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.
Today farmers, seed breeders, & concerned citizens from across America came to Washington, DC to support Organic farmers 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 agreed to hear oral arguments in the appeal of this landmark case to decide whether or not this case will move forward. Below are some of the photos taken at today’s Citizens’ Assembly.
By Bill Lambrecht email@example.com 202-298-6880
January 10, 2013 12:30 pm
WASHINGTON • An appeal by organic farmers to a court ruling last year turned into a wide-ranging protest this morning with speakers skewering Monsanto Co. for its policies and demanding labeling of genetically modified food.
About 200 people, many from organic seed companies, rallied in a park directly across from the White House on a crisp, cloudless day amid construction for festivities surrounding the second inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21.
The protest suggested an uptick in efforts to demand labeling, which was defeated in a California ballot initiative in November. Creve Coeur-based Monsanto spent at least $8 million in an industry-wide effort to sink the California proposition.
Vermont state Sen. David Zuckerman said at the rally that he is leading an effort in his state seeking legislation requiring labeling of genetically modified food.
Organic farmers, who are pressing a lawsuit against Monsanto, often complain that their products are threatened by wind-blown pollen from genetically altered crops.
“We want and demand the right of clean seed not contaminated by a massive biotech company that’s in it for the profit,” Carol Koury, who operates Sow True Seeds in Asheville, N.C., said at the rally.
The gathering was held in conjunction with an appeal heard today before a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel in Washington. The suit questions the legality of Monsanto’s seed patents and seeks protection from patent-infringement suits against farmers in the event their fields are found to contain genetically modified seed.
The lawsuit was filed by the Public Patent Foundation on behalf of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.
Last February, U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York dismissed the suit, asserting that “there is no evidence to suggest that plaintiffs are infringing defendants’ patents, nor have plaintiffs suggested when, if ever, such infringement will occur.”
Buchwald said in her ruling that it was “hardly significant” that Monsanto had filed 144 patent-infringement cases over a 13-year period given the number of farms in the United States.
After the dismissal, a Monsanto lawyer called the ruling a victory for all farmers.
This morning, Public Patent Foundation’s Daniel Ravicher, a lawyer who presented the appeal, asked: “If our clients don’t have standing today to seek protection, when will they have standing? Do they have to wait to be contaminated?”
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.
The Genetic Crime Unit (GCU) visited 5 Supermarkets in the St. Louis area and found evidence of food contaminated by GMOs in every one that they entered. Reliable sources state that Wal-Mart is selling Genetically Modified Sweet Corn in their produce section. The GCU displays the evidence:
The Dierberg’s grocery store Manager confronts the GCU but does not kick them out, states that photos and videos are forbidden.
GCU finding foods that are contaminated with GMOs!
Schnucks denied the GCU entry, threatened to arrest them if they did not leave.
A GCU spokesperson said, “Are they afraid an investigation might discover dangerous gentetic contamination in the foods they are selling?”
Trader Joes likewise did not allow us to enter the store. This supermarket, posing as a purveyor of “natural foods” is also suspected of selling genetically contaminated foods.
The GCU distributed these warning flyers at this site and others:
IS YOUR GROCER SELLING GENETICALLY CONTAMINATED FOODS?
Over 90% of soy, corn, and canola contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). GMOs are created when a gene from a bacteria, animal or a plant is inserted into another plant or animal. Scientific tests have raised questions about whether these foods are safe for humans to consume. Foods containing GMOs are not labeled, so people cannot tell if they are in the foods you buy at the supermarket.
WHY THE FISHYCORN CAR?
The Fishycorn Car dedicates its life to promote education around Genetically Modified foods, the environmental and social impact of the massive increase in chemicals used to grow them and the importance of GMO labeling in the USA. It is in St. Louis as part of a cross country tour. You can follow the FishyCorn Car on its facebook page.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Let us know that you told the management at your grocery store that all foods containing GMOs should be be labeled. Support local and organic farms that do not grow GMOs.
NORTHAMPTON, MA – On Sunday September 16, field agents with the Genetic Crimes Unit (GCU) of Occupy Monsanto equipped with bio-hazmat suits, swept the downtown area for ‘biohazards released by biotechnology giant, Monsanto. GCU agents, in search of “Frankencorn,” interviewed bystanders to ascertain the genetic contamination of their most recent meal.
The GCU is responding to local concerns about the health impacts of genetically modified (GM) foods. “In the Pioneer Valley we are lucky to be able to buy fresh local food from our farmers’ markets and food co-ops. But with the unregulated and unlabeled distribution of Genetically Modified Organisms in fields and food products, there’s no way to guarantee the integrity of our food unless we get vocal and demand labeling of GMOs,” said concerned local resident, Martin Dagoberto.
According to their literature, the GCU opposes the continued genetic contamination of the organic food supply, Monsanto’s bid to increase spraying of crops with toxic weed killers like 2,4 D (the main ingredient in Agent Orange) and the health risks associated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As highlighted during this year’s Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) Summer Conference at UMASS Amherst, there are numerous studies linking GM foods with infertility, immune problems, faulty insulin regulation, changes in organ function and other impacts.
While surveying for genetic contamination, agents spotted the rogue creature known as “Frankencorn,” described on “wanted posters” as a “dangerous accomplice of Monsanto and the FDA, wanted for possession and distribution of the Bt pesticide toxin, now found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women.” Frankencorn was later apprehended by the GCU and labeled as a Genetically Modified Organism.
“It’s absurd that the US government refuses to require safety-testing or labeling for genetically engineered foods. We wanted to do something absurd to parallel this absurdity. We have a right to know what’s in our food,” said GCU Field Agent Anne Quinn.
The action was part of a series of international actions against Monsanto, which officially starts on September 17, the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. More information can be found at Occupy-Monsanto.com.
Occupy Monsanto is very pleased to have the support of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. Below is the statement of support posted on their website.
Boston, MA – On Monday, June 18th from 8:00-10:00 AM, NOFA/Mass (the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association) will join Occupy Monsanto and Millions Against Monsanto in front of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to demonstrate opposition to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
NOFA/Mass maintains that Genetically Modified Organisms are a major threat to the organic farming community, pose a serious health danger to consumers and animals, can have an enormous detrimental impact on plant biodiversity, promote a monopoly in the seed industry, and can increase pesticide use nationwide. “GMOs do not diminish when released into the environment as they are an alteration made to a living organism that can reproduce. Even small amounts of GMO contamination will increase over time after they are released into our agriculture and environment,” explained Jack Kittredge, NOFA/Mass Policy Director, Organic Farmer and Editor of The Natural Farmer, NOFA’s quarterly news magazine.
Unfortunately, the biotech industry has prevented any serious regulation by the federal government of releasing their products onto the market. With the USDA’s most recent deregulation of genetically modified alfalfa, sugar beets, and varieties of sweet corn in 2011, anti-GMO sentiment has been growing. Consumers, healthcare providers, community leaders, farmers, parents with children, and activists alike have joined in calling upon the FDA to label genetically modified foods in the US. “The biotech industry is well-heeled and has done a good job of slipping GMOs into foods eaten by most Americans without their knowledge,” said Mindy Harris, NOFA/Mass Public Relations Coordinator. The organic certification process or Non-GMO Verification are the only assurances consumers currently have to guarantee that they are purchasing products which do not contain GMOs. Every other processed product on supermarket shelves is likely to be contaminated with genetically modified ingredients.
In June of 2011, NOFA/Mass brought their opposition to GMOs directly to the federal court. Joining over 80 plaintiffs nationwide, NOFA/Mass filed a federal lawsuit against biotech giant the Monsanto Corporation (OSGATA v. Monsanto), seeking a Declaratory Judgment that would prevent Monsanto from filing future unfair patent lawsuits against small farmers. The biotech giant has a litigious history; pursuing aggressive investigative techniques, including trespassing on private farm property and asking for large settlements which devastate small farmers.
Jeffrey Smith, of the Institute for Responsible Technology, has been the leading consumer advocate promoting healthy, non-GMO choices. Smith will be a keynote speaker at the NOFA Summer Conference at UMass Amherst, August 10-12, 2012. He will provide anti-GMO organizing tools, and explain the problems with GMOs. His second book, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, is the authoritative work on GMO health dangers. Smith explains in plain language the dilemma facing consumers: “It looks the same-the bread, pies, sodas, even corn on the cob. So much of what we eat every day looks just like it did 20 years ago. But something profoundly different has happened without our knowledge or consent. According to leading doctors, what we don’t know may already be hurting us big time.”(Urban Garden Magazine, Nov 2009
For more information on NOFA/Mass’ Anti-GMO policy initiatives, please contact Jack Kittredge – firstname.lastname@example.org; 978-355-2853.