a different kind of coffee break with Gerry and Ray Coffey
Disease-Free Living Through Fitness and Nutrition
Genetically Engineered Foods
Arrested, Fingerprinted and Booked!
Monday, May 14, 2012
This was hardly the scenario Jean Tune, a diminutive widow just shy of her eightieth birthday, had imagined during the short drive from her country home into the city of Decatur, Alabama.
The October morning had dawned crisp and clear, a day destined to be spent outdoors,—exactly where Jean and her “partner in crime,” Gerry Coffey, had intended to spend it— in the parking lot of a major supermarket, passing out fliers designed to alert an unsuspecting populace to the insidious introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into our food chain.
They explained to anyone who would listen how animal genes, from fish to human, and even an occasional virus or two, were being spliced into the genetic makeup of American fruits and vegetables. To make matters worse, “FrankenFoods” were being sold side by side, unidentified, with their natural counterparts.
Being “Clean and Green” long before it was fashionable and living in “The Heart of Dixie,” had coalesced in these women to produce individuals thoroughly accustomed to the multiple roles of walking encyclopedia, mother and activist.
The supermarket in question operated from a sparkling new facility that featured the area’s most extensive line of organic products and produce. Previously unaware that almost 60% of his ‘regular’ groceries were genetically engineered, the store’s General Manager cautiously approved the objective. Letters of Intent were duly mailed to regional and corporate headquarters. Everyone at the local level believed the groundwork necessary to ensure a peaceful, productive endeavor had been laid.
Ahh, “The best laid plans…” One corporation, two righteously indignant women, three arduous hours, and four squad cars later, each woman could officially add being arrested as a “public nuisance” to her curriculum vitae.
Jean was hardly demoralized. Merely being in the presence of empty soda cans prompted her to ask the desk Sergeant if the Police Department practiced recycling. When informed it did not, she suggested the Sergeant initiate a program. He rudely replied he had neither the interest nor the energy. Jean was equally blunt, declaring his response had exposed a decided deficit in the degree of patriotism necessary to justifly inhabiting the uniform he wore.
Later labeled by her cohort over this exchange as, “ever the environmentalist,” Jean’s statement left no doubt in anyone’s mind that living in a manner congruent with her beliefs was vital; finagling a Get Out of Jail Free card was not.
To know Jean Tune is to witness a belief system embodied. Inequality between the sexes was addressed by decades of service through The League of Women Voters.
When the children’s library failed to provide her youngsters with an adequate variety of developmental resources, Jean launched a campaign to increase its supply.
Not content with limiting the availability of literature to those with ready access to public and school libraries, she worked tirelessly until an enormous bus was gutted and transformed into a marvelous library on wheels that literally transported a world of words and endless adventures to isolated rural communities and family farms, exposing children and parents alike to possibilities far beyond their daily realities of cornbread and cotton.
Jean raised her own children to believe that anything less than an open mind was an unpardonable waste of cognitive ability. During the volatile decades of the Sixties, Seventies, and following, they often accompanied her to lectures and symposiums featuring visionaries, futurists and iconoclasts.
Several of the individuals her children heard decades ago now teach at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Jean was never hesitant to live her belief that each of us owes a debt to civilization simply because we exist within it; a belief that extends to our existence on the planet. As we care for Mother Earth, so will Mother Earth will care for us.
Jean always honored the obvious connection between nutrition and health, and was passionate about making organics available to everyone, regardless of income.
She once mortgaged all of her property in order to enlist the personnel necessary to establish a Community Assisted Agricultural Program.
One of her daughters, Annie, shares her mother’s belief in the inter-connectedness of all life and her passion for organics. Through sheer determination and years of hard work, Annie finally brought a combination farm and wildlife refuge into balance.
She shared her vision in this statement, “I want my land to be a really beautiful relationship between human use and nature use. It’s amazing how allowing nature to be has transformed the land.” In 2003, her dream became the first certified organic farm in Alabama.
Five days ago, Jean Morrow Tune celebrated her eighty-ninth birthday. Today, her five children honor a sixty-fifth Mother’s Day, but “Vitamin M,” is most effective when it transcends the boundaries of blood. The numbers of lives touched by “Mama Tune” remain incalculable and the days of her influence, eternal.
Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done, indeed!
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