GMO Free Mendocino/Yes on Measure H
Mendocino Organic Network organized and successfully executed the country's first county-wide ban on production of GMOs. Measure H was passed by the voters on March 2, 2004 and became an inspiration world-wide for food activists.
Mendocino County, California, was the first jurisdiction in the United States to ban the cultivation, production or distribution of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The ordinance, entitled Measure H, was passed by referendum on March 2, 2004. Initiated by the group "GMO Free Mendocino", the campaign was a highly publicized grassroots effort by local farmers and environmental groups who contend that the potential risks of GMOs to human health and the ecosystem have not yet been fully understood. The measure was met with opposition by several interest groups representing the biotechnology industry, The California Plant Health Association (now the Western Plant Health Association) and CropLife America, a Washington-based consortium whose clients represent some of the largest food distributors in the nation, including Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical. Since the enactment of the ordinance, Mendocino County has been added to an international list of "GMO free zones." Pre-emptive statutes banning local municipalities from such ordinances have now become widespread with adoption in sixteen states.
The campaign was the brainchild of Els Cooperrider, then partner in Ukiah Brewing Company, and was headquartered at Ukiah Brewing Company.Ukiah Brewing was the premier organic brewpub, and Frey Vineyards, also in Mendocino County, was the premier organic winery. Both Ukiah Brewing Company and Frey Vineyards played key roles in running the campaign.