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.
Fast forward a year and a half, the city of Oxnard, California is figuratively throwing the book at these intrepid activists and charging them with over $8,300 in restitution & fines! This means they are being forced to pay Monsanto & the city of Oxnard or they’ll be arrested & forced to go jail! We can’t let this happen!
ROB VARELA/THE VENTURA STAR – Alyssa Davis (from right), Ellie Loiacono and Heather Power-Gomez, all from Thousand Oaks, join the Occupy Monsanto protest and yell, “Label the seeds!” on Monday in Oxnard.
Local food activists chose Monday, the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street activist movement, to start a global outcry in Oxnard against agribusiness giant Monsanto Co.’s chemicals and genetic modifications of plant seeds.
Less dramatic than Tuesday’s protest at Monsanto’s seed distribution plant Seminis Vegetable Seeds Inc. on Camino Del Sol, in which nine protesters in chains and shackles were arrested when they blocked the gates, Monday’s event at the same site drew about 35 protesters who limited their opposition to signs, masks and shouting on the sidewalks.
“Stop Patents on Life” read a sign held by a graduate student wearing a paper mask over her mouth and caution tape around her neck with the word “Hazard.”
“My concern is what genetically modified organisms do to the sustainability of our environment and the ability of farmers in Third World countries to support themselves,” said Tracy Long, of Ventura, who attended a May protest at the plant.
No arrests had been made as of 5:30 p.m. Monday. Oxnard Police Department officers circulated the block in police cars.
The demonstrators were part of a group called Occupy Monsanto, which identifies itself with Occupy Wall Street.
Monday was the first day of the group’s weeklong series of 65 events planned worldwide to protest Monsanto, its relationship with Third World farmers and the seeds it develops.
Tom Helscher with corporate affairs for Monsanto, which has headquarters in St. Louis, said Monsanto helps improve farm productivity and food quality.
“Agriculture and its uses are important to California, the U.S. and the world,” Helscher said. “We respect each individual’s right to express their point of view on these topics.”
California’s Proposition 37, a November ballot measure that would require labeling on most processed foods to explain whether they have ingredients from genetically modified organisms, gave several protesters a tangible action to support.
Several Thousand Oaks teenagers came after school to their first official protest.
“Hey, hey, ho, ho, we’ve got a right to know,” shouted the teens to passing cars.
Seventeen-year-old Heather Power-Gomez, a Westlake High School student from Thousand Oaks, said she came because she thought food should be labeled.
“In biology class, we learned about genetically modified organisms and how they can affect your body,” she said. “They (Monsanto and scientists) can change the genetic structure of the seeds so your body doesn’t know how to react.”
Power-Gomez said scientific and medical studies she read in class suggested links to cancer and autism.
Occupy Monsanto’s spokesperson, Adam Eidinger, whose role in Washington, D.C., is to facilitate the Monsanto events by posting the company’s locations online and inviting actions there, says the group is “a subgroup (of the Occupy movement) and focused on food issues and one company.”
“We feel a part of group,” Eidinger said. “I think we realize we belong in the Occupy movement because we’re talking corporate control of food.”
Actions by the Occupy Monsanto group also took place Monday and were planned for other days this week in Woodland, Gilroy, Davis, Ohio, Hawaii, Australia and Argentina.
Only one activist Monday was celebrating Occupy’s birthday.
A Camarillo resident wore a party hat with a foxtail pinned to the back of his pants and a full-face mask. He declined to give his name.
“Happy /b/-day Occupy! 7,435 political prisoners and counting!” his sign read, referring to those arrested in a year’s worth of Occupy protests.
“Monsanto employee confronts protesters at second driveway blockade and tells them they have 10 minutes to leave.”
“Explanation of jail cell on the September 12, 2012 Monsanto action in Oxnard, CA.”
“Monsanto employee confronts protesters at third driveway blockade and tells them they have 10 minutes to leave.”
By Lisa Baertlein and Carey Gillam, OXNARD, Calif./KANSAS CITY, Missouri | Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:04pm EDT
(Reuters) – Opponents of genetically engineered foods on Wednesday blocked shipments and deliveries at Monsanto Co’s vegetable seed company in California that developed a new genetically modified sweet corn that will hit stores this fall.
The protesters, who want to remove all so-called genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from the food supply, say their action is a preview of about five dozen other events planned for countries around the world next week.
They also hope to drum up support for a California ballot measure that would require food sellers to label a broad range of products, including soup, soy milk, breakfast cereals and chips, that contain GMOs.
Monsanto and other developers of these biotech crops say they are safe. But U.S. regulators do not require any independent safety tests that would put a lid on doubts raised by consumers and some scientific and health groups.
More than 40 countries around the world have some requirements for labeling foods containing ingredients from genetically modified crops. But U.S. regulators have rejected requests by many groups for similar labeling rules, and as a result many Americans do not know that they have been eating GMOs for years.
At the protest on Wednesday, about a dozen people organized by a network of anti-GMO activists called Occupy Monsanto stopped trucks from entering or leaving Monsanto’s Oxnard, California-based Seminis for nearly six hours.
The activists, some dressed in biohazard suits, blocked truck entrances with cars and chained themselves to the vehicles.
Police arrested nine of the protesters and charged them with trespassing, organizers said.
Seminis’ biotech sweet corn is one of the newest GMO crop products to make it to market. The corn was altered genetically to withstand dousings of a common weedkiller and to ward off certain pests.
“We deserve to know what we are eating and we should put GMO crops back in the lab and off the kitchen table,” protester Rica Madrid said.
Occupy Monsanto is not affiliated with the backers of a California proposal to label foods that are made with crops or from animals that have had their genetic makeup altered in the laboratory.
Monsanto did not directly address Wednesday’s events but said the company’s work helped improve farm productivity and food quality.
“We respect each individual’s right to express their point of view on these topics,” Thomas Helscher, a Monsanto spokesman, said of the Seminis protest.
DIFFERENT VIEW IN EUROPE
GMOs are deeply unpopular in Europe and many other countries, but they eventually came to dominate key crops in the United States after Monsanto in 1996 introduced a soybean genetically altered to tolerate Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.
Using genes from other species, Monsanto and rivals including DuPont and Dow Chemical have since introduced an array of genetically altered crop varieties.
The most popular genetically engineered crops in the United States include corn, soybeans, sugar beets and canola – staple ingredients in a wide array of popular packaged foods.
Proponents of GM crops say they make farming more efficient by making plants resistant to pesticides, pests and harsh growing conditions, such as drought. They say genetically modified crops are no different from conventional types and that increasing demand for food, biofuels and livestock feed can only be met with help from the biotech industry that Monsanto dominates.
Critics say GM crops have not always lived up to their promise and that the benefits to farmers do not outweigh myriad risks to human and animal health and to the environment.
Assessing such risks is difficult in the United States. The government does not require GMO crops to undergo independent safety testing before they are approved, and it does not require labeling for GMO content which makes it next to impossible to track any links to human health problems.
The World Health Organization says “individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”
Recently, some U.S. scientists have raised alarm bells over what they see as potentially dangerous implications from overuse of GMO crops.
Among the concerns is the fact that the rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of herbicides, which critics say has triggered an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods.
This week, the Center for Food Safety vowed to sue the U.S. government if it approves a new type of genetically altered corn developed by Dow.
(Additional reporting by Mario Anzuoni in Oxnard; editing by Jim Marshall)
Activists with Occupy Monsanto chained and shackled themselves to cars and cages Wednesday at Monsanto Co.’s seed plant Seminis Vegetable Seeds Inc. in Oxnard to protest genetically modified seeds and foods.
Nine members of the activist group Occupy Monsanto were arrested on suspicion of trespassing Wednesday at the chemical maker Monsanto Co.’s seed plant in Oxnard.
Oxnard Police Department Cmdr. Eric Sonstegard said five men and four women age 23 to 42 were arrested after they blocked three shipping and receiving gates at the Seminis Vegetable Seeds Inc. plant on Camino Del Sol.
Three were from San Francisco. The others were from Petaluma, Garberville, Oakland, North Hollywood, New York and Washington, D.C.
The police went because trucks were unable to get through the gate and the company couldn’t do business, Sonstegard said.
“Seminis wanted them to leave,” Sonstegard said. All the protesters were “extremely cooperative,” he said, but also indicated they would not leave.
Officers had to call on the Oxnard Fire Department to help remove the protesters, who were locked to their vehicles and shackled together, Sonstegard said.
He said the group has targeted the plant before but that this was the first time there had been arrests.
Occupy Monsanto activist Rea Abileah said the group held the protest to begin its upcoming global week of actions against Monsanto starting Monday, with similar events to take place at other company facilities in the U.S. and overseas.
“This is a protest of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds and toxic pesticides,” Abileah said.
She said there were about 23 protesters and they wanted to shut down shipping and distribution operations. The broader goal is to educate the public, she added.
Abileah said the action wasn’t specifically related to California’s Proposition 37, a November ballot measure that would require labeling on most processed foods to explain whether they have ingredients from genetically modified organisms.
Adam Eidinger, Occupy Monsanto’s representative in Washington, D.C., said the organization thinks all modified foods should be banned.
“Genetically modified food is an experiment and should be treated as such,” Eidinger said.
On its website, Seminis says it is the world’s largest developer, grower and marketer of vegetable seeds, with examples such as Gemini virus-resistant tomato seeds.
Tom Helscher with corporate affairs for Monsanto, which has headquarters in St. Louis, said the challenges facing agriculture are producing food for a growing population and reducing agriculture’s footprint on the environment.
“While we respect each individual’s right to express their point of view on these topics, we do not believe unlawful actions are an appropriate way to further any cause,” Helscher said.