness in testimony to ban GMOs on Open Space. Read the legal briefs below:
A). Why FDA Policy on GE Foods is Unscientific, Irresponsible, and Illegal
B). The Unsettling Facts About FDA Policy on GMOs 

3. County-wide Survey of Voters shows 71% want GMOs banned on Open Space. In 2011, at the height of the GMO crop debate, a county-wide survey was conducted and found 71% of voters wanted to ban GMOs on Open Space. With the announcement from World Health Organization, WHO, categorizing glyphosate as likely carcinogen, one can imagine that voters want GMO crops and the inherent glyphosate banned immediately.
Click here to view the GMO Survey Results

4. 10 GMO Myths Debunked: You will hear the GMO farmers promote Monsanto’s party line on GMOs. In this well-researched document you will see the top 10 myths of GMOs debunked by facts. Do GMOs reduce pesticide use? Absolutely not. Pesticide usage is at an all-time high worldwide. That includes right here on tens of thousands of acres of Open Space.  10 GMO Myths

5.  No-GMO Position Paper: A group of concerned citizens in Boulder County, comprised of professionals, artists and scientists, detail the backstory of GMOs on Open Space in Boulder County. You will learn about the campaign promises Commissioners made to ban GMOs, the incredible story of disbanding the Food and Ag Policy Council at county Open Space headquarters, the infiltration of biotech from CSU into Boulder County agriculture policy, and more. This well researched piece is vital to understanding the landscape in which this new GMO Hearing is taking place. Don’t miss reading this!

6. 19 local farmers have gone out of business since the POS Cropland Policy went into effect, Dec. 2011: The opportunity for new farmers to get established, and leverage Open Space is compromised. Many new farmers have gone out of business given the lack of Parks & Open Space support. Yet hundreds of young farm families desire to farm, and want to do so using safe regenerative methods. Sadly Parks & Open Space continues to expand GMO farming opportunities that produce ethanol and food additives (white sugar and high fructose corn syrup). This undermines the production of local, nutritious food including sweet corn, pinto beans, sunflower seeds and alfalfa.

7.  Boulder Weekly in-depth article: GMOs vs Local Food System: ​”Despite Rudi’s Organic Bakery’s commitment to buy all the wheat we can grow on our public lands, and Aurora Organic Dairy saying it would take all the organic alfalfa and corn silage that county open space could produce — legitimate offers that would deliver millions of dollars in new additional revenue into the county’s economy — it appears that moving towards a sustainable food system has to date not been a high enough priority to get all the players to the table to get it done. And if that is the case, and considering the many millions in lost local revenue that our current non-local food system is causing, shouldn’t it be time for our commissioners to mandate change? Read the full article here.

8.  Farming Alternatives to GMO: There are many types of farming beyond GMO agriculture. In fact, GMO agriculture inhibits or prohibits a variety of other farming systems due to the dangerous RoundUp/glyphosate and other toxic chemicals that trespass onto non-GMO farms and kill their crops and damage their soil. Organic farms right here in Boulder County have been decimated by these aerial chemical sprays and taxpayers have had to pay the bill for those lost crops. Alternatives to chemical farming such as organic or Regenerative Agriculture are being held back by the GMO policy in place in Boulder County. Learn more about Regenerative Agriculture here.

9.  Crop Alternatives: Contrary to arguments put forth by Monsanto and other chemical industry supporters, there are a variety of crops that can be grown on large acreage with significantly better economic benefits.  Learn about sunflowers, millet, hemp and others.

10.  A Better Cropland Policy: Over 3,000 citizens of Boulder County have supported a Cropland Policy that would address the issues inherent in managing over 24,000 acres of public farm land. See the Guiding Principles for the Citizens Cropland Policy and a side-by-side comparison of the current County policy vs the Citizen’s Cropland Policy.

11.  Transition to Organic Project: Commissioners will suggest that while they have not yet banned GMOs, they have been working on the Transition to Organic mandate passed in the 2011 Cropland Policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every effort to bring large food manufacturers and brands to the table to negotiate yields and prices has been met with bureaucracy. The only major land lease of scale, 400 acres, was given to a GMO farmer who has yet to transition that land. The organic farmer competing for the lease was not awarded the bid because, “he already has so many organic acres.” Media requests for the behind-the-scenes story can be sent to Mary VonBreck at Transition to Organic Project.

12.   Glyphosate/RoundUp Usage Increase: The USGS, United States Geological Survey, maintains detailed records of glyphosate use across the country. There is no arguing that GMO corn and sugar beets are genetically engineered for the sole purpose of withstanding glyphosate. GMO corn and sugar beets in Boulder County are no exception to this rule, although you will hear testimony from the GMO farmers saying that their GMO crops reduce pesticide use. See the facts here.


Here is the report & recommendations for Glyphosate on Open Space: Click Here

13.  Agri-Economic Transition Plan For GMO Farmers: As part of the Citizen’s Cropland Policy, we worked with a retired Purdue Agricultural Economist to draft an economic support system that supports GMO farmers transition towards regenerative farm practices (building soil, sequestering carbon, water and building nutrients), plus generate more proceeds for Open Space and return something to the public (clean food) who paid for open space in the first place. Read the plan here

To learn how you can get involved, click here.

Since 2001, Boulder County has been allowing farmers leasing Open Space land to plant GMO corn. In 2011, the County Commissioners allowed the planting of GMO sugar beets. Most Boulder County residents, when provided with this information, are surprised and appalled that our county government has allowed GMOs to be grown on publicly owned land in the “Organic Capital of the United States” for the past fifteen years.

The Open Space Cropland Management Policy is in review and has been re-written by the Cropland Policy Advisory Group (CPAG) and Parks and Open Space Staff (POS). Through this process, both CPAG and POS have received hundreds of documents from concerned citizens regarding the dangers and risks of GMOs. Thousands of hours have been invested in an attempt to provide the necessary data and scientific studies needed to support a ban on GMOs. Thousands of citizens have shown up at planning meetings, open forums and public events to communicate their concern for and opposition to the existing policy and their support for a ban on GMOs on public land. ALL of it has been ignored!

The Cropland Management Policy, which has been re-written by POS (Parks & Open Space) and CPAG (Cropland Policy Advisory Group), recommended the continued planting and growing of GMOs on Open Space Land with the option to introduce new varieties of GMOs as they become available on the market!

We have an opportunity to convince the decision makers that we, the citizens of Boulder County will not allow GMOs to be grown on our public land!

In March our three County Commissioners will be announcing their decision.

And, because we have no opportunity to vote on this issue (our county government structure does not allow this) the only way we can stop GMOs from being grown on public land is to convince our Commissioners to support a Cropland Management Policy that prohibits the planting & growing of GMOs on Public Open Space Land.

We have little time to act!  Our Commissioners will be reviewing the policy written and recommended by POS and CPAG and advisory groups for their recommendations as well.  We all need to be engaged now in order to stop this travesty from being perpetuated into our future! Commit to showing up to the Commissioners Public meeting on Monday, February 29, Go to our Key Dates page for details.

Read and endorse “The Citizens Cropland Policy” to tell our Commissioners how we DO want our public Agricultural lands managed. (click here)

Please Take Action and learn what you can do to ensure that our county lands are GMO Free.

Thank you for joining with other concerned and activated citizens in the fight to guarantee that the future of Boulder County Open Space is free from GMO contamination, that the use and management of this commonly held asset reflects the will of the people of Boulder County and that the stewardship of these lands preserves their capacity for our future generations.