tagged w/ OCCUPY MONSANTO
Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann and Board Chair Orin Langelle were in St. Louis over September 16 and 17 for the GMO-Free Midwest Conference and the Occupy Monsanto day of action. The events were organized by the Organic Consumers Association and the Gateway Greens Alliance.
Petermann spoke on the first day of the GMO Free Midwest conference on the dangers of genetically engineered trees at C.A.M.P. (Community Arts and Movement Project) near downtown St. Louis. Langelle spoke against the Green Economy during day two of the GMO Free Midwest conference. Day two of the conference was held simultaneous to the “12th International Symposium of Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms” at the Millennium Hotel, adjacent to the St. Louis arch.
The second day of the conference and the Occupy Monsanto actions which followed were held in celebration of the one-year Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.
The photo essay below is from the day of activities against Monsanto, both the conference at the Millennium hotel and the three actions that followed. The actions included a rally outside of the Millennium Hotel, an action at Whole Foods directed at their policy of allowing GMO foods to be sold in their stores, and an protest outside the world headquarters of Monsanto in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
–The GJEP Team
More at the linkGlobal Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann and Board Chair Orin... more
On Wednesday, September 12, activists calling themselves the Genetic Crimes Unit (GCU) shut down shipping and receiving access points at Monsanto’s Oxnard seed distribution facility located at 2700 Camino Del Sol. By peacefully blockading the exit and access points, the group effectively shut down the distribution of genetically engineered (GMO) seeds for a day.
Monsanto is the largest producer of GMO seeds and is being called out for their genetic crimes by a network called Occupy Monsanto. Today’s protest is the beginning of a series of over 65 different autonomous actions that officially start on September 17, the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Actions are planned in countries throughout the world, including the US, Germany, Canada, India, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Argentina, Australia, Spain, Russia, and Japan. More info as well as video available for media use of today action can be found here.
After occupying all three shipping and receiving entrances to the Monsanto facility using flashy theatrics, including a car with a giant “fish-corn” on top of it and a 6-foot high jail cell complete with someone dressed up like the CEO Hugh Grant of Monsanto inside. Eventually after 5.5 hours the fire department was called in and 9 anti-GMO activists were arrested and charged with trespassing.
“The reason I am occupying Monsanto and willing to put myself at risk of arrest is because Monsanto has genetically engineered food crops to contain novel untested compounds that result in more weed killer sprayed on our food, without informing consumers. Unlike most industrialized countries including every country in Europe, Japan and even China, in America right now there are no labels on our food informing us whether we are eating GMOs or not. We have a right to opt out of this experiment: it’s not up to chemical companies what I feed myself and my family. Monsanto has bought and sold both parties and has handpicked henchmen at FDA and USDA making sure we are kept in the dark. Monsanto is also currently fighting the California Prop 37 GMO labeling initiative that would give consumers the right to know if they are eating GMO foods. said GCU member Ariel Vegosen.
More at the linkOn Wednesday, September 12, activists calling themselves the Genetic Crimes Unit (GCU)... more
ST. LOUIS - An expanding network of concerned individuals known as Occupy Monsanto has emerged over the past 8 months staging numerous protests at companies connected to the global trade of genetically engineered foods, also known as GMOs. The network announced today that on September 17, 2012 protests will begin for an entire week in St. Louis, home of the Monsanto Corporation, and across the US including California where voters will decide if they will label GMOs this election and worldwide in Argentina, Canada, Germany, India, Philippines, and other countries where concern over GMO impact on the environment and human health is growing.
The protests will vary in size and nature but are unified in pushing back GMO food into the lab from which it came. An interactive map with times, dates and locations of the 60+ protests can be found at http://occupy-monsanto.com/genetic-crimes-unit/.
Occupy Monsanto means to confront the industrial agriculture system head-on. Some protests could result in widespread arrests of people who choose to engage in non-violent civil disobedience. Despite the peaceful nature of these planned protests, organizers are concerned about surveillance of Occupy-Monsanto.com by the US Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies worldwide. Nevertheless Occupy Monsanto protests will feature costumes made of bio-hazmat protective gear that can also protect against pepper spray from police who have routinely attacked occupy protests in the past year.
"There is something wrong when a chemical manufacturer, the same company who made Agent Orange, controls the US food supply," says Jaye Crawford, a member of the Genetic Crimes Unit in Atlanta, Georgia that has planned a week of events. Info: http://occupy-monsanto.com/atlanta-gcu-schedule-of-events/.
"Wall Street and the American political elite have underestimated and even ignored our potential to effect rational policy change on GMOs which would include labeling for GMOs and restrictions on GMO cultivation," says Gene Etic, an anti-GMO campaigner based in Washington, DC. "If Occupy Monsanto's anti-GMO actions are successful, after September 17 the media and increasingly more voters will ask tough questions about these experimental GMO crops especially within the context of the Presidential election, as that office holds the power to determine American food policy," says Etic.
"People are stirred by the evidence that GMO foods compromise human health," says Rica Madrid, a member of the Genetic Crime Unit of Occupy Monsanto. "Politicians and their sponsoring corporations ignore public outcry over GMOs to protect huge profits over health. Since GMOs' introduction to the food supply in the mid 1990s, food allergies have expanded according to Center for Disease Control data," says Madrid.
"By purchasing influence via massive campaign donations, Monsanto ensures the essential duties of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are neglected. One example of this corporate coup is President Obama's appointment of Michael Taylor, former Monsanto Vice-President and legal council for the chemical company, to head the FDA's food safety efforts despite his obvious conflict of interest," says Ariel Vegosen, a member of the Genetic Crimes Unit. She adds, "Monsanto is the biggest maker of genetically engineered crops so it must be stopped before it is too late to shift to healthy organic agriculture practices as a result of widespread genetic contamination by GMOs. 'Coexistence' as defined by the USDA of Organic and GMO crops is a myth."
"At the US State Department it's apparent Monsanto has duped leaders in Africa to ask the US for foreign aid in the form of GMO technology and equipment," says Monsanto shareholder Adam Eidinger who last year walked from New York to the White House in Washington, DC with hundreds of other food activists to demand labeling of GMO foods.
"The generous use of US tax dollars, endorsed by the likes of rock-star Bono and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former legal council for Monsanto, is actually another taxpayer funded subsidy for Monsanto's pesticide and herbicide hungry crops."
Occupy Monsanto will be heard at the offices and facilities linked in the GMO food system.
In St. Louis a major anti-GMO conference will take place in the same location as the "12th International Symposium on GMO Safety." A lead organizer of the conference is Barbara Chicherio who believes, "'Monsanto's push to control agriculture and what people are eating poses a great threat not only to consumers in the US, but to farmers and communities throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia." Info on the conference is at http://gmofreemidwest.org/.ST. LOUIS - An expanding network of concerned individuals known as Occupy Monsanto has... more
- An expanding network of concerned individuals known as Occupy Monsanto has emerged over the past 8 months staging numerous protests at companies connected to the global trade of genetically engineered foods, also known as GMOs.- An expanding network of concerned individuals known as Occupy Monsanto has emerged... more
Positive action for positive change...
As part of the Global Day of Action to Shut Down Monsanto on Saturday, this action was co-organized by AGRA Watch/Community Alliance for Global Justice, Washington Fair Trade Coalition, Washington Biotechnology Action Council, and GMO-Free Washington. The protest was directed at the Gates Foundation for their efforts to spread Monsanto’s dangerous GMOs throughout Africa.Positive action for positive change...
As part of the Global Day of Action to Shut... more
A newly released hidden video is available for unrestricted use by the members of media at a new website http://occupy-monsanto.com. Occupy Monsanto is calling for protests on September 17, 2012, at Monsanto facilities across the globe to demand GMO labeling and the elimination of cancer causing toxic chemicals in our food supply.
During a face-to-face encounter caught on hidden video, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant is challenged on how his company has an "artificial buffer" of acceptance in the consumer marketplace because "people don't know if what they are eating is GMO."
In the video GMO Labeling campaigner Adam Eidinger also speaks before the entire shareholder meeting, urging acceptance of GMO labeling. He decries the agrichemical giant's contribution to the rise of "Superweeds" and "Superpests" that develop resistance to ever more toxic chemicals sprayed on them. Despite the challenge of Monsanto to "reform," no shareholders challenged Eidinger on the facts except for Grant. Eidinger also asks Grant from the podium how much the company will spend fighting GMO labeling efforts in 2012.
When pressed by Eidinger a second time on the labeling issue Grant asserts that Monsanto complies with and supports US laws regarding labeling. He admits, "There is an increasing category of GMO-free as well, so we would support the overarching umbrella of labeling."
Eidinger responded that his question addressed efforts to change the laws to mandate labeling. "Is the Company going to oppose these labeling efforts wherever they take place?" he asks. Grant relents, "We would be absolutely open and willing to engage in a dialog with our broad industry peers," when it comes to the question of labeling GMOs.
Currently, Monsanto faces new lawsuits from organic farmers, while in California a GMO labeling ballot proposition is under review. More than 550,000 people have signed onto the JustLabelit.org citizens' petition to the Food and Drug Administration for GMO labeling and last fall for the first time about 100 people marched in a GMO Right2Know March from New York to the White House to demand President Obama keep his campaign promise to label GMO foods. (Video of the promise can be seen here. )
The Monsanto Annual Shareholders' Meeting concluded official activities of the Right2Know March for GMO labeling which was sponsored by the Non-GMO Project and many other organizations and businesses. Some coordinators of last year's march have set their focus on Monsanto. In March of 2012 a new "Occupy Monsanto" campaign will be formally launched to focus on changing Monsanto's business practices and support the principles of the Occupy movement.
More at the linkA newly released hidden video is available for unrestricted use by the members of... more
If you happened to be walking around Lower Manhattan this morning, you might have noticed the anti-Monsanto chants echoing from Foley Square. In a protesting trifecta, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Big Food, and Food Democracy Now joined forces to support family farmers as the first phase of their federal court case against food industry giant Monsanto. The crowd of around 200 people included farmers from as far away as Maine as well as local food activists and chefs.
The case against Monsanto (Organic Seed Growers Trade Association et al. v. Monsanto) aims to protect farmers against aggressive lawsuit and crop contamination from Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds. Organic and non-GMO crops can be severely damaged by the introduction of GMO seeds and farmers whose crops have been infiltrated are vulnerable to lawsuits from Monsanto who owns a vast majority of the genetics on commodity crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton.
Farmers’ fear of being sued by the multi-billion dollar company is not unfounded. According to Monsanto, since 1997, it has filed 145 lawsuits against farmers and settled 700 other disputes out of court.
Today in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Judge Naomi Buchwald will hear complaints from farmers and determine whether or not their case against Monsanto will move forward. Protestor and organic farmer Deb Taft of Mobius Fields in Westchester, New York said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome of this morning's hearings.
Many protestors felt it was an accomplishment in itself that the case has made it to Federal District Court. An unnamed protestor and chef at a local private school said he came out to stand with farmers who finally got their day in court. He has been wary of Monsanto since the mid 1980s, when the issues of genetically modified organisms were mostly talk, rather than reality.
While all of the protestors united around their distrust of and frustration with Monsanto, their specific reasons for being there were varied. Some were concerned with the lack of seed choice now that Monsanto has put many local providers out of business while others were concerned with Monsanto’s global presence (Monsanto is currently being sued for biopiracy in India).
Protestors pointed to a long history of infractions on the part of Monsanto, which they demonstrated by creating a human timeline of the company’s history. Monsanto genetically modified its first plant in 1982, but the company’s story goes back to the beginning of the 20th century. John Francis Queeny, a pharmaceutical industry veteran, founded the company in 1901 and in 1902 Monsanto sold its first product to Coca-Cola — saccharin, the artificial sweetener that has been linked to cancer. Protestors this morning also referenced Monsanto's role as one of the companies that manufactured Agent Orange, an herbicide used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam that has been proven to caues severe health damage and birth defects.
But the protestors main focus today was the effect that that GMOs have on biodiversity and farmer livelihood. Andrew Faust, a permaculture teacher and founder of The Center for Bioregional Living in Ellenville, New York, urged consumers to use their buying power to boycott Monsanto products. Currently, advocacy groups working under the slogan “Right to Know” are lobbying for GMO labeling, which is already required in the European Union and China, and which Monsanto is fighting against.
According to a tweet from someone present in the courtroom, the judge will give her ruling on this morning’s hearings, which ended around 11:30 am, by March 31st. Those interested in supporting the farmers' cause can sign Food Democracy Now!’s pledge to support America’s farmers and donate to the Right to Know campaign.
More at the linkIf you happened to be walking around Lower Manhattan this morning, you might have... more
A week of Occupy Wall Street Maui events kick off today with the establishment of an encampment near the Monsanto offices in Kihei.
A series of marches, rallies and vigils are planned throughout the week as the group expresses their concerns over herbicide use, production of GMO products, and arguments of impacts on small farmers.
An event flyer makes claims of food supply control, government manipulation and environmental poisons.
Monsanto Hawaii Community Affairs Director, Paul Koehler responded to the planned demonstrations saying that while the company respects everyone's right to voice their opinion, he said, "It's unfortunate that a number of misleading and factually incorrect statements about Monsanto and genetically engineered crops continue to circulate."
Koehler said Monsanto Hawaii is working with the Police Department to ensure safety of all during the planned Occupy events. "Our number one concern," he said, "is for the safety of everyone involved, including that of drivers passing by on the highway, pedestrians, our employees and the demonstrators."
More at the linkA week of Occupy Wall Street Maui events kick off today with the establishment of an... more