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COLLEGE PARK, MD – Alarmed by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) outdated and pro-biotechnology industry policies concerning the labeling & safety of GMO foods sold in America, safe food activists will hold the largest protest to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.”
LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall was standing room only as more than 1,100 people showed up Thursday night to hear a presentation by environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva.
“Your island is truth speaking to the world,” Shiva told the crowd to thunderous applause.
Joining Shiva as part of a three-day Hawai‘i SEED Tour was environmental attorney Andrew Kimbrell and Hawaiian rights activist Walter Ritte of Moloka‘i.
“Dr. Shiva is like the Dalai Lama of Agriculture,” Ritte said of the Indian philosopher, physicist, environmental activist and eco-feminist who has authored more than 20 books. As a leader in the International Forum of Globalization, Shiva fights for changes in the practices and paradigms of food, according to her biography.
Shiva met with residents of the Westside for dinner ahead of time to discuss a pending class action lawsuit over the continued experimental use of pesticides by biotech companies in the area.
Because of the experiments taking place with pesticides and genetically engineered seeds on the Westside of the island, Kaua‘i is considered ground zero internationally in the fight to stop biotech companies such as Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Bayer and Syngenta from creating more products and patenting more seeds.
Organizers are also working to have Hawai‘i become the first state to label foods containing genetically modified organisms.
In assisting grassroots organizations in the green movement worldwide, Shiva has been featured in several documentaries and received the Right Livelihood Award and the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environmental Program. She has been called one of the five most powerful women in Asia.
Along with Shiva was Andrew Kimbrell, who became the executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment in 1994 and the executive director of the Center for Food Safety in 1997. As one of the leading environmental attorneys in the nation, he has authored several books on the environment, technology in society and food issues. In 1994, Utne Reader named him as one of the world’s leading visionaries.
Sponsored by Hawai‘i SEED, The Center for Food Safety and Navdanya, the evening discussing the elimination of genetically modified organisms, along with the labeling of GMO products, was the culmination of a three-day long Hawai‘i SEED Tour that had Shiva, Kimbrell and Ritte speaking to a sold out audiences at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and at the Kapolei Salvation Army Ray Kroc Center, along with legislative briefings and presentations in the State Capitol by Kaua‘i County Councilman Gary Hooser, Sen. Laura Thielen and others.
At the outset of the evening, vendors from around the island set up a seed giveaway featuring a local farming resource fair and silent auction to benefit Hawai‘i SEED.
Emceeing the Kaua‘i event was Nancy Redfeather of Kawanui Farm on the Big Island, who in her work as a teacher and gardener has helped create 65 school gardens through her work as program director for the Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network and is the director of the Hawai‘i Public Seed Initiative.
Opening the evening at the Kaua‘i War Memorial were students from Kanu I Ka Pono New Century Public Charter School, who greeted the audience with chant and poetry.
“There’s room for man’s need, but not man’s greed,” said one Kanu I Ka Pono student in her poem, paraphrasing Mahatma Gandhi.
Up next was performer Makana, who played a modified version of his “We Are the Many” anthem advising the crowd to “Occupy GMO.” He also performed a new song titled, “The Story of the GMO,” which addresses the history of the anti-GMO movement and closed the evening with an untitled “Song for Vandana,” that he was inspired to write while listening to Shiva’s presentation.
In introducing Dr. Shiva, Redfeather said Dr. Shiva has trained more than 650,000 farmers in India and is advising Bhutan on how to be come the first wholly organic country in the world.
“I was told you were a very small island with a very small population. It doesn’t look like it when you stand in this hall,” she said.
She said that the myth was that spraying pesticides has lead to the rise of GMOs.
Dr. Shiva said farmers were told they would never have to spray again, “we known through the practice in the rest of the world that in fact the spray increases and you talk about it. The GMOs are not a safe alternative to poisons. They are pushed by the poison industry to increase poison sales and monopolize the seed industry.”
In discussing the 1984 Bhopal disaster, Dr. Shiva said 3,000 people died in a gas leak from a Union Carbide plant and more than 30,000 people have died since then. She said the disaster didn’t stop after the explosion “as generations being born today are being born crippled.”
She said Bhopal isn’t the only poison tragedy in India. She said 1,000 people died in the past couple years in “the endosulfan tragedy,” when thousands of people were sprayed with pesticides that went into water and wells.
Dr. Shiva said India’s Green Revolution started off with chemicals that were designed for killing people in times of war. After World War II, these companies then turned the chemicals into pesticides and now have become a biotech.
“The explosive factories were redesigned to create fertilizer,” Dr. Shiva said, noting that the Oklahoma bombing, the Oslo bombing and every bombing in India were created using fertilizer bombs.
“We delivered sacks and sacks of fertilizer to the Afghans and now they are making bombs,” she said of the Central Intelligence Agency providing fertilizer to the country. “A century of war making and destruction is behind this.”
Her research for the United Nations also uncovered that nerve gas was being modified into modern day pesticides.
She addressed her plans to organize new Nuremberg Trials to go after the companies making nerve gas to kill people during World War II that are still making chemicals today.
“We are going to organize new Nuremberg trials and bring together everyone that has been harmed in the name of agricultural progress,” she said.
Dr. Shiva went on to say she was at a conference where people were talking about making seed saving a crime. She said one of the big fights being faced is to prevent the criminalization of seed saving by farmers.
“How could it be that the death industry can recreate itself as the life sciences industry?” she asked, adding that the companies position themselves as patient and diagnostician for a problem, with the problem being farmers saving seeds.
She said that growing up, her family used the neem tree for pest control, which causes bugs to reproduce slower. She said the neem tree is called the “village farmer,” and has more than 1,000 uses.
After Bhopal, Dr. Shiva delivered neem trees to the area and made posters that read, “No more Bhopals. Plant a Neem.”
She discussed other biopiracy cases such as basmati rice, which RiceTec patented and claimed to have invented along with how worldwide trade impacts the industry.
“Everything comes from China,” Dr. Shiva said of the U.S. being in a negative trade balance. “Patented seeds and GMO crops are the only things leaving. You have become the nerve center for this destruction.”
In the end, though, Dr. Shiva said the biotech companies have left us with bug-resistant super pests and super wheats.
“The GMO emperor has no clothes,” Dr. Shiva said. “We have the clarity to speak truth. We do not recognize patents on life.”
Monopolies and monocultures go together and have reduced to just eight commodities including animal feed, biofuel and human food last. She said it wastes communities by destroying them and imposes uniformity along with shipping them in trucks.
“Food is a waste system. It wastes the Earth, it wastes communities, it wastes potential, they ship it thousands of miles in trucks,” she said.
“Bees usurp pollen, weeds steal sunshine … everyone is a thief in their world because they are the thieves,” Dr. Shiva said of what the biotech companies are telling the world, “This is not about technology. This is about conquest. That’s why every time a religion has conquered, they destroyed sacred shrines and put in churches.”
She said people should live by the tenets of Gandhi, including satyagraha meaning fight for truth; swaraj meaning self-organized freedom; and swadeshi, meaning self-making as a rule of freedom; and the concept of lifting up everyone including the most vulnerable.
In the end, Dr. Shiva called on Kaua‘i’s residents to work on feeding themselves.
“You have so much water and biodivesity here on the Garden Island that it should be a garden and in reality feeding itself.”
The Molokai M.O.M (Mom On a Mission) Project was inspired by Mercy Ritte, in effort to raise awareness in the community regarding critical issues that harmfully affect our health, our environment, our culture and the future of our children.
This video depicts a week-long demonstration (September 17 – 21, 2012) uniting kupuna, makua and keiki who publicly expressed a strong opposition to GMOs in our food supply, industrial “farming” and the desecration of our valuable resources.
Yesterday saw a handful of new developments in the push to align voters either in favor of or against Proposition 37, a measure that would require food producers who knowingly use genetically modified crops to label them as such, and prevent such producers from referring to their products as “natural.”
Women Occupy San Diego, one of the lasting and perhaps most prominent local groups to emerge from the Occupy Wall Street movement that began one year ago yesterday, organized a rally at the Hillcrest headquarters of Canvass for a Cause on Monday afternoon.
Several speakers decried the potential health impacts from genetically altered products, noting that the products have been shown to contain increased levels of allergens and that modified crops, marketed by chemical giant Monsanto as “Roundup-ready,” are treated with considerably higher doses of herbicides, as the seeds have been engineered to resist the effects of the company’s signature weed killer, allowing farmers to douse their entire crops at will to control weeds.
The Occupellas, a chorus group featuring members of Women Occupy, sang familiar yet re-branded tunes such as “Old Monsanto Had a Farm,” and a crew of demonstrators arrived with a large “Monster of Monsanto” prop that accompanied the crowd, which had swelled to over 100, as they marched toward the SR-163 overpass at Robinson Avenue.
Original plans had called for a second group of protesters to demonstrate on the bridge crossing University at the 163, but as of shortly after 5 p.m. only one bridge was occupied. Several police cruisers stood by to survey the action, but neither the demonstrators nor members of the public seemed inclined to violence.
Meanwhile, backers and detractors of the Prop 37 campaign sent out dueling press releases.
The Yes contingent seeks to draw attention to new funding received by its opponent, information made public by the state last Friday. Monsanto gave the No campaign another $2.9 million, raising its total stake in defeating the proposition to $7.1 million. Other pesticide companies recently upped their investments, including DuPont ($874,800), Dow AgroSciences ($815,200), Bayer CropScience ($381,600), BASF Plant Science ($357,700), and Syngenta ($178,700).
These groups, which measure proponents are calling the “Big 6 pesticide firms” have contributed $19 million of the $32 million raised so far by those opposing the proposition.
Others investing heavily in defeating Prop 37 include Pepsi ($1,716,300 to date), Nestle USA ($1,169,400), Coca-Cola ($1,164,400), and ConAgra Foods ($1,076,700). At number 7 on the list of highest donors, only Nestle USA (itself a subsidiary of the Swiss parent company) is based in California.
Opponents of 37 didn’t leave long to question where the influx of cash would go, announcing a major buy of radio ads to be aired statewide beginning yesterday.
“Prop. 37 is about the right to sue,” says California Grocers Association president Ronald K. Fong in a statement accompanying the ad copy. “And when it is time to sue, grocery retailers will be at the head of the line to get hit with a lawsuit. Lawyers need no proof, no damages prior to filing the lawsuit.”
The ad makes similar claims, and also says that the new labeling requirements would “increase food costs for a typical California family by hundreds of dollars per year” while “[giving] trial lawyers a special new right to file shakedown lawsuits.”
The ad closes by advertising “FactsOn37.com,” a website that was not active as of Monday evening, though the campaign website makes many similar claims and links to the study that is the basis of the figure given on higher food costs, finding that the costs of food prices could rise $4.5-$5.2 billion if the proposition is passed, mainly because producers would prefer using non-bioengineered crops to having to disclose their continued use.
“It’s an infinitesimal amount cost per product, but they’re going to say it’ll cost you hundreds,” predicted Jeffrey Smith, a consumer activist and author on genetically modified crops, in a statement about a week before the survey was posted to the No on 37 website. Smith was speaking about the cost of continuing to use the same products while producing packaging compliant with the new law, which producers are widely expected to shy away from due to real or perceived concerns from consumers regarding laboratory-altered food.
While no other U.S. state currently has such a law on the books, 50 countries including China, India, Japan, and all of Europe requires such disclosure.