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Group looking to ban production of GMO crops

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FORTUNA- A local group is collecting signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot that will ban Genetically Modified Organisms from being grown or raised in Humboldt County. GMO Free Humboldt has collected 2,000 signatures, half of what is needed to make the November Ballot.

The proposed initiative would ban GMOs from being grown or raised in Humboldt County. GMO products would still be able to be sold and purchased in the county under the proposed measure.

"We're trying to create an economic zone on the north coast where people can grow non-GMO products and not worry about contamination or loosing their organic certifications," said Colin Fisk,e a volunteer for GMO Free Humboldt.

The group sponsored a public meeting on the controversial engineering technique at the Rohner Grange Monday. "There is a lot of confusion about GMOs, about what they are about and what those impacts are," said Fiske.

The group has been collecting signatures since June and need a total of 7,500 signatures to make it on the 2014 ballot.

John Swierstra, a Fortuna resident, came to Monday's meeting to learn about GMOs. Swierstra said he would not support a ban on GMO crops. "I don't think it will affect people negatively," he said.

Coleman Pulsifer said he was supportive of the ban. "I think it is a worthy thing to do because it really is the definition of local control. To say 'we don't want this, we think this is inappropriate and you can not do it here," he said.

Mendocino, Marin and Trinity Counties have all approved a similar ban on GMO crops.