VPIRG Celebrates Most Successful Summer Canvass Ever

30,000 signatures gathered in support of GMO labeling

For Immediate Release: August 15, 2013

Montpelier, VT— In a celebratory event in front of the State House today, dozens of organizers with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) released the results of the group’s largest summer outreach campaign ever. Since the beginning of May, VPIRG canvassers going door-to-door have collected approximately 30,000 signatures in support of GMO labeling legislation, which is pending in the state Senate.  To view photos from the event, visit VPIRG’s Facebook page.

At its peak, VPIRG’s summer office in Burlington was sending out nearly 70 canvassers per night.  This was the largest summer outreach effort ever conducted by VPIRG, and for the first time, canvassers knocked on doors and gathered support in every city, town, village and gore in the state.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of direct, face-to-face conversations with people, especially in an age of non-stop social media,” said Leah Marsters, one of VPIRG’s veteran Canvass Directors.  “You learn a lot about what matters to people if you take the time to talk with them, and collectively we’ve talked with about 50,000 Vermonters over the past 14 weeks. One thing we’ve learned for sure is that Vermonters believe they have a right to know about GMOs.”

Over the last two years VPIRG has worked to pass common sense labeling legislation as part of the VT Right to Know GMOs coalition. This year the Vermont House of Representatives made history by becoming the first legislative chamber in the country to pass a GMO labeling bill. The bill is now headed to the Senate where it will be taken up in January.

“I am encouraged by the overwhelming reception that these young people received,” said Senator David Zuckerman. “I think it shows that there is broad public support for the passage of strong GMO labeling legislation this session.”

VPIRG Consumer Protection Advocate Falko Schilling commented on the future of the bill saying, “It’s now up to 30 senators to decide whether or not Vermont consumers will have the ability to make informed choices about what they eat. A recent poll by the New York Times found that 93% of Americans want to see GMO foods labeled.  It’s time to give Vermonters the information they want and need.”

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