This is a Call to Action for a Non-Hierarchical Occupation of Monsanto Everywhere
Whether you like it or not, chances are Monsanto contaminated the food you ate today with chemicals and unlabeled GMOs. Monsanto controls much of the world's food supply at the expense of food democracy worldwide. This site is dedicated to empowering citizens of the world to take action against Monsanto & it's enablers like the FDA, USDA, EPA, GMA, BIO, and the processed food companies that use Monsanto's products.
Activists to Prepare & Share “Stone Soup” to Protest
FDA’s Antiquated Policies on Genetically Engineered (GMO) Foods
COLLEGE PARK, MD – Alarmed by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) outdated and pro-biotechnology industry policies concerning the labeling & safety of GMO foods sold in America, safe food activists will hold the largest protest to date at the FDA to demand immediate policy changes. On Monday, April 8, concerned citizens traveling as far away as the Midwest will descend on the FDA for a day-long “Eat-In” outside the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition located at 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740. Organic farmers and backyard gardeners will bring organically-grown vegetables from their region that will be combined in a huge cooking pot to make a special, GMO-free “Stone Soup” that will be eaten in protest as a picnic-style event outside of the FDA.
WHAT: “Eat-In” at the FDA for GMO Food Labeling and Food Democracy.
WHERE: Sidewalk outside of the Food And Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway College Park, MD 20740 – Directly across the street from the College Park Metro Station (Green Line).
WHEN: All day, Monday, April 8 from 8am until 6pm – From 8am until Noon Safe Food Activists will prepare the Stone Soup and at 1pm the Stone Soup will be served to everyone with a bowl. After lunch, there will be a seed exchange and workshops on various topics.
Last week Safe Food Activists formally invited FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and the staff at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to speak at 1pm while the Stone Soup is being served. In the letter, they requested the FDA explain why they’ve refused to change the official policy toward labeling of GMO foods and to explain why the transgenic Aquabounty Salmon does not merit a GMO label.
“The FDA has a terrible track record when it comes to genetically engineered food,” said Patty Lovera, assistant director at the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. “They have allowed GE ingredients to spread through our food supply without labels and they may soon make it worse by approving GE salmon, the first genetically engineered food animal. If FDA wants to actually fulfill it’s mission to protect the public, it needs to reject GE salmon.”
“The awareness is growing in the US, from the grassroots up, of people from all walks of life and from moms to students to CEOs, that are demanding their right to transparency in the labeling of genetically engineered foods. It is time that the FDA fulfill its role of protecting citizens by granting us our right to know what we’re eating,” said Lisa Stokke, co-founder of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots advocacy organization based in Iowa. “The folks gathering near the FDA building, and in over 20 states where legislation for labeling is being considered, are a testament to the strength and resolve of the food movement.”
While Occupy Monsanto originally called for the demonstration, there have been numerous groups that have pledged their support for the picnic protest, including Food Democracy Now!, Food & Water Watch, Organic Consumers Association, GMO Inside, and the Right to Know GMO, a grassroots Coalition of States for GMO Labeling. There will be buses and vans from across the United States making their way to the FDA with the common goal of getting GMO foods labeled like they are in most industrialized nations.
“There have been ‘Be-Ins’ and ‘Sit-Ins’ but there has never been an ‘Eat-In’ in the history of the FDA,” says Adam Eidinger, spokesman for Occupy-Monsanto.com. “Its shameful the White House has nothing to say about the multiple ‘We The People’ petitions on GMO labeling that have gone unanswered for over a year,” adds Eidinger.
“The fable of ‘Stone Soup’ has been rewritten many times throughout history and will be rewritten once again on April 8,” says Tom Llewellyn, a lead organizer with the REAL Cooperative in Asheville, NC. “One version of the ‘Stone Soup’ tale is about a hungry soldier who, when passing through an impoverished village, announced that he would make ‘Stone Soup’ for everyone in town. The promise of this mysterious ‘Stone Soup’ persuaded people in the small village to pool their resources and offer up their hidden onions, carrots, lettuce, and spices to feed everyone. With all food activists and citizens working together, a greater good can be achieved by forcing changes in the way huge food corporations source ingredients and the way our government regulates food safety,” says Llewellyn.
Nearly 93% of all soybeans grown in America contain man-made, patented genes owned by a very small number of agrochemical companies that the FDA passively oversees. Instead of conducting rigorous independent analyses of patented GMO crops that make up Americas food supply, the FDA has relied on short-term industry studies that were written for profit, not food safety. In a January 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal, Monsanto’s CEO Hugh Grant stated the corporation was open to the FDA allowing GMO labeling, but only if it was done scientifically. “What is more scientific than a patent listing,” asks Emma Hutchens of the REAL Cooperative. “The FDA says that GMOs are not materially different than their non-GMO counterpart, but if the plants are patented there must be a material difference, otherwise there would be no need for a patent. They can’t have it both ways.”
In 2011 and 2012 over a million Americans signed the “Just Label It” FDA petition for GMO labeling, but the FDA has responded with silence. “The Food and Drug Administration is not listening to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want honest food labels,” says Emilianne Slaydon, founder of GMO Free DC. “We have signed numerous petitions but we’ve received no response. We only want the same food labels citizens of over 40 countries enjoy, so we are going to enjoy some ‘Stone Soup’ to demand this simple democratic right.”
On January 10, family farmers will travel to Washington DC to participate in the appeal of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Asscociation (OSGATA) vs Monsanto et al, a court case filed to protect farmers from genetic trespass by Monsanto’s GMO seed, which can contaminate organic and non-GMO farmers’ crops and opens them up to abusive lawsuits. In the past two decades, Monsanto’s seed monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has agreed to hear oral arguments in the appeal of this landmark case to decide whether or not this case will move forward. If you’d like to show your support for family farmers and their right to grow food without the threat of fear and intimidation, please RSVP to attend the Citizen’s Assembly.
I pledge to attend and affirm the following principles of Citizen’s Assembly.
If you plan to attend A Citizen’s Assembly of Support for Family Farmers vs. Monsanto, please read and affirm the following principles of assembly.
RSVP – A Citizen’s Assembly of Support for Family Farmers vs. Monsanto – Jan. 10, 2013
We wish to assemble free and peaceful citizens in Lafayette Square in Washington DC in an effort to present the important message to family farmers that millions of Americans stand behind them as they seek their day in court. In the past two decades, Monsanto’s seed monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets. This has resulted in onerous costs to farmers through high technology patent fees for seeds as well as burdensome litigation costs in defending themselves against lawsuits asserted by Monsanto.
In many cases organic and conventional farmers are forced to stop growing certain crops in order to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits. Between 1997 and April 2010, Monsanto filed 144 lawsuits against American farmers in at least 27 different states, for alleged infringement of its transgenic seed patents and/or breach of its license to those patents, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts. As a result of these aggressive lawsuits, Monsanto has created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.
The lawsuit OSGATA (Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association) et al vs. Monsanto was filed on behalf of 300,000 organic and non-GMO farmers and citizens to seek judicial relief in “protect[ing] themselves from ever being accused of infringing patents on transgenic (GMO) seed”. The judge has requested and agreed to hear oral argument in orders to make a decision of whether or not to allow the farmers’ case to move forward in the courts after Monsanto filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. We are encouraging supporters of farmers’ rights to grow food without fear and intimidation to assemble outside the courtroom in a peaceful manner to support the farmers in their claims, recognizing that these injustices affect us all and that this case is deserving of the court’s time and attention.
Due to limited space, only a small number of individuals will be able to enter the courtroom and listen to the proceedings. We respectfully ask that farmers and plaintiffs in the case be given priority to hear this case in person as each plaintiff has travelled many miles and put a great deal on the line to be a part of this case.
In the spirit of peaceful assembly and respect for the courts, we request that you adhere to the following principles:
Principles for Citizen’s Assembly
1. Assemble in Lafayette Square in a show of support for family farmers and their right to grow food without the threat of intimidation, harassment or loss of income.
2. Assemble peacefully to present a positive message that America’s citizens stand behind family farmers and support their rights of legal protection under the Constitution.
3. Bring signs that portray messages of:
b. The positive impacts of sustainable and organic agriculture
c. Solutions to our current crisis in food, agriculture and society
d. Support for farmers who seek justice in the courts
4. Be respectful of the court, our government institutions and maintain a respectful distance from the court entry and federal buildings, making sure not to block access for foot traffic or vehicles.
As advocates for farmers and supporters of a citizen-based democracy we greatly appreciate your support for family farmers and your agreement to act in accordance with these principles in order to guarantee farmers’ rights to grow food without fear and intimidation.
Location to Hear Plaintiffs and Attorney Comment After Hearing
Once oral arguments are heard in the court, farmers, plaintiffs and lead attorney Dan Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation will be available for comments to supporters and the media at Lafayette Square afterwards.
I’m pleased to announce that the Money Bomb Against Monsanto has been officially launched!
Yes, it is official. Volunteers and staff from the California Right to Know Campaign are submitting nearly 1 million signed petitions from registered voters across the state of California to county officials, to place the Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act on the ballot for Nov. 6. Starting May 1, and extending through May 26, a broad coalition of farmers, health groups, and organic food manufacturers will attempt to raise $1 million (i.e., “the money bomb”) to support state GMO-labeling campaigns and their defense from biotech bully lawsuits.
The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act
This act will require food manufacturers to identify genetically engineered ingredients on the labels of foods sold in California.
When California voters pass this ballot initiative, the Label Genetically Engineered Food Act will also prohibit the common practice of mislabeling genetically engineered foods as “natural” or “all natural.” It’s imperative to understand why this initiative is so important and how it can affect all Americans, regardless of where you live. California has the eighth largest economy in the world, so passing a labeling law for genetically engineered foods in California can have the same impact as passing a federal law.
Large food companies are unlikely to accept having dual labeling, one for California and another for the rest of the country. It would be an expensive logistical nightmare, not to mention a massive PR problem. To avoid the dual labeling, many would likely opt to not include using any genetically engineered (“GE”) ingredients in their product, especially if the new label would be the equivalent of a skull and crossbones. Those who opt not to replace GE ingredients from the get-go will likely find themselves unable to sell their products, as a majority of consumers reportedly will not buy foods once they know they’re genetically engineered. Unable to sell their products, such companies will eventually be forced to stop contaminating our food with genetically engineered ingredients or risk going out of business. This is what happened in Europe and over 40 countries around the world. It can happen in the U.S.
Do you know which foods are genetically engineered when you go grocery shopping for your family? Wouldn’t you want to know? Genetically engineered foods have been on the market since 1996. It’s time they tell us what’s in the food we’re eating on a daily basis.
The Proverbial David vs. Goliath
Naturally, the biotech industry is not about to let this pass without a fight. Monsanto, the Farm Bureau, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and corporate agribusiness are all raising millions of dollars to spread their propaganda in an effort to defeat the California ballot initiative, just like they did a decade ago in Oregon. At that time a cabal of corporate giants, including Monsanto and DuPont, calling themselves the Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law, outspent the pro-labeling group 30 to 1 and successfully defeated the labeling initiative by scaring voters into believing that labeling genetically engineered foods was unnecessary and would raise food prices.
They did it again in the state of Washington last month, where campaign contributions to three of the eight politicians on the Senate Agriculture Committee (Democrat Brian Hatfield and Republicans Jim Honeyford and Mark Schoesler) guaranteed the bill’s demise in committee. Right now the biotech industry is also working to defeat similar GE-labeling bills in Vermont, Hawaii, Connecticut, and other states. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Monsanto spent $8 million on their lobbying efforts in 2010 alone and gave more than $400,000 in political contributions. Monsanto also spent $120 million on advertising, to convince consumers that genetically engineered foods are safe — despite scientific evidence suggesting otherwise.
Let’s send them a message loud and clear: We have the right to know what they put into our food!
We’re Dropping the Money Bomb!
About 20 years ago, the FDA decided to deny consumers the right to know whether their food was genetically altered or not. This shameful regulation was spearheaded by Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lawyer who transferred into the offices of the FDA. Taylor is not the only ex-Monsanto employee who ended up in a position of power within the U.S. federal government and its regulatory agencies, and this is precisely why previous efforts to get genetically engineered foods labeled have been blocked.
Not so this time!
Ballot initiatives like the one in California are one way for citizens to take back control from compromised politicians and government officials and bypass them entirely. To sweeten the deal further, a group of “Right to Know” public interest organizations and organic companies has pledged to match the first $1 million raised in this nationwide “Drop the Money Bomb on Monsanto Campaign.” These “Right to Know” groups include:
Yes, I believe we can! But we need to get the word out, which requires a strong campaign to educate the citizens of California to vote for the initiative on Nov. 6. According to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association, we stand a good chance of winning in California because:
This time, we have far more scientific information and greater public awareness on our side. GE foods are now a mainstream media issue. Monsanto has become the most hated corporation in the world.
This time, we have overwhelming public support. Polls show that more than 8 out of 10 voters in California want mandatory GE labeling.
This time, we have built the strongest coalition of concerned food consumers in history, for the exclusive purpose of passing this law.
The Time for Action Is Now!
Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association states:
Monsanto is one of the most powerful, arrogant and destructive companies in the world. For decades, they have controlled the world’s food supply by buying off politicians and regulatory agencies, intimidating small farmers, manipulating the outcome of scientific studies, lying to consumers — and threatening to sue states like Vermont if they dare to pass a GMO labeling law.
We have the right to know if the food we buy has been genetically engineered. … It’s time to take back our food. Our farms. Our power. It’s time to show Monsanto what ordinary people like us can do when we come together. It’s time to drop the money bomb on Monsanto.”
Hundreds of thousands of people can help the coalition behind this initiative run a dynamic, effective campaign to bring down Monsanto and the rest of the Biotech Bullies.