There was an article last week in the Statesman Journal entitled, “Farmers get hate mail, harassment for opposing GMO labels.” There has been a lot of talk about this since. I’ve gotten questions, people have apologized, I’ve even heard rumors that we got death threats. So I wanted to clear up a few things.
First of all it is true that my husband and I both received hate mail. I got blog comments and emails that were less than friendly in nature, really awful in some respects. I was told that I was poisoning children, they hoped my farm failed, etc., etc. So yes, the article was true in that fact. But what I think the article should have been about, more than hate mail from people who don’t agree, was about the recognition that we all received from Oregon Farm Bureau for standing up even though we knew that getting called “sell-outs” was a possibility.
I honestly can say that I said yes to working with this campaign knowing that food is an emotional issue. It’s one that people talk about everyday, they are enthralled with, frustrated with, trusting of, and at the same time skeptical of what our food system is today. So I knew what I was walking in to and I half expected to get some type of backlash.
Here is what I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to get so many thank you’s from people I have never met. I didn’t expect that every time I walked into a meeting with people whom I respect to have them shake my hand in appreciation for standing up. I didn’t expect to have so many people come to talk to me, just to hear more about this issue. I knew that it would open up conversations, but I never knew how far that would go. And I truly didn’t expect to be recognized by Oregon Farm Bureau in receiving their annual Service to Agriculture for my courage during this campaign. I am truly honored by that.
So while the article didn’t get any comments from us hate mail receivers (wish they would have at least tried to contact me) I wanted to give you my view from the inside looking out. It isn’t always the whole story when you receive hateful messages, as one of my friends put it, “If nobody is angry with you, you likely haven’t accomplished anything.” (Thanks Josh!)