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.
We urge you to help organize and attend the closest March Against Monsanto taking place on Saturday, May 25, 2013!
We write today to request a meeting with you concerning the labeling of genetically engineered foods in America. We are aware that representatives from the FDA have attended similar meetings with representatives from the chemical and processed food industries, and we deserve the opportunity to meet and discuss our concerns. We are willing to accommodate your busy schedule and can meet on the date and time of your choosing in May, June, or July. Upon confirmation from your office, we intend to invite business leaders in the organic food industry who share our concerns related to labeling of genetically engineered foods.
As you know, last year there were over one million signatures submitted to your agency asking you to require mandatory labels for foods produced using modern genetic engineering techniques. However, we still have not received a thorough reply from the FDA regarding this petition. We have reviewed the statements on the FDA website, and have concluded that instituting mandatory labels for genetically engineered foods is currently within your power and that such implementing such a policy does not require Congressional action.
Your failure to allay the concerns of American consumers and respond to the petition has resulted in growing distrust of your agency. We interpret the FDA’s resolve to ignore the people’s overwhelming support of mandatory GMO labeling as demonstrative of your true priority: protecting corporate interests, rather than protecting consumers’ safety and our fundamental right to transparency in food labeling. If the FDA is to regain the trust of American consumers you must demonstrate real action and commitment to introducing GMO labeling policy. Our proposed meeting is the crucial first step in beginning that process.
Consumers want the FDA to reject the purported authority of arbitrary biotechnology corporations as providers of safety studies. We demand independent tests conducted by the FDA or respected researchers at universities. Moreover, consumers are concerned that the existing body of safety studies are woefully incomplete and do not reflect the data recorded over the entire lifespan of animals fed genetically engineered foods.
The biotechnology industry says that there have been over 3 trillion meals served using genetically engineered ingredients without any health issues. We believe this statement is misleading; it is impossible to trace any health effects due to the consumption of genetically engineered foods when there are no mandatory labels on genetically engineered foods. Conversely, since genetically engineered foods entered the American food supply in the late 1990s, there has been a noticeable increase in diabetes, asthma, autism, cancer, and stomach maladies in America. Some concerned consumers believe this unfortunate increase is the direct result of consuming genetically engineered foods. This anecdotal evidence is not based on science. However, unless consumers are given the opportunity to choose between foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients and those that don’t, the anecdotal evidence will continue to yield further speculation on the dangers of consuming genetically engineered foods.
On May 25, activists around the world will unite to March Against Monsanto.
Why do we march?
Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.
In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that’s a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-lead research on the long-term effects of GMO products.
Recently, the U.S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.
For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism. Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.
Monsanto’s GMO seeds are harmful to the environment; for example, scientists have indicated they have caused colony collapse among the world’s bee population.
What are solutions we advocate?
Voting with your dollar by buying organic and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies that use GMOs in their products.
Labeling of GMOs so that consumers can make those informed decisions easier.
Repealing relevant provisions of the US’s “Monsanto Protection Act.”
Calling for further scientific research on the health effects of GMOs.
Holding Monsanto executives and Monsanto-supporting politicians accountable through direct communication, grassroots journalism, social media, etc.
Continuing to inform the public about Monsanto’s secrets.
Taking to the streets to show the world and Monsanto that we won’t take these injustices quietly.
We will not stand for cronyism. We will not stand for poison. That’s why we March Against Monsanto.
So you want to March Against Monsanto? First, check and see if there’s already being one planned for your city, and if so, if there’s someone leading the organizing on it yet: http://bit.ly/ZTDsk8
If not, please read these guidelines for a general idea of what goes into planning a demonstration.
If you feel you can take it on, send a message to the page letting us know which city you’re in and that you’ve read this guide. We’ll then create an event for you and add you as a host.
Step 1: Decide whether to do a march or a single rally. If you can get at least 20 people, a march has the potential to reach a lot more people than a rally.
Step 2: Pick a good location. For a rally, a state capitol building or city hall is a good spot. If there are any GMO-related headquarters or corporations in your city, that’s another good spot.
If you’re doing a march, pick two well-known locations to start and end your march. You can do mini-rallies at each location. Keep in mind walking distance; around a mile is a good distance.
Step 3: Research which permits may be necessary to make your event legal. You can research this on the Internet by looking on city government websites or calling their offices. Requirements are usually different depending on whether you’re doing a march or a rally and where it will be held.
Step 4: Reach out to potential speakers if you plan to have a rally or mini-rallies along with a march; this is a great way to increase the turnout and get media coverage. Try reaching out to organizations in your city that oppose GMOs and/or Monsanto like farmers and organizations that promote organic foods. If there are politicians in your city/state who advocate GMO labeling, that’s another good idea as well.
Note: If you’re having speakers, you may need to get additional permits for a PA system and/or a bullhorn.
Step 5: Once you have all of the details worked out for your rally, it’s time to promote it! This is done by use of flyers, including large ones to post to telephone poles and small ones to handout.
Also send a press release to your local media alerting them to the event.
If you’re doing a march, be sure to create a banner to carry so people know why you’re marching. Also, make signs and have attendees bring their own as well.
*We will provide some guidance for you, but ultimately the success of your march will be in your hands, as this is a grassroots-led movement. Thank you!*
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.”
Food activists opposed to genetically modified crops will take their fight to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next week, sponsoring an old school eat-in at the agency’s College Park, Md., campus staged around a truly historic meal.
The anti-GMO protest is scheduled for 8 a.m.-6 p.m. April 8 outside the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (5100 Paint Branch Parkway) and will feature a full day of activities. It will include the preparation and consumption of a massive cauldron — “Don’t forget to bring your own bowl, spoon, mug, and vegetables!” the group advocates on its promotional materials — of all-inclusive “stone soup.”
Occupy Monsanto organizer Adam Eidinger told HOH that the event is geared toward one simple goal: a clear understanding of what we are all eating.
“We want transparency. This is a very reasonable thing to ask for,” he said, adding that protesters would, obviously, also have plenty to say about the controversial agri-industrial safeguards that hitched a ride to President Barack Obama’s desk via a recent spending bill.
“We’re going to be talking about the Plant Protection Act, the Monsanto Protection Act … same thing as far as we’re concerned,” Eidinger said. But since that’s already been inked into law — “It should be taken out when the next budget is approved,” Eidinger counseled — organizers are focusing their efforts at proactive rather than retroactive changes.
Part of that outreach will include urging demonstrators to take control of their personal eating habits. Attendees are invited to bring heirloom seeds to share/swap and are encouraged to bring whatever vegetables/herbs they care to contribute to the communal soup party.
Eidinger credited activists from The Real Cooperative (Asheville, N.C.) with dreaming up the bring-your-own-vegetable format. He said chef Jonny Motto, who plies his steamy trade at TAAN restaurant in Adams Morgan, had volunteered to tend to the giant 200-quart pot of communal brew.