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Measure M Passes

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Measure M Passes

By Elain B. Holtz

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) Banned in Sonoma County. Never under estimate the power of a group of people motivated with strong leadership to facilitate change. Karen Hudson who spearheaded Citizens for Healthy Farms and Families-Yes on Measure M, which overwhelming passed,  became interested  in the idea of labeling GMO’s  in 2011 when she co-led the campaign for Prop 37 in Sonoma County.  Although it won in Sonoma County, it did not pass statewide.

In 2014 she wanted to join Humboldt County who was attempt ting to get a ban on the ballot but was advised to wait for the Presidential election in 2016.  Hudson knew in order to get the measure on the ballot it would take a huge effort and could be costly.  She approached the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors (BOS) and advised them of the problems with GMO crops and how it could affect our community, as well as the communities surrounding us that already had a ban.  The BOS refused to consider the matter and told her to “go to the ballot.”

“I am a mother and a grandmother and whenever I set my mind to do something I do not stop until it happens,” Hudson said.  With that attitude got to work forming a team of dedicated volunteers and got 24,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot.  In spite of arguments against it, Measure M made it to the ballot, and it was approved by Sonoma County voters in the election on November 8 with 55.9% Yes and 44.1% No.   Santa Cruz, Marin, Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt Counties have had similar measures to protect their local farms in place for up to 11 years with no costs to county or taxpayers. Adding Sonoma County to the list we now have 13,734 Square MILE GMO Free Growing Zone.  

Hudson attributes the success of this measure to the many volunteers that collected signatures, made phone calls, and showed up at almost every event in the county to educate the public. She also says it couldn’t have happened without her core team members, Mark Squire, Owner Tara Firma Farm in Petaluma, Pamm Larry, GMO Free USA, Maureen Evans Campaign Consultant, Barbara Richard and Elise Higley, Jackson & Josephine Counties, Laurie Earp fundraising and Christopher Murphy and Carol Degmetich field coordinators. Hudson is most grateful for the volunteers and of course the Sonoma County Voters, “It was an amazing victory for all of us,” concluded Hudson.