This is the short story of how we got SPAR in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth, to bake GMO-Free bread for their community.
The story starts on a dark and stormy night… actually, no, it doesn’t. Here in PE, it’s usually just windy. So on a predictably windy night in PE, we came across an interesting Facebook post on popular anti-GMO activist group NO GMO SOUTH AFRICA’s page.
In the post, a man living near Queensmead SPAR, Durban, describes how he approached the manager of the store and “bares his heart” about the plight of having to eat GMO bread, presumably due to a lack of readily available alternatives in South Africa.
It turns out that, after some liaising between the Durbanite and different employees of Queensmead SPAR, GMO-free bread did in fact end up on the shelves of the store. We were inspired and immediately responded to this action, deciding to try and take similar steps here in the friendly city (it’s windy and friendly!).
We initially approached one of the managers to discuss “going GMO-free on bread”, and gave him a printed article on what had happened at Queensmead SPAR. We were told that they would look into the matter, but somehow we were not convinced that something would actually be done. So we wrote a formal email and sent it to the store, and CC’d in a few friends.
The emails somehow were CC’d and forwarded to the correct people, some of whom emailed Newton Park SPAR directly; the original email was forwarded on and on until someone at Port Elizabeth’s newspaper THE HERALD received the mail. The newspaperman came to see us recently to talk about this initiative, and and article is set for publication in the paper.
After two weeks of ‘to-and-fro’ing between managers and local PE ‘NO-GMO’ activists, we can positively claim success. Today we received a call from the SPAR bakery manager to say that they had a sample GMO-free loaf ready for us to try.
By the way, the bread was nothing less than PERFECT and absolutely DELICIOUS! – It is still in “testing phase”, however is already available for purchase, just ask the bakery manager to point out the GMO-free bread if needs be.
Here is a scan of the the article that was published in The Herald Newspaper in Port Elizabeth.
A big thank you to David Pittaway of NMMU, Pierrelouis Lemercier of Renewable Energy Centre (REC), PE’s Transition Network (TN), and Guy Rogers of The Herald for their outstanding efforts and contributions to this initiative.
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