Reminder: San Juan County is GMO-free

As farmers and gardeners begin to plant their crops for the coming season, it is important to remember that San Juan County has banned the production of genetically modified organisms.

San Juan is the only county in the state of Washington to have banned GMOs.

“Now that it’s time for planting, make sure you’re not bringing GMO-based products into the county,” said County Councilman Rick Hughes. “We don’t want GMO-produced seeds to find their way into this community.”

In November 2012, voters elected to have the county take a firm stance against GMOs. The measure, which was proposed by organic farmers and others in the county, makes it unlawful to propagate or grow genetically modified plants and animals in San Juan County places penalties and calls for the destruction of modified organisms.

Mendocino County in California was the first in the nation to adopt such policies against GMOs in 2004.

Hughes said he hopes the county can use the designation to start a seed bank or attract GMO-free organic organizations.

“We are a unique community that has come together to put this to vote on it,” said Hughes. “It’s a really cool designation I wish we could be utilizing more… I wish we could find some economic way to take advantage of this.”