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!
When authorities got wind of a demonstration planned for Monday outside the Food and Drug Administration’s offices in College Park, they fortified their defenses.
A motorcycle and nine police vans, ominously marked “Homeland Security,” parked in front of the FDA building, and uniformed officers fanned out across the entrance, where they waited.
They needn’t have. The demonstrators, demanding that the FDA require the labeling of genetically modified foods, hadn’t come with violence in mind, or even civil disobedience. They had come to cook a 50-gallon vat of soup on the sidewalk and then consume the stuff — a first-ever “eat-in” at the FDA, they said.
There were no foul-mouthed anarchists dressed in black — just the sort of well-heeled crowd you’d come across at Whole Foods. “I packed up my kids’ lunches and drove from Boston to Hartford to ride a bus for five hours,” Kristi Marsh told the crowd, using the sound system to recount her trip to Monday’s protest. She wore a chef’s hat hand-lettered with the words “Everyday Mom.”
“I’ve never, ever protested before,” Marsh told me after her speech. “I was nervous. I had these visions of overturned buses and policemen dressed up like storm troopers. But when I saw part of the labor was to commit to no alcohol, no drugs, no violence, then I thought, ‘I want to be present.’ ”
She reached into her handbag. “Want some sunscreen?” she asked.
This is the face of the new protest movement — or at least organizers hope to make it so.
“We wanted a comfortable event,” Tom Llewellyn, the 30-year-old organizer, said of the FDA action, billed as “a day of sunshine and picnic-style protest” against GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. “It’s all about who you’re appealing to. There has to be a face of the movement for every single demographic to connect with.”
Taking a page from the gay-rights playbook, other causes on the left are holding fewer of the disruptive protests of recent decades and opting for persuasion over confrontation. In part, this strategy reflects the failure of recent movements, such as Occupy Wall Street and the anti-globalization demonstrations, to turn protesters’ enthusiasm into enduring public support.
The campaign against GMOs is typical: The movement has dropped its demand that such altered foods be banned, instead embracing the more reasonable goal of labeling such foods accurately. And activists are looking for non-threatening ways to broaden the cause’s appeal.
Llewellyn based Monday’s event on “Stone Soup,” a European folk tale about a traveler who persuades villagers to contribute to a communal meal. He borrowed the idea from peace activists of decades past, but made his a GMO-free soup.
“I’ve come here with this magical soup stone,” he told the crowd of 60, which swelled through the morning as the soup boiled.
The demonstrators, some wearing aprons, chef’s hats or clothing with GMO themes (“Give Peas a Chance”), handed over their organic vegetables and told their stories to the TV crews and reporters who had come to witness the spectacle:
“Hi, I’m Tory and this is my grandmother Nettie. We brought carrots . . . ”
Peter, a 12-year-old from Pennsylvania, announced: “I came here today with just organic mushrooms.” His mom patted him on the back after his turn at the microphone.
Another woman said, “My name is Erin O’Maley. I’m a chiropractor. . . . I brought some zucchini.”
A woman from Atlanta, Jay, was one of several to call for the resignation of Michael Taylor, the deputy FDA commissioner who had worked at Monsanto, a major GMO producer. “I’m a mother of an 8-year-old child and she’s not a science experiment,” the woman said.
Not all of the demonstrators were of the sort that would help the movement broaden its appeal. One man, in fatigues and a T-shirt covered with handwritten slogans, said he had brought “a non-edible mushroom” and complained that “my soup kitchen serves food that sucks.”
But the organizers found their target audience in Marsh of Massachusetts. Marsh, who writes tips on healthful living, said the image of the typical protest, angry and defiant, “scares people away.”
But as the soup simmered Monday, she told her fellow demonstrators that she would convert other mothers — “everyday me’s,” she called them — to the cause. “As long as you are out there doing this kind of stuff, I will be out there,” she said. “And I will be educating the everyday me’s, because that’s the masses that you need your support from.”
Source: Washington Post
This article was syndicated in the Salt Lake City Tribune, The Oregonian, The Herald, The Orland Sentinel, West Hawaii Today, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Shreveport Times, Delmarva Now, The Herald Tribune, AZ Central, and Faribault Daily News.
“Over 100 protesters, activists and food advocates gathered outside of the FDA Center Food Safety and Applied Nutrition today to participate in the first ever Occupy Monsanto Eat-in. On the menu: stone soup and U.S. policies when it comes to labeling genetically Modified foods. The protesters demanded all GMO foods to be labeled and an end to the revolving door between the Washington and the biotech industry. RT Correspondent Meghan Lopez was at the eat-in and took a bite out of the issue.”
Source: RT America
Prince George’s Community Television: Food activists converge on the FDA for an Eat-In protest of GMO foods.Posted: April 8th, 2013 | Filed under: Press, Video | Tags: America, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, Demonstration, eat-in, Fable, facebook, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, Maryland, MD, Michael Taylor, Monsanto, Photos, Picnic, Pot, Prince George's Community Television, Protest, Segment, stone soup, youtube |
Source: Prince George’s Community Television’s Youtube Page + Prince George’s Community Television website
Looking for more labels on the food we eat, Monday morning dozens gathered outside the Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety.
Kathy Engle-Dulac says genetically modified foods, or GMO’s, raise the biggest concerns.
If a food product has been genetically engineered, she believes consumers have the right to know.
Like others gathered Monday, she’s asking the FDA to change their policies so when consumers walk into a grocery store they know what they’re buying.
In a statement the Food and Drug Administration said: “Currently, food manufacturers may indicate through voluntary labeling whether foods have or have not been developed through genetic engineering provided such labeling is truthful and not misleading. In general, foods derived from genetically engineered plants must meet the same requirements, including safety requirements as other foods…”
Organic farmer Martin Dagoberto says he’s not sure if they’re as safe. He’s worried if there’s more GMO’s, it could affect his farming process.
“It’s basically jeopardizing the organic integrity of our food supply of our seeds and its making organic farming almost impossible,” Dagoberto says.
March 29, 2013
The Honorable Margaret Hamburg
Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740-3835
cc: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Food
Dear Commissioner Hamburg:
We write to you with the invitation to come join us for some delicious Stone Soup that we will prepare on Monday, April 8, outside the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Maryland. At 1pm we would like you to address our concerns about the labeling of genetically engineered foods sold in the United States of America. We will bring a small public address system and will provide you with an opportunity to speak to those gathered about why the FDA refuses to change its outdated policies concerning the labeling of genetically modified (“GMO”) foods. We promise to be respectful. We are genuinely hungry for answers to our concerns.
As you very well know, your administration purports man-made, patented genetic technology in our food does not constitute a “material difference” to require a byline on a food label. This is a grossly benighted position that has evoked an eruption of public protest and media investigation for over a decade. This position leads us to ask: whom does the FDA aspire to protect? You owe the American people an explanation for why U.S. policy on GMO labeling keeps us ignorant of whether our food has been genetically modified, while citizens in other countries around the world are granted the right to make informed decisions based on accurate food labels.
Americans from all over the country will bring ingredients to make the Stone Soup on the public sidewalk outside the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.. Before they add their ingredient(s) to the pot, they will have the opportunity to address you and your staff members in order to express why they want genetically engineered foods to be properly labeled in America. The soup will be 100% vegan and we will compile a thorough ingredient list to show how easy it is to make an honest food label.
We expect some may come to speak about the pending disapproval of the genetically engineered Aquabounty Salmon and we hope staff members will consider listening to these oral comments, as well as accept hand-deliveries for docket FDA-2011-N-0899. As a novel drug that is bypassing the normal clinical research phases that drugs overseen by your administration normally require, there needs to be much more dialog with the American public in order to provide absolute proof that the food adulterants used to produce synthetic meat for human consumption are safe enough to not require mandatory GMO labels.
While we have asked everyone to bring their own bowls and spoons so that our picnic will not generate unnecessary waste, we will bring you and Michael Taylor your own bowls & spoons because we genuinely desire your presence. Our upcoming picnic has a purpose that we hope you and your staff members will fully acknowledge and embrace, which is Americans want the FDA to require GMO labeling. Moreover, we hope your staff members feel empowered to engage in a friendly dialog with us over a bowl of delicious Stone Soup.
By offering you organic food, we are not trying to bribe you or your administration in any way. Rather, we wish to speak with you through the act of sharing of a communal meal. Our sharing of food is symbolic of our peaceful demonstration of free speech, and thus an expression of one of the myriad fundamental freedoms we cherish as citizens. We hope you feel welcomed by our invitation, and that this letter inspires you and your staff to join us in the spirit of camaraderie between fellow eaters.
Last year, 55 members of Congress wrote you a similar letter that said:
“The FDA has the opportunity and authority to do right by the American public. When issuing its rule requiring radiated foods to be labeled, FDA stated in broad terms that a decision to require labeling is not just based on the physical changes to the food but also on whether consumers view such information as important, and whether the omission of label information may mislead a consumer. The fact that the FDA has already adopted this broad interpretation of “material” facts demonstrates that [GMO labeling] is a reasonable – and therefore permissible – interpretation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).”
We are unaware of any official reply that was generated from your administration. Before we arrive on Monday, April 8, to prepare the Stone Soup, we would love a response posted on the FDA website because, frankly, we are really hungry for some answers.
See you on the sidewalk.
GMO Policy Analyst,
Many different versions of the fable “Stone Soup” have been written throughout history. One story is about a hungry soldier who, when passing through an impoverished village, announced that he would make ‘Stone Soup’. The promise of mysterious Stone Soup persuaded the small village to pool its resources and offer up its hidden onions, carrots, and spices to feed everyone in town. By working together, with everyone contributing something, a greater good can be achieved.
Today, America can be a food desert, devoid of healthy options and corporate transparency, but with our resources combined, we can move toward a more informed, healthy, and just food system. Mandatory GMO Labeling, Testing and Regulation is a BIG step along the way to an honest and sustainable food democracy in the USA.
- Jump on an action-bound bus from your region to the FDA!
- Pack a picnic, bring an arm full of (vegetarian) ingredients (herbs, spices, veggies, stock) from your region to add to the (Giant) “Stone Soup”.
- Join a demonstration at the FDA and enjoy a day of sunshine and picnic-style protest.
Are YOU hungry for some food democracy?
On Monday, April 8th, Americans will head to the FDA, to face down the institution that chooses Monsanto’s industrial interests over policy transparency and public health. Join this historic event to make your voice heard as we begin to take back our food system.
Who: Concerned Citizens, Farmers, Families, Students, Safe Food Activists, Food Justice Organizations
What: Eat-In for GMO Labeling at the FDA, Stone Soup Style.
Where: Outside of the Food And Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway College Park, MD 20740
When: Monday, April 8, 2013, 8am – 6pm
Why: The FDA is supposed to be the watchdog that protects us. Their purpose is to safeguard the consumer against industry, but instead they often seem to do the absolute reverse. The FDA has failed in its core purpose. FDA policies have lead to: a Lack of Transparency, Revolving Door with Industry, Market Bullying, Widespread Illness, Seed Privatization and Well Documented Risks to our Health: Lets take back our Food System!
Become a Bus Captain
The Occupy Monsanto team is eager to work with you on scheduling and filling a bus from your region to College Park, MD (Washington, D.C.). We are able to offer limited financial support for buses that register early and our organizers can offer helpful guidance and advertise your bus on this page.
Bus coordinators are responsible for:
- Helping reserve their bus
- Working with organizers to recruit riders
- Assisting with logistics like rider payment and pickup locations
Our national organizers are here to help with all of these steps.
[UPDATE] – Please email these bus captains with any questions:
Ann Arbor, MI –> MichiganFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com
Asheville, NC –> AshevilleFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com
Atlanta, GA –> AtlantaFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com
Boone, NC –> BooneNCFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com
Boston, MA –> BostonFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com – Reserve your seat today!
Burlington, VT –> VermontFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com – Reserve your seat today!
Chicago, IL –> ChicagoFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com
Madison, WI –> MadisonFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com
Hartford, CT –> HartfordFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com – Reserve your seat today!
Morgantown, WV –> MorgantownWVFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com
New York City, NY –> NYCFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com – Reserve your seat today!
Central New York –> CentralNYFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com – Reserve your seat today!
Newark, NJ –> NewarkFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com – Reserve your seat today!
Northampton, MA –> NorthamptonFDAbus@occupy-monsanto.com – Reserve your seat today!
Pennsylvania –> RightToKnowPA@gmail.com
As buses to the Eat-In are scheduled, we will list them above along with contact and sign-up information. This page will be frequently updated.
To see if there is a bus publicly announced in your area, please check back here frequently. If you have any other questions about buses, please email StoneSoup@Occupy-Monsanto.com or call Gene at 202-805-1603.
Other Transportation Options
Carshare: You can also find or offer a carpool to D.C. by joining our group at Ridebuzz.org
By Metro: The Eat-In will be located one block East of the College Park-U of MD Station (Green Line)
By Train: Amtrak railroad service to Washington, DC’s Union Station is served by the Metro’s Red Line. At the Union Station Metro, take a Shady Grove-bound train two stops to Gallery Place-Chinatown Station, exit train, go downstairs, and take the next Greenbelt-bound Green Line train to the College Park-U of MD Station
By Plane: Local airports include Reagan National (DCA), Baltimore-Washington International (BWI), and Dulles International (IAD). Only DCA & BWI have connections to mass transit options. From DCA take a Fort Totten-bound Yellow Line train to Fort Totten Station, transfer to Greenbelt-bound Green Line train, get off at College Park-U of MD Station. From BWI, take the B-30 MetroBus ($6 cash fare) to the Greenbelt Metro Station, then take the next train one stop to College Park-U of MD Station.
Questions? Check our FAQ page