Corn, canola, cotton, soybeans, sugar beets, papaya, alfalfa. If you’re a natural products shopper, you probably know what these plants represent: the top genetically modified crops grown in the United States. But just a few years ago, GMOs were  a mere blip on the radar. Many people didn’t fully understand what they were, nor did they know how to identify foods that may contain GMOs.

These days, however, the non-GMO revolution has caught fire. Mainstream media coverage of GMO-labeling ballot measures that attempted to pass in states like Washington and California bolster the movement, as do educational films, including the recent documentary GMO OMG, and burgeoning research suggesting that GMOs increase pesticide use. And perhaps you caught the celebrity-studded Right to Know video during the heated debate over California’s Proposition 37—a measure that lost in the November 2012 election. (Corporate interests from biotechnology and conventional food outspent organic advocates,
$46 million to $9 million, to defeat it.)

But who’s truly on the front lines of this growing awareness? You guessed it: Natural foods and products stores. Around the country, retailers are developing a variety of initiatives, from simple product tweaks to major political initiatives. “I think we are seeing a tipping point, for sure,” says Corinne Shindelar, CEO of the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA). “The natural industry is rallying around the issue in a way they haven’t since they worked on getting an organic certification. It’s exciting.”

The following examples show how forward-thinking natural retailers—even small-scale stores—demonstrably influence the non-GMO movement.