Let’s go meet the people at the Non GMO Project
You have probably seen this label on food products.
The Non GMO Project’s mission is clear, “to preserve and build sources of non-GMO products, educate consumers, and provide verified non-GMO choices.”
To help them with their mission, they use a 3rd party organization called FoodChain ID in Fairfield, Iowa to oversee the non-GMO verification process, issuing evaluation decisions regarding a product’s compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard. You may not have heard of FoodChain ID, but they are one of the founding members of the Non-GMO project and today ensure that any company using the Non-GMO Project Verified seal is actually using non-GMO products.
Our Trip to deep into the heartland of Iowa
The day started off driving an hour and a half through brutally cold weather to Fairfield, Iowa.
This is what it looked like when we got in our four wheel drive truck.
The temperature read -15 degrees. I will have to admit that I wanted to go inside and crawl right back into the warm bed.
Matt Fitzgerald and I arrived in Fairfield and gave a presentation to a group of registered dietitians that work for Hy-Vee grocery stores. Hy-Vee is an innovative grocery store chain in the midwest that contains a “Health Market” within the store and also has a registered dietitian at each store. My Nutrition Advisor has given presentations to well over 150 dietitians in these HyVee grocery stores.
After our meeting with dietitians, we headed over to the Food Chain ID headquarters.
What we found in this building was three floors of very nice people who really care about making sure you are able to buy high quality food and have transparency in the food that you are buying. There are multiple great people in this organization. Shown in the picture below are just a few of the people that we met who help create transparency by labeling what is in the food that we are eating. They have played an instrumental role in bringing awareness to Genetically Modified Foods. As founding members of the Non GMO Project in 2007, the group at Food Chain ID have verified more than 24,000 products including ingredients sourced from over 100 countries.
Here are some interesting things about Fairfield, Iowa
Fairfield has been called America’s most unusual town. Now that I have been there, I would say it is unusual in a good way. So frequently when you go to small towns, they look the same. The same junk food restaurants line the streets and nothing really stands out in the town. This is not Fairfield.
Fairfield has about 10,000 people that live there. The streets are lined with individual, unique restaurants with international themes such as: vegetarian Indian food, vegetarian Thai food, Istanbul food, exotic chocolates shops, eccentric coffee shops etc.
The city has been called one of the state’s economic superstars and was featured in a 2012 episode on Oprah’s Next Chapter.
While no exact way to measure, many residents told us there were more than 1,000 vegetarians in Fairfield, roughly 10% of the population. And judging by the stores and restaurants we visited – we believe it. This is a very unique town to dine in.
It is home to Maharishi University of Management and Food Chain Global Advisors (founding member and technical administrator of the Non GMO Project).
Maharishi University teaches things like transcendental meditation and how to make organic vegetarian meals. Celebrities like Jim Carrey and Oprah have made popular visits to Fairfield.
Here are some pictures of Maharishi University …