John E. Peck, executive director, Family Farm Defenders 608-345-3918
Sat. March 25th 1:00 pm State St. corner WI State Capitol
Family Farm Defenders members will be joining the worldwide March Against Monsanto scheduled for Sat. March 25th. Events are planned in 250 cities around the globe in 36 different countries, including actions in 47 states across the U.S. all occurring simultaneously at 11:00 am PST/12:00 Noon MST/1:00 pm CST/2:00 pm EST.
One of several Wisconsin March Against Monsanto actions will be happening in Madison at the conclusion of the Dane County Farmers Market with a speak-out and march beginning at 1:00 pm at the State St. corner. Speakers include organic dairy farmers and FFD board members, Jim & Rebecca Goodman, who recently wrote an oped against Monsanto featured below.
Rumor has it that a replica of Monsanto’s latest biotech sweet corn variety will be making an appearance at the Dane County Farmers Market. At the Madison, WI event consumers will also have the opportunity to dump dangerous unlabelled genetically engineered food products into a garbage can for proper disposal.
Don’t Believe the Lies, Monsanto Won’t Feed the World
By: Jim Goodman, Organic Dairy Farmer near Wonewoc, WI and Board Member of Family Farm Defenders
“A lie told often enough becomes the truth” and the food industry, specifically, the Genetically Modified (GM) food industry has been telling a series of whoppers for decades.
These “big lies” do not benefit society, on the contrary they diminish the common good. They drive people into poverty, injure, kill and foster genocide. Lies are seldom victimless. We have been told GM can feed the world, but it is a lie.
As Steve Smith head of Novartis noted in 2000, GM will not feed the world, —- that takes political and financial will.
There is political will all right, but it is a political will to promote corporate profit above all else. Corporations, we are told, are people, very special people, people whose profit counts for more than “real” people, or the planet.
Perhaps more importantly, feeding the world will take farmers who rely on their own skills and knowledge of their land. Farmers who know what crops are best suited to their environs, and their culture. The world will be fed by crop diversity and personal connections to the land, not a GM mono-culture.
For over 30 years the world has been lied to consistently and very effectively by the “university-industrial complex”. Many university researchers were and still are, true believers in the “promise” of GM technology. The promise to feed the world and protect the environment. Many work with the best of intentions, at least in their way of thinking, or in their way of rationalizing.
University administrations believe in GM technology, if for no other reason than it is a mechanism for pulling millions of dollars in research money into their institutions– and in the real world, research will be done on what pays, not necessarily what is just, right, or actually works. Researchers like Jonas Salk, who had little interest in personal profit, are few and far between.
Prior to WWII farming, world-wide, was nearly equivalent to what we now know as Organic Farming. There were few synthetic crop or livestock chemicals, antibiotics were used judiciously, farmers relied on seed saving and a knowledge base that was developed over generations.
Agricultural chemicals were, in essence, the result of converting war time chemical production into agricultural chemical production. The real demand was for a means to continue a profitable industry. Fertilizers and pesticides replaced explosives and war time chemicals and agriculture became the new market.
True, food production (both in acreage and yield) did increase, but that increased yield depended on increasing applications of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. More seeds, more fertilizer, more pesticides. Monsanto and their bio-tech counterparts are now reshaping food production into an industrial process, one that few governments can or will challenge.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the “People’s Department” seems inclined to push the corporate agenda of Agribusiness, not the people’s agenda. While the public asks for food that is just, green, fair and healthy, their needs are secondary to increasing corporate profit. Labeling GM food? Forget it.
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) responsibility to protect the public health and regulate the safety of food has been severely compromised by a succession of “revolving door” administrative appointments of former industry executives. Once regulations favorable to the GM and agricultural chemical industry are in place, they revolve back to their highly profitable industry positions.
The mission of the US Department of State is “To create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community”. How does their aggressive strategy to promote agricultural biotechnology fit into that mission? How does promoting corporate profit over culturally appropriate and sustainable agriculture make the international community more prosperous or promote Food Sovereignty?
“It would take an act of Congress” to change the situation, but clearly, that is unlikely as corporate lobbyists and corporate campaign donations have swayed most of Congress to be more inclined to support corporate wishes rather than the good of the people.
By including the “farmer assurance provision”, or “The Monsanto Protection Act” in the Appropriations Committee continuing resolution, Congress has, used “an act of Congress”, to prevent the federal courts from halting the planting of GM crops if they are reassessing the USDA’s approval protocol, environmental or safety concerns.
So, there you have it, all three branches of the government are, in effect, in the pocket of the bio-tech industry.
While Monsanto has a history of riding roughshod over public opinion and the ability to get their way in Washington, they have also become the symbol of corporate domination. In their case it is domination, perhaps even ownership of the food system in America.
Corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, their patented genes are found in nearly all processed food. While Monsanto routinely sues farmers for patent infringement, farmers who do not plant GM crops bear all responsibility for protecting their crops from GM contamination.
The International March Against Monsanto is May 25th. Food should be controlled by farmers and consumers, not corporations. Governments seem unwilling to act, so grassroots action is all we have. March against Monsanto May 25. Reject corporate ownership of the food system every day, don’t believe the lies.