Activists unite to March Against Monsanto; local grocers, farmers reluctant to comment

WASHINGTON CITY – Protesters are joining a nationwide initiative Saturday, marching at their local federal buildings and city halls in protest against Monsanto. Locally, the march is planned for noon at the Washington City Hall.

Their cause: to protect the food supply, support local farmers, spread awareness about the effects of genetically modified foods, promote organic solutions, expose the cronyism between big business and the government, and to bring accountability to those responsible for what they consider to be corruption.

March Against Monsanto St. George, UT
March Against Monsanto Logo

Monsanto Company is a publicly traded American multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in Creve Coeur, M0. It is a leading producer of genetically engineered or GE seed and of the herbicide glyphosate, which it markets under the Roundup brand.

Monsanto has come under increasing scrutiny as of late from consumer safety and food advocacy groups, particularly as controversy raged in March over the “Monsanto Protection Act,” a bit of policy so-named by media that was inserted into a spending bill initiated through the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 933, that granted the company increased protection from legal challenges. The provision was signed into law in late March by President Barack Obama.

An amendment introduced by Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, was inserted into the 2013 Farm Bill (a statute that would regulate farm production and prices), and passed by the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee recently. Some Food Advocates believe it is a veiled attempt to revoke the ability of individual states’ lawmakers to pass GMO-labeling laws, that is, identifying genetically modified organisms.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes, but the agency has resisted labels for genetically modified foods. In a 1992 policy statement, the FDA allowed GE foods to be marketed without labeling, claiming that these foods were not “materially” different from other foods because the genetic differences could not be recognized by taste, smell or other senses.

Some, such as U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., argued in a press release from Boxer’s desk that the FDA’s antiquated labeling policy has not kept pace with 21st century food technologies that allow for a wide array of genetic and molecular changes to food that can’t be detected by human senses. Common sense would indicate that GE corn that produces its own insecticide – or is engineered to survive being doused by herbicides – is materially different from traditional corn that does not. Even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recognized that these foods are materially different and novel for patent purposes.

Supporters of GMO labeling point to studies showing potential risks ranging from kidney and liver damage to reproductive system issues among others while many disagree that GE foods have a negative impact on humans.

These concerns are in large part driving citizens around the world to protest the company on Saturday.

Locally

Despite sympathy with the those marching against Monsanto, the reality is that farmers need Monsanto’s seeds.

Local farmers and stores deferred comment on the march, some because of fear of backlash and scrutiny. However, many stores sell organic products and it is their mission and vision to meet the needs of their consumers and provide healthy products.

One such example is Natural Grocers of Washington city which chooses to sell only foods and supplements with natural and organic ingredients without added artificial chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and preservatives.

Identifying genetically engineered foods

It has become increasingly difficult, however, to identify if products sold locally are in fact genetically engineered. Often the best way to identify your meat products, such as beef, is to search for grass-fed labels (the opposite being corn-fed) and search distributors leaving the legwork up to the individual which is why many are seeking GMO labeling.

It is difficult to foresee what impacts the march will have on local and national grocers if successful, and if forced to label items as genetically modified, it may impact the consumer and the distributor from the local farmers and grocers on up to Corporate Monsanto.

Aim of Occupy Monsanto

The Occupy Monsanto movement wants to create awareness, dialogue, and eventually change. Some solutions the movement offers:

  • Voting with your dollar by buying organic and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies that use GMOs in their products.
  • Labeling of GMOs so that consumers can make those informed decisions easier.
  • Repealing relevant provisions of the US’s “Monsanto Protection Act.”
  • Calling for further scientific research on the health effects of GMOs.
  • Holding Monsanto executives and Monsanto-supporting politicians accountable through direct communication, grassroots journalism, social media, etc.
  • Continuing to inform the public about Monsanto’s secrets.
  • Taking to the streets to show the world and Monsanto that we won’t take these injustices quietly.

Event recap

What: March against Monsanto St. George

When: Saturday, May 25, noon

Where: Washington City Hall, 111 North 100 East, Washington

Facebook: March against Monstanto St. George

Contact: Alyssa Reece, Email: alyssadreece@gmail.com /

Learn more here: http://occupy-monsanto.com/

Tweet: #MarchAgainstMonsanto

Or comment below.

Related posts

Perspectives: Sowing the seeds of rebellion

 

Email: sisaacson@stgnews.com

Twitter: @sarahisaacson1

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • Sports Fan May 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Im so glad most of us have a “life”, but in case you don’t….you may want to join these whack jobs? I mean, really?? You’re gonna “take to the streets” in a Monsanto march??? That is hilarious! Why don’t you go look for lizards out on the AZ strip instead? Just tryin to help you out a little!

    • Nature babe May 23, 2013 at 6:10 am

      “Sports fan” you are exactly what’s wrong with Americans. Your lack of concern is sickening and you reek of ignorance. Keep eating your GMO crap and the rest of us whack.jobs will eat actual food. Douche-bag.

  • Matthew Sevald May 23, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Sports Fan, I am curious as to whether or not you’d be singing a different tune if this were a march to protect your guns or religion? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of both of those things as well and a constitutional conservative, but your act of mocking a peacful protest is itself is, I won’t say fundamentally “unamerican” but I will say fundamentally knee-jerk, juvenile, and ill-informed.
    .
    Our nation was born of civil disobedience which eventually turned to outright, armed rebellion. This is simply a case of concerned citizens peaceably gathering to show their disdain for governmental and private practices which harm small farmers and vendors as well as those who consume the products.
    .
    I encourage you to take the time to research Monsanto, its corporate lobbying, its bullying/monopolistic practices, the laws protecting it, and the bad science behind GMO (genetically modified organism) food. It will certainly take some work and can appear a herculean effort when you first get started. Be careful to avoid the conspiracy nut articles. I assure you, however, that if you do the homework, you will find some truly disturbing things. Meanwhile, we the informed who care to make this a priority in our lives, will do our thing to represent better business practices, smaller government, and safer food.

  • Dsproles43 May 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Sports fan.. She is right you are exactly what is wrong. The funny thing is in the end you are only hurting yourself. Go a head and eat all the gmos and we will see who out lives who. if you are not aware on the subject ( which its ovbious you are not) you have no right to say anything you are only making your self look foolish and rotten. If you knew anything about this you would see how much it impacts you and your loved ones. But go ahead a poke fun at people who care about what they put in side their bodies and maybe one day when you or a parent or a child have cancer you might think back and wonder if you could have prevented it. You have a wonderful day 🙂

  • Chris Bell May 25, 2013 at 1:22 am

    All we are asking for is the right to choose. It is wrong to not label these products as what they are? Why are they against the labeling? Aren’t we a great capitalist nation? Let the consumer decide. Label it. Those that don’t mind it or care will go ahead and buy it. Good for them. Those that would not like to have it, can make an informed choice about it. That is the way it must be. That is not the way it currently is and that is why we are peacefully protesting. We are Americans and we deserve the freedom to choose. You may have the freedom to sell it, but I get to choose if I want to buy it or not. Without labeling, that choice is practically taken away. Are we going to stand for our rights to be taken away? Are you an American? Do you think that a true American patriot would go along with that? Not this American. Not many many many Americans. God bless Americans and America!

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