SUMMERLAND — Rachel Parent, 15, is a youth activist in a crusade to change the Canadian food industry. She is the founder of Kids Right to Know, a movement demanding all genetically modified foods have a GMO label. Parent argues consumers have been denied their right to know what’s in their foods because this labeling isn’t required in Canada.
“We all deserve to know what’s in our foods and we all deserve the freedom to choose what we eat. Sixty-four countries in the world make GMO labeling mandatory; Canada and the U.S. are the only two industrialized nations in the world that don’t,” says Parent.
She is speaking to students in Summerland because it is the home of the genetically modified non-browning apple. The Arctic Apple was developed by a Summerland company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, which recently approved for sale in Canada and the U.S.
Many of the students say they’ve been inspired by Parent’s presentation.
“I work in a grocery store and I’ll be talking to my manager,” says student Jordan Bendixson.
Jane Stead, a social justices teacher, says Parent is inspiring other young people to make a difference.
“We have quite a few kids who take some big actions in our communities but the more that they see what’s possible when you set your mind to something, I think it is beneficial for all our students,” says Stead.
A few students say they want to join Parent’s crusade and start a Kids Right to Know chapter in Summerland.
They seek to make one simple change: label it.