CHAMPAIGN — Food & Water Watch, a national non-profit organization focusing on food and water issues, will hold a public forum in downtown Champaign Thursday on local food systems and genetically engineered foods.
It will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside Big Grove Tavern at 1 Main St., C, with three speakers starting at 12:30 p.m.
Food and Water Watch Champaign-Urbana Field Organizer Hanna Saltzman said the group wants to raise public awareness about genetically engineered foods, and is urging legislation requiring labeling that identifies genetically identified foods for consumers.
Genetically modified foods, which include corn and soybeans, have had genes from other plants or animals inserted into their genetic codes to give them different traits.
"Consumers need to know what they are eating," Saltzman said.
Speakers will include Ann Reisner, a professor of agricultural communications at the University of Illinois, David Bane, a veterinarian and owner of Bane Family Farms, and David Monk, a prairie restoration expert.
There will also be a six-by-four foot board shaped like Illinois layered with community member drawings and letters about local food systems and genetically engineered food labeling. Others are invited to add to it at the event.
Saltzman said those letters and cards will be photocopied and sent to local legislators.
"We want to give people a chance to learn more and give them a chance to have their voices heard," she said.