Tom Stahl was born in Wenatchee, Washington in 1954. He worked on the family farm through high school and college. He attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington where he majored in sociology and law & justice. Upon graduation from college he attended Boston University School of Law where he earned a J.D. degree in 1982. He practiced law for 4 ½ years in the Boston, Massachusetts area; first with Dicara, Selig, & Holt and then with Moreschi & Stahl.
Tom returned to Washington state to operate the family farm in Douglas County when his father retired from farming. Tom has farmed for the past 27 years in Waterville, Washington where he grows wheat, barley and peas.
In 2009, Tom and other farmers became alarmed when they learned that the Pacific Northwest’s principal Asian wheat customers were strongly opposed to Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) wheat, while at the same time the chemical giant Monsanto continued to promote GMO wheat thus risking the contamination of wheat stocks bound for foreign markets. Eighty five percent of Washington’s wheat crop is exported to foreign markets, many of them opposed to GMO wheat.
Recognizing the potential disaster of GMO wheat, Tom and other farmers formed the Committee to Save Our Farm Markets in 2010 and began circulating a petition of sentiment entitled, “Petition to Label Genetically Modified Food.”
The farmers reasoned that if the consumers in America can achieve the same rights to know what is in their food that the consumers in foreign countries have, then the American consumers are likely to reject GMO foods. If the present GMO corn and soybeans recede from the marketplace, then there will never be a GMO wheat and the farmers will keep their markets and stay in business.
Tom’s concerns about GMO wheat were vindicated in the summer of 2013. Japan, Washington’s largest wheat customer, temporarily closed its market to Pacific Northwest wheat upon the discovery of a small amount of Monsanto’s GMO wheat in a summer fallow field in eastern Oregon.
The original petition of sentiment, the “Petition to Label Genetically Modified Food” which achieved about 3000 signatures with no money and no advertising, provided the initial momentum for the later political “Petition to Label GMO Foods, Initiative 522” which was on the November 2013 ballot in Washington. Although, I-522 narrowly lost, Tom and the other GMO Free Partners believe that labeling of GMO foods will ultimately be achieved when the public learns more about GMOs.
Tom and the farmers were initially concerned about the GMO threat to the livelihoods of farmers because of loss of markets. Later, they began to examine the many scientific studies that warn of the dangers of consuming GMO foods. Tom and the GMO Free Partners are now convinced that GMO foods are a threat to the health of consumers.
As Tom Stahl has recently said, “The infiltration of unlabeled GMO crops into the food supply is a public health crisis.”
Patricia Michl was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and lived near White Bear Lake. When she was in first grade, her family moved to South Dakota, then later to Illinois and then to Ohio. Pat graduated from high school in Coshocton, Ohio and she graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in elementary education and a Master’s degree in guidance and counseling. Pat taught elementary school in Ohio for eight years.
In 1980 Pat moved to the state of Washington. In 1986 she earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University School of Law). Pat has practiced family law in Pierce County, Washington for the past 26 years.
Pat strongly opposes the proliferation of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops in our environment. Her views are based on the books written by Jeffrey M. Smith, “Seeds of Deception” and “Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives,” and on the many independent studies, such as the Seralini study, which have shown that GMOs are harmful to animal and human health.
The 6 major GMO crops (soy, corn, canola, cotton, sugar beets, and alfalfa) are promoted by giant agri-business for one reason: to soak these crops in the herbicide Roundup. Unknowing consumers then purchase these foods and ingest dangerous amounts of the Roundup residue. Independent scientific studies have shown that Roundup causes organ damage, allergies, infertility, and cancer.
Pat testified in Olympia before the Senate Agriculture Committee and she joined the “Farmers And Friends of I-522” to achieve the labeling of GMO foods. I-522 was the Washington state 2013 ballot measure to require the labeling of GMO foods which narrowly lost. Pat believes that mandatory labeling is the key to a GMO free world. Thus, her membership and strong commitment to GMO Free Partners, LLC.
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