At 11 years old, Rachel began researching for a school project and became alarmed by what she learned about GMOs. This gave her the spark to become an activist fighting for our right to know what’s in our food by making GMO labeling a law in Canada. That spark evolved into what’s now known as Kids Right to Know, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating youth about food safety and to make environmentally healthier choices, challenging them to claim their right to know what’s in their food.
For many years, Rachel Parent has positioned herself as a strong advocate for responsible ethical food production and consumption for the reversal of climate change, accepting a position as the Youth director of Regeneration International, Rachel is also the director of Gen-Earth.Org an event production organization dedicated to environmental education through film and activism. All of which educate youth and future generations about environmentally conscious products production, consumerism and safe food.
Despite a busy Toronto student schedule, she is a Huffington Post Canada blogger, has her own RachelsNews channel, and has been featured in dozens of television, radio, magazine and online interviews. Rachel is a passionate writer and enthusiastic speaker, sharing her optimistic outlook “Biography for the Regeneration of our Planet,” with corporate purpose-driven initiatives seeking positive ethical change.
In her nearly decade-long history of activism, Rachel has participated in countless presentations, speaking in events such as SXSW Austin, Texas, Uplift Festival, Australia, Planet in Focus, Green Living Show, Total Health Show, Sonoma Valley Heirloom Expo, Toronto Veg Fest and Vancouver Veg Expo, WE Day, TEDx Toronto (that resulted in a resounding standing ovation), and many other international event appearances, including a well-publicized debate about GMOs with Kevin O’Leary on CBC Television.
In 2013, CBC’s Kevin O’Leary suggested on one of the episodes of the Lang and O’Leary Exchange that people who stand against GMOs should “stop eating” so we can “get rid of them.” Rachel was outraged, and challenged him to a debate. O’Leary agreed, and the resulting debate was posted on YouTube, raising awareness about GMOs through over 2 million views in less than two months, along with countless national and international media: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIXER_yZUBg.
In 2015, Rachel was given the honour of her inaugural role as moderator in a panel discussion between world-renowned primatologist and activist, Dr. Jane Goodall and celebrated Canadian artist and activist, Robert Bateman.
In 2017, Rachel Parent was featured in a television series about GMO labeling that was aired on Global News National, the result of which awarded Rachel a meeting with the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister of Health—something that Kids Right to Know had been heavily campaigning to make happen for over 12 months. This meeting with Canada’s then Minister of Health marked a huge victory for the organization and an important chapter in the non-GMO movement for Canada.
Rachel’s momentum continued with another visit to Ottawa that winter to meet with 2 top ranked officials from Health Canada. Rachel asked them a long list of questions regarding food safety assessment, GMO labeling, and the GM Arctic Apple—which was in process for government approval.
Directly after that meeting, she went straight to Parliament Hill where she held her second press conference at The National Press Gallery. Here, she reported back to the nation what she learned from Health Canada, sharing the podium with Member of Parliament Murray Rankin, Health Critic of the Official Opposition.
That evening, Rachel was the guest of honour at the Parliamentary Restaurant, meeting with several Members of Parliament from across Canada, including Tom Mulcair, Leader of the Opposition. All were enthusiastic in supporting Rachel’s crusade of making GMO labeling a federal law, a motion in which Murray Rankin has put forward to the House of Commons as M-480.
A few months later, Rachel was invited to join MP. PierreLuc Dusseault, Sherbrooke, QC efforts to introduce a private member’s Bill C-291 to amend the Food and Drugs Act to allow the labelling of GMOs. The Bill was defeated in Parliament, but Rachel Parent promised she would never give up fighting for the right to know.
The Common Denominator: a passion for the environment
As a young environmental activist with an immense love for nature and animals, Rachel has travelled extensively around the world, visiting regions and countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, The Netherlands, France, Kenya, then India attending Gandhi’s Earth Democracy and Globalization teachings education and receive further education at Navdanya’s University dedicated to Organic Agriculture and Seed freedom.
Honoring her long commitment to lead through action, she has been acknowledged as an Emerging Leader by The Clean50 Summit in Toronto, named one of Toronto’s Environmental Heroes by Now Magazine, nominated as Our Women of the Year in ELLE Magazine, recognized as one of the Seven Kids Saving the Planet Right Now by ELuxe Magazine, included in Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Change Makers by Post City Magazine, featured in the Top 30 Thinkers Under 30 by Pacific Standard, included as one of Post City Toronto’s Most Inspiring Women, nominated as a finalist in Canada 150’s Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize. She is also the recipient of the John Filion Award for Community Involvement, the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award, and the Rob Stewart Youth Eco Hero Award.
Throughout this journey, Rachel has been fortunate to meet and at times collaborate with world leaders in the food safety and environmental movement, including scientist Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Bruce Lipton, author and filmmaker Jeffery Smith, author and attorney Steven Druker, Dr. David Suzuki, and Dr. Jane Goodall. Collectively, they are raising awareness about the risks of GMOs impacting everyones lives and the environment, and motivating millions to ask questions and take action.
As Rachel approaches her tenth year of environmental activism, Canada still does not require GMO labeling, yet her passion for speaking out about the cause, and striving to avoid consuming foods that contain GMO ingredients by eating Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified foods whenever she can has not dimmed. She continues to research, educate and motivate others in schools and public events around the world in the name of transparency and choice. In her spare time, Rachel tends an organic garden at home, and oversees a youth project for the protection of the Monarch butterfly.
Rachel Parent often sums up her life philosophy with a quote from the pioneering organic farmer Rupert Stephens: “Always leave the Earth better than you found it.”