Growing opposition to Monsanto Corporation’s production of genetically modified foods, along with its acquisition of special protection by the U.S. Congress, solidified May 25, 2013 with a global March Against Monsanto.
According to the movement’s official website, the grassroots activist campaign listed five reasons why the movement has organized against the multinational corporation:
• Monsanto’s genetically modified foods have been found by recent research to be linked to cancerous tumors, birth defects and infertility.
• The U.S Food and Drug Administration, responsible for ensuring food safety for Americans, is staffed by former Monsanto executives. The March Against Monsanto finds this to be a conflict of interest and alleges the conflict is the reason for a lack of government study of the long-term effects of genetically modified foods.
• The U.S. Congress recently passed legislation that has been nicknamed “The Monsanto Protection Act” that bans courts from stopping the sale of genetically modified seeds produced by Monsanto.
• Monsanto receives corporate subsidies and political favoritism from U.S. officials. The movement contends that small farmers and organic growers are suffering losses while Monsanto creates a monopoly on the world’s food supplies, especially patenting seeds and plant genetics.
• Scientific studies have found that Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds have harmed the environment. Specifically, research found that genetically modified seeds and Monsanto-produced pesticides contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder, the catastrophe affecting the world’s bee populations.
The March Against Monsanto advocates a range of solutions to the global threat it perceives. These include encouraging consumers to:
• Buy organic food and boycott Monsanto and its subsidiaries using genetically modified products, known as GMOs (“genetically modified organism”).
• Demand GMO labels so that consumers can make informed purchases.
• Repeal the “Monsanto Protection Act.”
• Advocate more scientific research on the effects of GMOs.
• Hold Monsanto executives and their political supporters accountable through social media, direct communications, advocacy and alternative media, etc.
• Educate themselves about Monsanto’s practices and products.
• Demonstrate publicly to show opposition to Monsanto’s practices and products.
An article on AlterNet.com about the May 25 march reported that the worldwide effort against Monsanto appears to be gaining momentum, judging by the drop in its stock value after the global demonstrations. The article by April M. Short also quoted Pamm Larry, a California grandmother who spearheaded the campaign for the state’s Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative (Prop. 37). Short quoted Lamm: “It’s the little tiny things that add up, which have made this movement explode around the world and the country, and I’m so excited to see that it’s moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas getting out there.”
Now that the May 25 march is over, the March Against Monsanto movement encourages concerned people everywhere to “make the march local,” according to its website. The campaign notes that it is a “decentralized” movement in which participants are encouraged to adapt local approaches to local needs and realities.
Suggestions for continuing the campaign include holding educational events, starting organic and local food co-ops, and starting local individual and community gardens. These strategies are aimed at circumventing the agribusiness culture held by Monsanto and other food purveyors, assuring consumers of food without pesticides or genetically modified organisms, and providing for local supervision of the food chain, according to the movement’s website.