Kathleen Hallal: Our oldest boy came down with what looked like behavioral issues but they were actually auto-immune issues. I started looking into diet as a way to build-up my son’s immunity. It affected our family personally in terms of our boys, you know, having a health issue. But when I found out what GMOs actually mean and what the farming process actually is I was horrified and I was motivated to go out and tell people.
Toni Bark: Then what’s your story?
Zen Honeycutt: I have three sons Ben is 10, Bodi’s 8 and Bronson it’s 5. They all had allergies, dairy, wheat and gluten, nuts and eggs. And I had other friends that had kids with those
allergies so I just sort of put up with it, I didn’t know what was going on, I
don’t know why they had allergies but it was just something I have to put up with, right.
But then I thought, well wait a second, what if there is something that I can do about this?
What if it’s allergies could go away?
What if he doesn’t have to live with this for the rest of his life?
So I started researching and I found out that there are GMO foreign proteins in our food since 1996. It just was like a nightmare opened up, right. I saw that these foreign proteins were in all kinds of foods that my kids were eating without knowing, without labels, without our permission and I was just focused on my family at first, we just need to eat organic.
But then my son really inspired me, he was nine years old at the time, going into 4th grade and he said, “mom, the kids that are acting up, that are making the teachers yell, they’re eating all this junk food.” And he said, “maybe if I do a presentation to them, to tell them about this junk food then maybe they’ll feel better and then the teacher won’t yell so much.”
Ben Honeycutt: So here we have Lunchables and if when you eat Lunchables it can probably make you distracted because it has preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.The alternative is rice crackers and chicken, maybe some grapes.
Zen Honeycutt: I realized it was time to just do the actions that it takes to get the food labeled and to get these toxins out of our food, to get these foreign proteins out of our foods and make a difference. I didn’t know what it was going to be but we were gonna do it. And when Prop 37 didn’t pass at first I was just, you know, devastated. I was crying in the parking lot and this blonde peppy lady came up to me and said “don’t worry, it’s not over, this is just the beginning, we’re gonna fight!”
You know, and I just, I couldn’t believe it that somebody could be that positive you know, and the impact of it and in the moment but she was and she was very encouraging. That was the beginning of our partnership.
The next day after, my son said “mom, you know, even Star Wars took six episodes you know, and they had Yoda you know.” I thought about it, I was like really, this really is the beginning.
And so I asked myself how can we let as many people know about GMOs in the shortest amount of time?
So I thought about fourth of July parades which are awesome because theirs thousands of people lining the street. It’s the most patriotic day of the year and it’s already organized. And so we created Moms Across America and put up a Facebook page and a website and then we just let the world know about it. And within 4 1/2 months we had a reach on Facebook of over 300,000 a week.
Toni Bark: 300,000 a week?
Zen Honeycutt: A week! So it was a million a month. 172 moms all across the nation signed up and they didn’t have any training they just said “I’m gonna be the one to let my whole town know about GMOs.”
We estimate we reached about a million and a half people in one day and tens of millions more through media. When every mom just gets present to the love they have for their children they will do anything and when they find out that they can do something and when they hear from other moms that they can make a difference; we’ve had moms tell us from our posts on Facebook that your post saying that your kids got better when they got off GMOs saved my kids life.
Toni Bark: Wow!
Kathleen Hallal: We want moms to start talking to one another because once moms start talking to one another about this and figuring it out there will be no stopping us. 85% of the groceries are purchased by women, so we just need women to start paying attention and thinking about it and then go out and vote with your dollar.
Zen Honeycutt: There are leaders out there in America and that’s been the most inspiring thing about this is that, our food system may be broken, right, our food industry may be bought but the people are not.