The list of local chefs who support Initiative 522 is long and quite impressive—and many of them are holding events to cook for the cause. I-522 would require farmers and food producers to label genetically modified foods, and an early survey shows that a large number of Washington State voters plan to vote yes on I-522. And if the polls and the chef turnout are any indication of the outcome of this bill, we will probably start seeing GMO-free notices on menus come next year.
Chef Maria Hines is a huge proponent for the initiative, which is not a surprise due to her involvement with Seattle Tilth. She says, “We have a real opportunity to be the first state to have GMO labeling and to bring awareness on this topic.”
Those opposing the bill claim that labeling GMOs would scare people away from buying those products. Hines response? “It’s not a warning label; it’s just a label,” offering consumers a choice to buy food with GMOs or not.
Seattle's food community will be a major presence in the pro-522 movement as we count down to the November 5 general election. Here are a few upcoming events in support of the bill.
Businesses for Yes of I-522 at Theo Chocolate
If you’ve got time on your lunch break today head to Theo Chocolate at noon for a press conference for the Yes on I-522 campaign. The long list of supporters is fierce, and many will be speaking, like Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, and founder and chief farmer of Full Circle Farms, Andrew Stout.
Bite Nite at Herban Feast at Sodo Park
The list of chefs involved in this fundraiser "Bite Nite" on September 19 is gosh darn ridiculous. One could only hope that they might all decide to throw down for an intense Quickfire challenge at Herban Feast, but instead each chef is preparing a special bite for the evening under no time constraints or wacky guidelines. Chef Jim Drohman of Le Pichet will make a roasted tomato and sweet peppercorn gazpacho. Hilliard’s Beer, Finnriver Ciders, Bainbridge Island Distillers, and Caffe Vita are part sponsors too, so drinks should be prime-time. Chef Meeru Dhalwala of Shanik, also a huge supporter of GMO labeling, will be there, and hopes that consumers will start to educate themselves when it comes to genetically modified foods, this event will be a good place to start. Get your $125 ticket, with proceeds going to Yes on I-522, here.
GMO OMG Documentary at Siff Film Center
Premiering in Seattle on the weekend of September 27-28, director Jeremy Seifert shows his struggle as a father to feed his family in a healthful way. The film offers a personal story to show the impact of GMOs on the environment and our freedom to choose. Find tickets here.
Dine Out in Ballard/Fremont, and Capitol Hill
Buy your “passport” ticket for Dine Out for 522 on October 3 and for only 50 bucks, restaurant hop among some excellent spots in either Fremont and Ballard or Capitol Hill. Small-plate offerings will be found at Quinn’s Pub, Restaurant Zoe, Cafe Presse, Terra Plata, Dinette, Sitka and Spruce, and Café Flora for the Cap Hill lineup. And the Ballard/Fremont group is Joule, The Whale Wins, Delancey, Staple and Fancy, Golden Beetle, and Hot Cakes. Grab your passport for Ballard/Fremont, here, and Capitol Hill, here.
Happy Hour with Maria Hines
On October 8 Hines is throwing a happy hour Q&A at Tilth, in hopes of sharing a little more information on the initiative and what it means for consumers and diners. Head on over from 3:30 to 4:30 to drink sangria and munch on snacks, all while getting the lowdown on GMOs and what the bill itself is asking for.
Cocktail Party at Barnacle
After a Q&A session with Hines on October 8, move to Ballard to Renee Erickson’s newest joint, Barnacle, for a cocktail party in support of I-522. The tiny wine bar—slotted to open very soon—will serve a unfussy menu of classic Eli Dahlin seafood and pickled dishes. And the event will give you a great excuse to check out the promised selection of amari. The party is from 5:30 to 7:30 and tickets are $60, get them while they last, here.