For Barry Kaplan, co-owner of Clarks Summit's Everything Natural, "frankenfoods" aren't something out of a science fiction movie.
"We have no idea what is going to happen to the environment or our bodies taking in totally foreign substances like this, this is beyond artificial chemicals, this is bizarre science," he said. "Right now, we aren't given the choice to have GMOs or not in our food. Here in the USA, 'the land of the free,' it is being pushed down our throats."
GMOs are foods that are derived from genetically modified organisms whose DNA has been altered by various genetic engineering techniques.
As a part of the store's annual Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 20, Everything Natural will host "Your Right to Know," a GMO education center, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Store co-owner Michelle Cooper and Don Knoll, director of the Center for Creative Cooperation, will host the center and answer customers' questions about GMO foods.
"Anybody who eats corn, soy, canola oil or sugar is eating one of the four most genetically-modified crops," Kaplan said. "Those four crops are the most pervasive foods we eat; 80-90 percent of it is in our food supply, including our animal feed. Most of the world won't accept our crops because of this; we can't sell to our biggest trading partners a whole bunch of crops because of GMOs."
Besides "Your Right to Know," Everything Natural will also offer samplings of "green" foods, such as pasta spinach salad, green drinks and pistachio muffins, so that visitors to the store will get the chance to taste non-GMO food products.
"We're going to show people that this stuff is fabulous tasting, it is healthy, it is safe and it is ecologically responsible," Kaplan said.
Everything Natural will also offer a showing of the film "Fresh: New Thinking About What We're Eating" at 1 p.m. and will be a cell phone recycling drop-off point during Clarks Summit Borough's Earth Day celebration, also happening on Saturday.
"I am so excited that Clarks Summit has adopted Earth Day as a major event," Kaplan said. "This is the best thing that could happen because we have a whole town that is saying, 'Recycle, reuse, renew, be sustainable and do more!' I am totally thrilled because it makes people think about it more every day and make it a part of how they live. It is the best thing that could possibly happen for this town."