From cereal in your milk to chips with your sandwich, we Americans consume a lot of corn and soy. Eighty percent of soy and seventy percent of corn we grow are genetically modified (for pesticide and herbicide resistance) and these seeds are commonly called GMO (genetically modified organisms) or GE crops (genetically engineered). Companies such as Monsanto buy rights to these seeds and then permanently own the genetics, forcing farmers to re-buy seeds every year. Monsanto currently sells and ‘owns’ a large majority of modified seed sold to US farmers. The seeds can also be treated with pesticides and herbicides. If these seeds blow onto and take root in a neighboring field, Monsanto can sue the farmer for stealing the seed.
This past month we have seen Global resistance to Monsanto’s seed domination. Haitian farmers do not want Monsanto seed and are vowing to burn a donation that is scheduled for tomorrow’s World Environment Day. Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of Haiti’s National Peasant Movement referenced Monsanto seed entrance as “a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds… and on what is left our environment in Haiti.” Why would Haitians resist receiving tons of seeds? Because Monsanto has a reputation for pushing genetically modified seeds and pesticide-treated seeds on developing countries. These Haitians want to know what they are planting on their land.
On May 17, a group of activists in the Netherlands stopped a Monsanto plant from opening for the day. The group “Roundup Monsanto” wants Monsanto to back away from taking over the seed market. Companies in the European Union have been slower in adopting into Monsanto’s buyouts. Monsanto’s recent buyouts of De Ruiter Seeds, Western Seeds, and Seminis have activated the activists to speak out against policy changes that would make it easier for Monsanto to merge with even more companies. One such activist group is Millions against Monsanto.
Buying locally grown food from farmers who support non-modified seeds, buying organic and buying less products containing corn and soy are easy ways to support the food movement’s resistance to Genetically Modified Seeds. Google “Monsanto”, “GE foods” or “GMOs” for more information and if you find it’s an issue you care about, support your local farmers who grow heirloom and organic varieties.