Rachel Parent

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Rachel Parent
Born (1999-11-28) November 28, 1999 (age 19)
OccupationStudent, activist
Founder of Kids Right To Know
Years active2010-present[1]

Rachel Parent (born November 28, 1999) is a Toronto-based activist for issues related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods, and especially government regulation in regard to food labeling. She is the founder of the non-profit Kids Right To Know and the associated website.[1][2]


Parent's interest in genetically modified foods began when she was 11 years old.[a] She was required to research material for a school project and chose the subject of GMOs, when she found it troubling that Canada did not require food manufacturers to put labels on genetically modified foods.[4]

The Lang and O'Leary Exchange[edit]

On the May 27, 2013 episode of the CBC television program The Lang and O'Leary Exchange, Kevin O'Leary criticized protestors belonging to the March Against Monsanto movement by saying, "Monsanto should be held up as a hero because they've developed technologies that help underdeveloped countries increase productivity by 5 and 10 times. You're an ignorant and stupid person if you say what Monsanto does is bad for human beings."[5][6][7]

After the program aired, Parent challenged O'Leary to a debate, saying, "I want to respond to Mr. Kevin O'Leary's idiotic statement about 'stupid' people who protest against Monsanto. I challenge you, Mr. O'Leary, to have me on your show next week, and if you promise not to use the word 'stupid,' then I won't use the word fascist."[8]

On July 31, Parent appeared for a ten-minute interview on the Lang and O'Leary Exchange to debate her position that GMO labeling should be mandatory and that GMOs should be independently tested.[8] O'Leary asked Parent if she thought she was a lobbyist for the anti-GMO movement. O'Leary also asked Parent if she was a "shill" for groups adding, "You're young, you're articulate, you're getting lots of media, and I'm happy for you on that. But I'm trying to figure out whether you really deep down believe this."[6][8][9]

Media appearances[edit]

Parent has given many radio, television and magazine interviews. She also gave a number of presentations at the 14th annual Planet In Focus Film Festival[10][11] Green Living Show, Total Health Show,[12] TedX Toronto,[13] Australia UpLift Festival[14] and the Toronto Veg Fest[15] Parent is a participant in the United Nations Youth Leaders Educational Program, and has been a key speaker events including the March Against Monsanto, WE Day, and the Vancouver Women's Health Show.[16][17]

Parent is a contributing author to the Huffington Post.[16] She founded and runs the non-profit Kids Right To Know and associated website.[18][19]

Meetings with government officials[edit]

On November 5, 2014 Parent met with the then Canadian Health Minister, Rona Ambrose, to discuss labeling of GMO food. The 45-minute meeting was the result of Global News asking Ambrose if she would agree to meet with Parent.[20]

On June 30, 2016, Parent met with Canada's current Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, to discuss GMOs and labeling. Dr. Philpott was presented with a list of international organizations supporting GMO labeling that included the Ontario Public Health Association, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, American Nurses Association and the British Medical Association.[2][21]


Parent was named as the Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero in 2018 by Planet in Focus, an environmental film festival based in Toronto.[22] She was also named one of the most inspiring women of 2017 by Post City Magazines.[23] In 2016 the Pacific Standard named Parent as on of the 30 top thinkers under 30.[24] In 2014, Parent was named one of Toronto's Top 20 under-20s by Post City Toronto magazine.[25]


Writing in the Huffington Post in 2017, Jon Entine of the Science Literacy Project, along with physician and science writer David Warmflash, criticized Parent and Kids Right To Know for presenting a "stream of studies" that "come across as alarming", but are "mostly a combination of fringe research in predatory pay-for-play journals, and a familiar collection of discredited, misconstrued and biased studies" which have been rejected by independent science organizations.[3] They also questioned Parent's activism as it relates to her family's ownership of Nutrition House, a Canadian health products retailer.[3]


  1. ^ Although Parent herself in interview stated she was 11 at the time, at least one other sourced reported age 12.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Rachel's Bio". Kids Right To Know. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b Todhunter, Colin (29 July 2016). "Canadians have a right to know if they're eating harmful GMOs". HuffPost. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Entine, Jon (December 6, 2017). "Teen Anti-GMO Crusader Rachel Parent: Idealist Or Pawn Of Father's Supplement Business?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  4. ^ Di Boscio, Chere. "The 'no to GMO' poster girl: Rachel Parent". Eluxe Magazine. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  5. ^ LaRosa, Mark. "14-year-old anti-GMO activist agitates Monsanto shill, Kevin O'Leary". OrganicSlant.com. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b Robson, Kim. "Youth Activist Takes on Monsanto". Green Mom. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  7. ^ Knowles, David. "14-year-old anti-GMO activist Rachel Parent takes on condescending TV host Kevin O'Leary, interview goes viral". NY Daily News. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Kevin O'Leary (host) and Rachel Parent (guest) (1 August 2013). GMO food fight (Television). The Lang and O'Leary Exchange. CBC News Network. Retrieved 15 August 2017. Lybio.net's transcript of the interview.
  9. ^ Milne, Vanessa. "What it feels like to take on Kevin O'Leary". Chatelaine. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  10. ^ D'Amico, Mark. "Planet in Focus Film Festival Launches with Press Conference". WeRAddicted.
  11. ^ "Rachel's Biography". Kids Right to Know. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Total Health Show Speakers". Total Health Show. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  13. ^ "TEDxToronto 2014 Talk: Rachel Parent: Why You Have the Right to Know What's in Your Food". TedX Toronto. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Rachel's Bio - Past Events 2013". Kids Right to Know. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  15. ^ "How Food Can Heal the Planet with Rachel Parent". VegFoodFest - Speakers.
  16. ^ a b "Rachel Parent". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  17. ^ Green, Melanie (April 29, 2018). "Growing appetite to see food security as a women's issue". Toronto Star. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Agrichemical Industry 'Attack Dog' Hired to Discredit Teenage Anti-GMO Activist". EcoWatch. December 24, 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  19. ^ Vuchnich, Allison (December 21, 2015). "Documents reveal Canadian teenager target of GMO lobby". Global News. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  20. ^ Press coverage:
  21. ^ Todhunter, Colin. "GMWatch". Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  22. ^ Mullen, Pat (May 25, 2018). "Rachel Parent to Receive 2018 Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero from Planet in Focus". POV Magazine. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  23. ^ Vasil, Adria (December 6, 2017). "T.O.'s most inspiring women of 2017: Rachel Parent". Post City Magazines. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  24. ^ Savka, Natalya (March 27, 2016). "The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: Rachel Parent". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  25. ^ "Toronto's Top 20 under 20". PostCity.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]