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Davis, California

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ride to Know group bikes from SF to Sac for Prop. 37

This past weekend, a group of Bay Area cyclists embarked on a two-day ride called The Ride to Know from San Francisco to Sacramento in support of Proposition 37. Prop. 37, the California voter initiative to require labeling of genetically-modified (GM) foods, has been a debated item on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The cyclists included members of the Biosafety Alliance, California Right to Know, Sustainable Living Roadshow and various other people who support Prop. 37.
“During The Right to Know March on Oct. 3 in San Francisco, I asked attendees if they would ride their bikes to Sacramento in support of Prop. 37; there was a lot of interest and we decided to do it,” said Miguel Robles, a member of the Biosafety Alliance, and one of the ride’s organizers.
Riders started their journey on Saturday from the Ferry Building in San Francisco. They took a ferry to Vallejo and began cycling from there. The riders met people along the way and stayed overnight in Davis, hosted by a group in Davis that supports Prop. 37.

On Sunday they rode to Sacramento, first to the Downtown Sacramento Farmers Market and then to the State Capitol.

The group consisted of about 12 riders, which was a much lower number than initially expected. However, this did not discourage the ride organizers.
“We traveled in one day about 55 miles and then the other day about 35 miles. We were expecting more people, but we also realize a lot of people aren’t really ready to ride 55 miles in one day,” said Becky White, musician and activist and one of the ride’s organizers.
The No on Prop. 37 campaign argues that passing the proposition would require the repackaging and relabeling of everyday food products. This would result in an increase in food prices, frivolous lawsuits and cost taxpayers and the government unnecessary money.
“Legally mandating such a label can only serve to mislead and falsely alarm consumers,” said the Board of Directors for the American Association for the Advancement of Science in a statement issued on Oct. 20 called “On Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods.”
If Prop. 37 passes, California would be the first state in the U.S. to implement such a law. However, 61 other countries already require the labeling of GM food.
“We have the right to know what is in the food we purchase and eat. That’s a basic right,” White said in a press release. “We want to support farmers that prioritize keeping our families and our ecological communities healthy.”
Robles said the main goal of the ride was to encourage people in the areas they rode through to continue the work they have been doing for the past year and a half. He felt that people will vote “yes” on Prop. 37 regardless of the allegedly misleading information put out by corporations on TV and in newspaper ads.
“The largest pesticide and junk-food companies in the world are spending $40 million to try to buy this election, to keep California mothers and fathers from finding out whatʼs really in their childrenʼs food,” said Stacy Malkan, media director for the Yes on Prop. 37 California Right to Know campaign, in a press release.
Robles was optimistic that even if Prop. 37 doesn’t pass, people would at least be informed of GM food.

“We can see how the anti-GMO [genetically-modified organism] movement has gained support in the past few years and are sure that in case we los[e], we already have educated millions and millions of Californians about this issue,” Robles said in an e-mail. “The marketing for non-labeled GMO food as well as the perception that people have about it will not be the same.”

PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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