Across the country, farm groups are reaching out to consumers through commodity-funded groups like Common Ground and the Illinois Farm Families program.
IFF brings Chicago moms to the farm through a year-long series of farm tours, including a recent tour let them talk corn, soybeans and GMOs with farm families.
Following the farm tours, many of the urban moms came away reassured about GMOs in general, but not necessarily about labeling.
Here's a look at what three of the women – Sara McGuire, Amanda Hinman and Heather Guido – had to say.
Interested in the GMO discussion? Farm Progress Special Projects Editor Holly Spangler is exploring GMO foods, GMO labeling and the general genetically modified food debate in an exclusive series. Follow along with @HollySpangler on Twitter and using the links below:
Sara McGuire >>
On GMOs: "Before my trip, I was 100% against GMOs; now I am willing to consider they may have benefits."
On labeling: "I think GMO products should be labeled. There is no reason why they cannot be coded just like organics and regular produce to alert the public without adding to cost. The cost should be absorbed by the development of the seed…shaved off the ultimate revenue of the seed producer. I also think that each product code should have an online access for information about what specifically went into the modification and what that modification does."
To farmers: "I hope you are being careful and conscientious. I imagine that you are, but please understand that the farmer down the road may not be as careful as you are. I hope that you understand the slippery slope we feel when genetic modification is spoken of - I can dye my hair red, but changing the gene of my egg or my fetus to make her hair red is something entirely different."
On GMOs: "GMOs is something I would prefer to avoid or reduce consumption of for my family, when it is possible to do so within reason. When something is genetically altered to destroy something (weeds or insects) and is able to do so at a more potent rate than previous generations, it will over time have a negative impact on human health as well. One of my primary concerns is the destruction of healthy gut flora (good bacteria) that occurs from the Bt or glyphosate levels of GMO seeds."
On labeling: "I am a proponent of labeling GMOs. I understand there are disruptive ramifications to state-by-state labeling legislation but information is power. I would pay more for labeling."
To farmers: "I had no idea the global impact that our farmers consider. It never occurred to me. This gives me a new appreciation for the drive to produce the highest yielding crop, in order to meet growing world population."
On GMOs: "I'm somewhat embarrassed that I had not heard of GMOs until about a year ago. Generally, I trusted that if GMOs were harmful, they wouldn't be on our supermarket shelves. I have been reading books, periodical articles, and online - both for and against. It sure is a loaded topic."
On labeling: "I don't care for a label unless there is something nutritionally different from the natural/conventional product. I think voluntary labeling and organic labeling is sufficient to provide choice to those who desire it. I am not willing to pay more for labeling. I don't pay more for organic, so I won't pay more for non-GMO."
To farmers: "My sense is that farmers have been in touch with GMOs for a lot longer than me. Farmers have spent the past two decades learning about them, but the general population has learned about them only in the past several years. I wonder if there are any concerns farmers have about GMOs."