This Saturday at 2PM I will be in Oshawa marching with my daughter (if she can stay awake) against one of the scariest companies on the planet - MONSANTO.
I first became aware of this company after watching the incredible film Food, inc. They are a seed and pesticide (among other things) company that have taken over corn, soybean, and cotton production crops - just to name a few. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are plants/animals created through gene splicing and merging DNA from different species. The concept of GMOs started out as a good idea with supporters touting how they could create bigger and better crops and be the solution to world hunger. Instead, bugs and weeds that were supposed to be blocked by GMOs and their partner pesticides and herbicides have evolved to super strength so farmers have to use MORE chemicals to beat them.
Another issue (that is more ethical than environmental) surrounding GMO seed is the idea of patents. Before GMO seed farmers would save seed from year to year to start their next crop. This is a practice that has been going on since humans started to plant anything! Now companies like MONSANTO own patents to their seeds and require farmers to sign contracts that prohibit saving and re-planting seed. This restricts biodiversity AND makes the farmers beholden to the company for their livelihoods. Since 2001 the price of Monsanto GMO soybean and corn seed has more than doubled. Cases have gone to court (like Bowman vs. Monsanto where patents have successfully been defended at the expense of the 'little guy.'
Finally, many companies that patent GMO seeds also "develop and patent the pesticides and herbicides to which the unique seeds are resistant. Monsanto is the largest seed company in the world and owns about 86% of GMO seeds sown globally. It is also the parent of Roundup." (davidsuzuki.org, Queen of Green, Understanding GMO) So once the farmer pays through the nose for the seed, signs the contract, and ensures that approximately. 70% of their inventory is from the same supplier (to avoid cross pollination), they then need to spray continuously with Roundup (what the seed is genetically modified to withstand) which is owned by the same parent company! I love farmers - especially ones who are independent and want to grow good food for me and my family. So not only am I marching for the environment and against big corporation on saturday - but I am also marching for that farmer who is trying to do a good job. Join me and find your closest march by clicking this link: occupy monsanto.
P.S. The Non-GMO Project is a great organization/site to visit if you want to learn more about GMOs and how to avoid them. They have an excellent search engine where you can verify products and see which ones have earned their third party verification seal: