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Nationwide, October 16, 2011: World Food Day Rallies for the Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Foods
In the United States, there are few causes that nine out of ten people support, but 90% of consumers agree that we deserve the right to know about genetically engineered foods.

If almost everyone wants them, why aren’t there labels on genetically engineered foods? Because we haven’t yet built up a large enough movement to force companies, grocery stores, and elected public officials to bend to the peoples’ will. That’s what OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign is all about.

We have an opportunity now to greatly increase involvement and action in the Millions Against Monsanto campaign for labels on genetically engineered foods.

Please join us in your area on World Food Day, October 16, 2011, for one of numerous local events in the Millions Against Monsanto Right to Know campaign.

Volunteer for the Millions Against Monsanto campaign

RSVP for World Food Day on Facebook

Find out what’s happening where you live

Read more about World Food Day

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JUST GOT THIS IN FROM THE ORGANIC CONSUMER’S ASSOCIATION:

As part of OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto Truth-in-Labeling Campaign we are encouraging activists in our network to plan their own campaign event with others in their area. This email is to inform you that there are upcoming events near you, organized by grassroots organizers who care about the GE-labeling issue as much as you do.

Food Activist Pamm Larry, who is spearheading the effort to get GMO Labeling on the California Ballot in 2012 (labelGMOs.org), is speaking at a series of informational events in your area. The goal is to pass a voter initiative on the November 2012 ballot that would require all foods containing GMOs to be labeled.

These meetings are for activists to come together to learn about the initiative, how we suggest being activists in your community and organizing into a new cohesive group. We will be asking for folks to think about committees they want to be on and assign a point person.

Please come ready to “roll your sleeves up” and get to work on what is
sure to be a historic ballot measure.

Thursday, August 4th, Redway
Time: 4pm
1055 Redway Dr., Redway
Contact: Pamm 530-570-6827 plarry@labelgmos.org

Friday, August 5th, Fairfax, Marin County
Time: 6:30pm
Potluck at Mark’s House, 212 Frustuck Ave, Fairfax
Contact: Pamm at plarry@labelgmos.org for location

Saturday, August 6th, San Francisco
Time: 12pm
Center for Political Education, 522 Valencia (@16th St.), Mission District
Contact: Pamm 530-570-6827 plarry@labelgmos.org
Co-sponsored by California Biosafety Alliance http://biosafetyalliance.org/

After the meeting, there will be a short documentary called “Biodiversity Without GMO Crops” and information about the “Justice Begins With Seeds” conference in San Francisco September 16-17, 2011.

Sunday, August 7th, Berkeley
Time: 11am
Renegade Health Office, 2490 5th Street, Berkeley
Contact: Kevin Gianni kevingianni@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 9th, Grass Valley
Time: 7pm
Briarpatch Community Room, 290 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley
Contact: Pamm 530-570-6827 plarry@labelgmos.org

Wednesday, August 10th, Chico
Time: 5:30pm
Upper Crust, 130 Main St., Chico
Contact: Pamm 530-570-6827 plarry@labelgmos.org

Sunday, August 14th, Sacramento
Time: 3pm
The Learning Center, Sacramento Natural Foods Cooperative, 1900 Alhambra Blvd.
Contact: Pamm 530-570-6827 plarry@lablegmos.org

Then Pamm will be on a panel after the Slow Foods of Sacramento screening of “The End Of The Line” that evening at 7pm at The Guild Theater, 2828 35th St.
Visit http://www.labelgmos.org to find out more about the ballot initiative efforts.

Join your local OCA chapter and keep up to date on the food and farming news in California here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/state/CA.cfm

Can’t attend, but want to organize your own event? Email us at chapters@organicconsumers.org and we’ll help you out any way we can!

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Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet team emphasizes urban agriculture as a means of increasing food security, empowering women, and protecting the environment.

read more here…

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 24, 2011 – Today, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) was informed by Assemblymember Huffman’s office that they have decided to hold AB 88—the California bill which would require that all genetically engineered (GE) fish sold in California contain clear and prominent labeling—as a 2-year bill. This means it will not be up for a second vote in the Appropriations Committee this week and will instead be held until next year when it will go through the committee process again. This will give CFS and other organizations working on the bill more time to educate California legislators about the importance of this bill and its role in protecting consumer’s right to know how they’re food is produced.

read more from the Center for Food Safety’s website:

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May 4, 2011 –

In Wake Of Pending FDA Approval Of GE Salmon, California Bill Could Restore Americans’ Right To Choose In The Marketplace

Dissatisfied with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current review of the first-ever proposed commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) salmon, late yesterday the California Assembly Health Committee approved a bill which would require that all GE fish sold in California contain clear and prominent labeling. The bill, AB 88, was introduced by Assemblymember Jared Huffman. The Center for Food Safety (CFS), a co-sponsor of the bill, applauds the Health Committee for protecting the public’s right to know how their food is produced.

“The FDA has indicated that it will not require these GE fish to be labeled once they are approved,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety. “As such, it is incumbent on the California State legislature, starting with the Health Committee, to let the people of California make informed choices about the food they eat by requiring the labeling of GE fish sold in California.”

Read more from the Center for Food Safety here.

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If you listen to NPR, you might have been surprised to hear a story that ran last week on the program Marketplace that sounded as if it were written by Monsanto itself.

The report, entitled “The Non-Organic Future,” claimed that the only way to feed the world is to give poor farmers fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified seeds.

Pedro Sanchez, a proponent of industrial agriculture who works as a soil scientist at Columbia University, is the mouthpiece for the absurd proposition that soil is “like a bank account, you’ve got to have a positive balance, and if you deposit only organics, you’re going to go broke.”

In a comment posted at Marketplace’s website, Anna Lappé, author of Diet for a Hot Planet, pointed to a gaping hole in their reporting: the failure to acknowledge the 2009 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD) Report, a joint project of the U.N. and the World Bank, among other agencies. Here’s Anna’s apt description of the report:

“The groundbreaking study brought together 400 experts who worked for 4.5 years to explore the most efficient, productive, and sustainable strategy for feeding the world. The conclusion – quite the opposite of the one reached by those quoted in this segment – stated in no uncertain terms that we must move away from chemical- and fossil[-fuel]-dependent agriculture, which by the way includes biotech.

“Business as usual is not an option, was the radical consensus. Instead, small-scale and mid-scale agroecological farming holds our best hope for feeding the world safe, healthy food, all without undermining our natural capital.”

As the IAASTD report shows, Sanchez’s view is hardly the only or even the dominant view among development experts about how to “feed the world.” Indeed, if there is a consensus, Sanchez’s views are in the minority.

Listeners might chalk the whole thing up to sloppy reporting, if it weren’t for the fact that over the last couple of years, Marketplace has been underwritten by Monsanto, and the program’s been running ads that tout Monsanto as a sustainable agriculture innovator! Rather than being sloppy, it turns out that the reporting is actually a carefully constructed thank-you gift for a prized advertiser!

If you find this type of corporate influence and media bias unacceptable, please ask American Public Media, producers of Marketplace, to stop spreading Monsanto’s lies.

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ORGANIC FARMERS AND SEED SELLERS SUE MONSANTO TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROMPATENTS ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEED: Preemptive Action Seeks Ruling
That Would Prohibit Monsanto From Suing Organic Farmers and Seed Growers
If Contaminated By Roundup Ready Seed

NEW YORK – March 29, 2011 – On behalf of 60 family farmers, seed
businesses and organic agricultural organizations, the Public Patent
Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit today
(http://www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OSGATA-v-Monsanto-Complaint.pdf)
against
Monsanto Company to challenge the chemical giant’s patents on
genetically modified seed.  The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue
preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent
infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s
genetically modified seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the
past.

The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto,
was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge
Naomi Buchwald.  Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of
family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the
organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by
genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts
to avoid it.  The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members,
including thousands of certified organic family farmers.

“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers
for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed should land on
their property,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive Director and
Lecturer of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. “It
seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic
seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such
accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers
for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of
our clients.”

Once released into the environment, genetically modified seed
contaminates and destroys organic seed for the same crop.  For example,
soon after Monsanto introduced genetically modified seed for canola,
organic canola became virtually extinct as a result of contamination.
Organic corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and alfalfa now face the
same fate, as Monsanto has released genetically modified seed for each
of those crops, too.  Monsanto is developing genetically modified seed
for many other crops, thus putting the future of all food, and indeed
all agriculture, at stake.

In the case, PUBPAT is asking Judge Buchwald to declare that if organic
farmers are ever contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed,
they need not fear also being accused of patent infringement.  One
reason justifying this result is that Monsanto’s patents on genetically
modified seed are invalid because they don’t meet the “usefulness”
requirement of patent law, according to PUBPAT’s Ravicher, plaintiffs’
lead attorney in the case.  Evidence cited by PUBPAT in its opening
filing today proves that genetically modified seed has negative economic
and health effects, while the promised benefits of genetically modified
seed – increased production and decreased herbicide use – are false.

“Some say transgenic seed can coexist with organic seed, but history
tells us that’s not possible, and it’s actually in Monsanto’s financial
interest to eliminate organic seed so that they can have a total
monopoly over our food supply,” said Ravicher.  “Monsanto is the same
chemical company that previously brought us Agent Orange, DDT, PCB’s and
other toxins, which they said were safe, but we know are not.  Now
Monsanto says transgenic seed is safe, but evidence clearly shows it is
not.”

The plaintiffs in the suit represented by PUBPAT are: Organic Seed
Growers and Trade Association; Organic Crop Improvement Association
International, Inc.; OCIA Research and Education Inc.; The Cornucopia
Institute; Demeter Association, Inc.; Navdanya International; Maine
Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; Northeast Organic Farming
Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.; Northeast Organic Farming
Association of Vermont; Rural Vermont; Ohio Ecological Food & Farm
Association; Southeast Iowa Organic Association; Northern Plains
Sustainable Agriculture Society; Mendocino Organic Network; Northeast
Organic Dairy Producers Alliance; Canadian Organic Growers; Family
Farmer Seed Cooperative; Sustainable Living Systems; Global Organic
Alliance; Food Democracy Now!; Family Farm Defenders Inc.;
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund; FEDCO Seeds Inc.; Adaptive Seeds,
LLC; Sow True Seed; Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Mumm’s Sprouting
Seeds; Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., LLC; Comstock, Ferre & Co., LLC;
Seedkeepers, LLC; Siskiyou Seeds; Countryside Organics; Cuatro Puertas;
Interlake Forage Seeds Ltd.; Alba Ranch; Wild Plum Farm; Gratitude
Gardens; Richard Everett Farm, LLC; Philadelphia Community Farm, Inc;
Genesis Farm; Chispas Farms LLC; Kirschenmann Family Farms Inc.;
Midheaven Farms; Koskan Farms; California Cloverleaf Farms; North
Outback Farm; Taylor Farms, Inc.; Jardin del Alma; Ron Gargasz Organic
Farms; Abundant Acres; T & D Willey Farms; Quinella Ranch; Nature’s Way
Farm Ltd.; Levke and Peter Eggers Farm; Frey Vineyards, Ltd.; Bryce
Stephens; Chuck Noble; LaRhea Pepper; Paul Romero; and, Donald Wright
Patterson, Jr.

Many of the plaintiffs made statements upon filing of the suit today.

Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine who raises organic seed and is
President of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
based in Montrose, Colorado, said, “Today is Independence Day for
America.  Today we are seeking protection from the Court and putting
Monsanto on notice.  Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers
stops here.  Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and
organic crops ends now.  Americans have the right to choice in the
marketplace – to decide what kind of food they will feed their families
– and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to
choose.  Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops for
our families and our customers on our farms without the threat of
invasion by Monsanto’s genetic contamination and without harassment by a
reckless polluter. Beginning today, America asserts her right to justice
and pure food.”

Dr. Carol Goland, Ph.D., Executive Director of plaintiff Ohio Ecological
Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) said, “Consumers indicate,
overwhelmingly, that they prefer foods made without genetically modified
organisms.  Organic farms, by regulation, may not use GMOs, while other
farmers forego using them for other reasons.  Yet the truth is that we
are rapidly approaching the tipping point when we will be unable to
avoid GMOs in our fields and on our plates.  That is the inevitable
consequence of releasing genetically engineered materials into the
environment.  To add injury to injury, Monsanto has a history of suing
farmers whose fields have been contaminated by Monsanto’s GMOs.  On
behalf of farmers who must live under this cloud of uncertainty and
risk, we are compelled to ask the Court to put an end to this
unconscionable business practice.”

Rose Marie Burroughs of plaintiff California Cloverleaf Farms said, “The
devastation caused by GMO contamination is an ecological catastrophe to
our world equal to the fall out of nuclear radiation.  Nature, farming
and health are all being affected by GMO contamination.  We must protect
our world by protecting our most precious, sacred resource of seed
sovereignty.  People must have the right to the resources of the earth
for our sustenance.  We must have the freedom to farm that causes no
harm to the environment or to other people.  We must protect the
environment, farmers livelihood, public health and people’s right to non
GMO food contamination.”

Ed Maltby, Executive Director of plaintiff Northeast Organic Dairy
Producers Alliance (NODPA) said, “It’s outrageous that we find ourselves
in a situation where the financial burden of GE contamination will fall
on family farmers who have not asked for or contributed to the growth of
GE crops.  Family farmers will face contamination of their crops by GE
seed which will threaten their ability to sell crops as organically
certified or into the rapidly growing ‘Buy Local’ market where consumers
have overwhelmingly declared they do not want any GE crops, and then
family farmers may be faced by a lawsuit by Monsanto for patent
infringement.  We take this action to protect family farms who once
again have to bear the consequences of irresponsible actions by Monsanto.”

David L. Rogers, Policy Advisor for plaintiff NOFA Vermont said,
“Vermont’s farmers have worked hard to meet consumers’ growing demand
for certified organic and non-GE food.  It is of great concern to them
that Monsanto’s continuing and irresponsible marketing of GE crops that
contaminate non-GE plantings will increasingly place their local and
regional markets at risk and threaten their livelihoods.”

Dewane Morgan of plaintiff Midheaven Farms in Park Rapids, Minnesota,
said, “For organic certification, farmers are required to have a buffer
zone around their perimeter fields. Crops harvested from this buffer
zone are not eligible for certification due to potential drift from
herbicide and fungicide drift. Buffer zones are useless against pollen
drift.  Organic, biodynamic, and conventional farmers who grow
identity-preserved soybeans, wheat and open-pollinated corn often save
seed for replanting the next year. It is illogical that these farmers
are liable for cross-pollination contamination.”

Jill Davies, Director of plaintiff Sustainable Living Systems in Victor,
Montana, said, “The building blocks of life are sacred and should be in
the public domain.  If scientists want to study and manipulate them for
some supposed common good, fine.  Then we must remove the profit motive.
The private profit motive corrupts pure science and increasingly
precludes democratic participation.”

David Murphy, founder and Executive Director of plaintiff Food Democracy
Now! said, “None of Monsanto’s original promises regarding genetically
modified seeds have come true after 15 years of wide adoption by
commodity farmers. Rather than increased yields or less chemical usage,
farmers are facing more crop diseases, an onslaught of
herbicide-resistant superweeds, and increased costs from additional
herbicide application. Even more appalling is the fact that Monsanto’s
patented genes can blow onto another farmer’s fields and that farmer not
only loses significant revenue in the market but is frequently exposed
to legal action against them by Monsanto’s team of belligerent lawyers.
Crop biotechnology has been a miserable failure economically and
biologically and now threatens to undermine the basic freedoms that
farmers and consumers have enjoyed in our constitutional democracy.”

Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for plaintiff The Cornucopia
Institute said, “Family-scale farmers desperately need the judiciary
branch of our government to balance the power Monsanto is able to wield
in the marketplace and in the courts.  Monsanto, and the biotechnology
industry, have made great investments in our executive and legislative
branches through campaign contributions and powerful lobbyists in
Washington.  We need to court system to offset this power and protect
individual farmers from corporate tyranny.  Farmers have saved seeds
since the beginning of agriculture by our species.  It is outrageous
that one corporate entity, through the trespass of what they refer to as
their ‘technology,’ can intimidate and run roughshod over family farmers
in this country.  It should be the responsibility of Monsanto, and
farmers licensing their technology, to ensure that genetically
engineered DNA does not trespass onto neighboring farmland.  It is
outrageous, that through no fault of their own, farmers are being
intimidated into not saving seed for fear that they will be doggedly
pursued through the court system and potentially bankrupted.”

ABOUT PUBPAT

The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) is a not-for-profit legal services
organization affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
PUBPAT protects freedom in the patent system by representing the public
interest against undeserved patents and unsound patent policy.  More
information about PUBPAT is available from www.pubpat.org.

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Join this strategy session to take action in response to new, unlabeled genetically modified organisms (GMOs) entering our food supply, increasing the use of dangerous farm chemicals, contaminating organics, and damaging human, animal, plant and soil health with novel diseases and allergens. We’ll hatch real-life, anti-GMO action ideas to take out of the Green Festival and into the streets. A presentation by Deborah Koons Garcia (Director The Future of Food) and Alexis Baden-Mayer of the Organic Consumers Association

Time: Saturday, April 9th 10:30am to 11:15am
Location: Home & Garden Pavilion, SF Green Festival

http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/index.cfm#summits

 

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