GMOs and The GROW Customer Right to Know

Last year when Proposition 37 (the ballot initiative to require the labeling of food products made with genetically modified ingredients) was on the ballot in California, we watched the vote outcome with great anticipation.  As the years have gone by since we opened, there have been few food issues that have garnered as much attention.  We did the research and the reading, and voted ‘yes’ with as much conviction as we ever had.  As we all know, Prop 37 was defeated.  Without regard to ‘why’ it was defeated, it got us thinking, “Heck, we don’t need a proposition to do what’s right.”

See, all of us at the shop want to know if there are any genetically modified ingredients in our food because we think food should be food- simple as that.  So, why wouldn’t we want to pass that information along to our customers?  Why shouldn’t you have the right to know?  And thus began almost a full year of phone calls, and emails, and letters and replies.  Finally, in late July, we got all of the information we needed to gather  in order to tell all of you that GROW now labels all products that may contain genetically modified ingredients.

So, how did we go about gathering this information?  Well, here is the bullet point list:

  • Immediately stop bringing in any new products that can not verify their non-GMO status.
  • Review of the ingredient lists of all vendor products.
  • Get in touch with vendors who have ingredients in their products that may potentially contain GMOs.
  • Review their replies.
  • Place vendors into 1 of 3 groups. (1. nonGMO, 2. GMO Risk, 3. Definite GMO usage)
  • Label all products that may contain GMO ingredients.

It wasn’t an easy task, but it was one worth doing.  Around the store you’ll see signs like this:

GMO Card 2.5x3

These cards let you know what brand & product line has the potential for GMOs, and from which ingredients the specific risk comes.  Vendors who have products on this list have been notified.  Some have already let us know that they are working on finding a verified non-GMO or Organic equivalent.

What we hope will change is people’s awareness of what is going on in the food industry, the reluctance of mega food makers to inform their customers, and a shift in how we think about food to a more sensible, local and healthy way.

If you would like to know more about how GMOs get into food in the first place here are a list of resources: (GROW is a participating member! & Many of our vendors are Non-GMO Project verified:)

A special thanks goes out to Ariella Robinson.  Ariella was one of GROW’s 4 recent Mira Costa graduates, and this project could not have been completed without her.  Her hard work and tenacity in tracking down answers was admirable, to say the least.  So, next time you see her at the shop, give her an “Atta girl”;)

If you have any specific questions about our Non-GMO project, please email us at