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Posted: October 17th, 2012 | Filed under: Press | Tags: Ban Ki-moon, Bayer CropScience, biotechnology, Cargill, Daniel Hillel, Des Moines, Des Moines Public Library, Dupont, Foreign Service, Frank Cordaro, Green Revolution, Iowa, Jane Slusark, Kenneth Quinn, Monsanto, Norman Borlaug, Paul Minehart, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Syngenta |
Photo taken in St. Louis 9/17/2012
World Food Prize Activities Incites Occupy Protest In Iowa
By DAVID PITT 10/17/12 07:19 PM
DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s difficult to argue with the goals of the World Food Prize Foundation – to recognize people who have helped improve the quality and availability of food to reduce world hunger.
But as the Des Moines-based foundation prepares for its 2012 award ceremony, which will be attended by dignitaries including Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, dozens of protesters hope to disrupt the activities.
Members of Occupy Des Moines plan civil disobedience efforts and expect to be arrested as they obstruct participants at the World Food Prize headquarters on Wednesday and at the Iowa Capitol on Thursday before the $250,000 prize is awarded to this year’s recipient.
Organizer Frank Cordaro said he expected about 30 people to turn out Wednesday, with 10 willing to be arrested. By Wednesday afternoon, police arrested five activists on trespassing charges after they tried to enter a private event.
The group opposes what it sees as a focus on corporate agriculture motivated more by profit than food safety or protection of natural resources.
“The prize is corporate agriculture’s way of branding themselves in the minds of the American people as the good guys, the people who are feeding the hungry and the best last chance the human race has to meet our basic needs,” said Cordaro, 61, a former Roman Catholic priest who’s been jailed numerous times for acts of civil disobedience to social issues. “The truth is the prize is owned and scripted for corporate agriculture and large corporate entities who want to make a profit first and don’t really care about the planet.”
The protesters say the foundation also supports organizations that promote and sell crops that include genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs. While many scientists say genetic modification has been useful in developing crops resistant to pests, drought and disease, opponents worry it could result in harm to the environment or people.
World Food Prize Foundation President Kenneth Quinn, a retired career diplomat and Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Government, said he’s dealt with a variety of protests in his career, but he’s puzzled that people would object to an organization founded by a man who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight hunger. Norman Borlaug was honored in 1970 for work that boosted agricultural production in what has become known as the “Green Revolution.”
“I’m greatly disappointed that people would feel that his organization and his prize that he created, his goal of ending hunger in the world would somehow be worthy of disruption and civil disobedience,” Quinn said.
The prize created in 1986 has grown in stature in recent years, with hundreds of scholars and agribusiness leaders gathering for several days in Des Moines for speeches and seminars. Last year, the private, nonprofit foundation moved to the former Des Moines Public Library after a $30 million renovation paid in part with donations from companies including DuPont and Cargill.
Speakers from Monsanto Co., Bayer CropScience, and Syngenta have been invited to participate in events this week.
DuPont Pioneer spokeswoman Jane Slusark said the company respects protesters’ right to voice their opinions, but to fight hunger, “it’s going to take all of us working together, even if we do not always agree.”
Spokesmen for Monsanto and Syngenta also defended their companies’ efforts to develop technologies that boost crop production. Syngenta spokesman Paul Minehart said scientists have turned to genetic modification and other biotechnologies to boost food production as the world’s population increases.
“We don’t have more land and we don’t have more water that can be used efficiently and effectively for agriculture, so how are you going to be able to feed this growing population with limited resources?” Minehart asked. “We’re trying to make sure we are providing farmers what they need to be able to get the most yield and have the most productive crops that they can.”
Noting that “Dr. Borlaug believed in science,” Quinn said a panel discussion on biotechnology was planned this week because food production may depend on it as climate change brings more cycles of drought and flooding.
Ironically, while the protesters and some panels will focus on biotechnology and other facets of agribusiness, the winner of this year’s prize is being celebrated for low-tech work.
Israeli scientist Daniel Hillel, 81, helped develop drip irrigation methods that conserve water while allowing food to be grown in some of the world’s driest climates. The system Hillel developed, called micro-irrigation, carries water through narrow plastic pipes to plants, where it trickles continuously onto the roots. Over decades, it has dramatically improved farm production and helped thousands of Jewish and Muslim farmers.
Like some of those protesting the prize, Hillel has been concerned with preserving natural resources.
“We need to learn how to manage land so that it will not degrade and do it efficiently. At the same time, we must maintain natural ecosystems without encroaching upon them without excessive deforestation and destruction of biodiversity,” he told The Associated Press in a June interview when he was announced as this year’s winner.
Source: Huffington Post
Posted: October 17th, 2012 | Filed under: Incident Reports, Photos | Tags: Capitol Hill, Congress, Corn Chimp, DC, Demonstration, FDA, Field Agents, GCU, GMO Labeling, Michael Taylor, Occupy the GMO Candidate, Police, Protest, Republican Party, USDA, Washington |
This morning Field Agents from the Occupy Monsanto Genetic Crimes Unit staged a demonstration outside of the Republican Party’s headquarters in Washington, DC.
As a part of the Occupy the GMO Candidate
national day of action, Field Agents setup outside of the Capitol South Metro Station and greeted Capitol Hill staffers & Republican Party operatives as they arrived for work.
Many people gave thumbs up in approval and quite a few people laughed at the Corn Chimp’s street theater.
Field Agents held up signs & banners, mic-checked Romney for his ties to Monsanto
, and asked staffers why Romney chooses to only eat organic food.
Throughout the demonstration there was an undercover police officer sitting in an unmarked car across the street monitoring the demonstration. At around 9:30AM when Field Agents concluded the demonstration and began to take off their costumes, the officer came up to the group and thanked us for our spirited activism. What he said next was rather shocking: he said he used for work for the USDA in the 1990s and that employees worked tirelessly to prevent GMOs from going into the American food supply.
Later today Field Agents will be heading to Democratic Party headquarters
to ask why Obama has failed to fulfill his campaign promise to label GMO foods & why he appointed Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor
to the second highest position at the FDA.
More photos & videos to be added soon!
Posted: October 16th, 2012 | Filed under: Press Releases | Tags: Barack Obama, DC, Democratic Party, Demonstration, District of Columbia, GCU, Genetic Crimes Unit, GMO Candidate, John W. Hanley, Michael Taylor, Mitt Romney, Political Party, press release, Protest, Republican Party, RoundUp, Washington |
Genetic Crimes Unit Agents Target Romney & Obama Campaign Offices on October 17
Food Activists Demand Candidates Take Position In Favor of GMO Food Labeling Prior to Receiving Support
WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, Occupy Monsanto’s field agents with the Genetic Crimes Unit (GCU), a group whose aim is to expose Monsanto’s crimes against farmers, the environment, and human health, will visit both the Republican and Democratic party headquarters in Washington DC. The GCU opposes genetically engineered food (GMOs) and seeks to expose Monsanto’s ties to both parties who have, for too long, protected agribusiness interests over that of the 99% of Americans who want healthy and safe food.
WHO: Occupy Monsanto Agents with the Genetic Crimes Unit
WHAT: Demonstration at Republican and Democratic Party Headquarters
WHEN & WHERE: 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM at Republican Party Headquarters, 310 1st Street SE and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Democratic Party Headquarters, 430 S Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC
The protests at the two major party headquarters is the 70th Occupy Monsanto demonstration this year. Biohazmat-clad “Agents” have repeatedly addressed Obama’s ties to the GMO debate, pointing out that in his 2007 election bid he promised to have genetically engineered food labeled after being elected.
"We demand that Romney and Obama come clean on their ties to Monsanto and fight for the health of Americans over chemical company profits," said Adam Eidinger. "The fact that FDA Food Safety Czar Michael Taylor, former lobbyist and lawyer for Monsanto, was appointed by Barack Obama to make decisions on food safety is a disgrace," adds Eidinger.
"Mitt Romney has been instrumental to Monsanto’s success, and we have no indication that he will change his ways if elected." Rica Madrid said. Romney’s early consulting for Monsanto was effective in shifting Monsanto’s strategy from a focus on reputation-tarnishing chemical compounds to genetically engineered food and the profitable RoundUp weed killer. Romney was so effective that then-Monsanto CEO John W. Hanley helped him create Bain Capital.
http://Occupy-Monsanto.com is part of a decentralized movement of food democracy advocates who are taking up the call for demonstrations against Monsanto Company around the world.
Posted: October 15th, 2012 | Filed under: Incident Reports | Tags: Activism, GMO Labeling, Non-GMO Project, Prop 37., Proposition 37, Protest, WFM, Whole Foods Market, World Food Day |
On Tuesday, October 16, food activists around the world will be celebrating World Food Day in a various ways. One of which, will be going to Whole Foods Market and demand the stores stop selling unlabeled GMO foods.
Below is the transcribed text of the memo to Whole Foods Market employees on how to handle World Food Day activism:
WORLD FOOD DAY – OCTOBER 16 – ALL WFM STORES
WHAT: On Oct. 16, anti-GMO activists across the country are planning to stage demonstrations at many stores throughout the country. The demonstration will involve people coming to stores to return products that are “non-labeled GMO items.” Some may buy products – or even try to steal them – and then seek to return them immediately. This could cause a lot of congestion in stores and be really distracting all day, depending on the number of people participating, and how many products they try to return.
The overall purpose of World Food Day is to highlight hunger around the world. From their website: “On October 16 – World Food Day, join the global movement to end hunger. Be a part of the solution and take action in your community and around the world. We can end hunger. It will take all of us.” Refer to this site (you may need to refresh it for the latest info) to find out what Word Food Day events are going on in your area:
WHY: California has a ballot initiative coming up for a vote on Nov. 6 that would require labeling of food products that many contain GMOs – Proposition 37. Even though we have announced our support for Prop 37, many groups have targeted Whole Foods Market because we are seen as not truly supportive and/or secretly against labeling GMOs because:
We are not giving financial donations to help the ballot initiative pass
An ongoing negative online media campaign has accused WFM of lying to customers about GMOs in our stores
STRATEGY: This is an opportunity to demonstrate our true support for GMO labeling, and to educate shoppers about GMOs in general and our efforts over the years to provide Non-GMO product choices.
If your store has some Team Members who are knowledgeable about the GMO issue, you could set up a prominently displayed “GMO Info Kiosk” where TMs answer questions, provide information about GMOs and Non-GMO options available in the sore.
Schedule tastings of Non-GMO Project Verified 365 Private Label products, and use that opportunity to discuss how we source non-GMO ingredients for that product line.
Remind shoppers of the upcoming weekend sale of Non-GMO Products Oct. 19-21!
Global may have some new/additional messaging, stay tuned.
Click here to read more details about World Food Day activism