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Non-Hierarchical Occupation of Monsanto Everywhere

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INCIDENT REPORT: Photos from the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts

Posted: September 30th, 2012 | Filed under: Incident Reports, Photos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

So here’s a little bit about yesterday’s action at the Big E’s Monsanto exhibit. What a wonderful day I shared with Nancy, Catherine and Trish. We roamed the fair, a pack of 4 committed women, looking forward to getting into the exhibit and raising a bit of a bother with questions and conversation. We wanted to wait until there were other people in line for the “tour” otherwise we’d be talking to ourselves and that we can do anytime!

While waiting for a good time to see the exhibit, we walked around the fair and got to know each other. Trish and Catherine came from up north and a bit of conversation sealed the deal on identifying with each other as sister activists for the cause.

In an effort to engage fair goers in conversation that might result in community outreach/education, I wore my chicken hat decorated with seed packets from Comstock Ferre, a wonderful company in the business of selling pure, heirloom seeds and promoting responsible food cultivation. They happily gave me the seed packets and I urge everyone to visit them in Wethersfield, CT. On my shirt was a sign that said…

Ask me…
What is more ridiculous than my hat?

Many people did ask and my response was…

Monsanto seeds in my food supply.

I also took the opportunity to talk with people who looked at my hat and laughed, gawked or otherwise registered any recognition by approaching them and asking if I could explain my hat. No one said no!

Our understanding was that it would be illegal to hand out fliers or any written material so I had Occucards re: Monsanto in an open net pocket of my back pack, encouraging people to take one – prepared to fight eviction on a technicality but it never became a problem.

The Monsanto exhibit is a small trailer with lots of fancy computer signs and displays as well as a short movie designed to make us fall in love with farmers who are feeding us this shit. As the four of us gathered waiting for a crowd before going in, I first noticed one cop, then two and then three also gathering in front. We watched each other watch each other although, not wearing my hat by this time, my cohorts and I wondered what about us tipped the cops off to our upcoming plans. Maybe we’ve simply developed an aura of protest. Going into the exhibit, we were followed by one of the cops who positioned himself at all times in the back of the crowd, presumably ready to escort out anyone who created a disturbance. It was for this reason that after asking our guide to please explain more to us about the injection of Round Up Ready bacteria into seeds, that I turned to the crowd and suggested they go home and investigate everything they could get their hands on about Monsanto and GMOs because the company is poisoning our food supply but DO NOT WANT US TO KNOW. I must admit that my reason for doing that was the idea that I might get kicked out and had to share that message quickly just in case! It felt rather like a mic check that isn’t usually quite my style. The young woman explained she didn’t have specific information about that but would be happy to answer questions after the tour. How the hell was she going to answer questions after the tour that she couldn’t answer during the tour?

What followed were more questions raised by my companions and more non-answers from the guide. When the tour was over, Trish and Catherine continued to talk with her. So did Mr. Policeman, who walked off with her for a brief moment for what we assumed was a debriefing and advice on how to handle dangerous agitators if they were to show up again! Nancy and I connected with a woman who was there with her teenage son. She had lots of questions and was so glad for the information we had to share. Nancy had the great idea of handing out small slips of paper with on-line sites people could access for information and may have “inadvertently” left them here and there at some of the booths we visited earlier in the day as well as with this woman.

All in all, we talked with a lot of people and left lots of information. The main disappointment was that there weren’t enough of us there to go into the exhibit throughout the day to keep the action going. Maybe next time! I believe we have the energy, creativity and dedication to really tackle this horror.

My parting comment to the tour guide was “Please understand that I meant no disrespect to you personally when I interrupted you but this is very important information that people must hear. In the future, it would be beneficial if the people giving the tours had the information needed to answer questions”. This is longer than I intended and Trish, Catherine and Nancy may very well remember things I’ve left out. Look for their posts! If you’ve made it this far in my story, thanks for reading!!! In solidarity….