Last Saturday, tens of thousands of people all around the world participated in the March Against Monsanto. My friend Wendy Gabriel from My Green Side: Simple Tips for Green Living joined the march. I asked her about her experience, and she pointed me to some great resources for learning more about GMOs and how to avoid them.
Robin: Who participated in the March Against Monsanto with you?
Wendy Gabriel: My 6-year-old daughter and a friend and her 6-year-old daughter. It was really great to see the whole experience through their eyes. My daughter's main worry is for the bees because she's a nature lover and has many "pet" bees. Also, my Dad is an organic farmer and he keeps bees, so she understands their importance in the circle of life. Pesticides are one of the leading contributors to bee colony collapse disorder.
Why did you choose to join the march?
I felt it was really important to put myself out there. I have a weekly segment on a local talk radio station, and I talk all the time about why and how to avoid genetically engineered seeds foods. I felt compelled to actively protest one of the main players in the debate.
What outcome would you like to see from Saturday's marches?
I would love to see Monsanto say "OK, we'll find another product to sell and abandon GMOs, pesticides and so on." Since that probably won't happen, I would be happy if these marches made people sit up and think about how our food is being produced. I would be happy if these marches would make members of our government ask questions and demand answers before they OK another Monsanto product. A new concern is the "Frankenapple" which looks like it will be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture this year (yes, it only needs the approval from the agency responsible for protecting agriculture from pests not the FDA which is responsible for protecting human food and animal feed). In a nutshell this obviously non-organic apple will be covered with pesticide residue and genetically altered for cosmetic purposes.
I would also be happy if these marches caused the FDA to require all food that contains genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled as such. At the very least, we have a right to know what's in our food. If others want to find out more information or get involved with the campaign to label our food, visit Just Label It.
How many people were at the march you attended?
There were well over 100 people — which, considering the heavy biotech hold on this region and the population, was a great turnout.
Describe what happened at your march.
We all met up in a local park and after some words about why we were marching from the organizers, we headed up Broadway (the main thoroughfare in downtown Fargo, N.D.,) and peacefully Marched Against Monsanto. Various chants included, "Hey hey, ho ho, we don't want no GMOs," "Save our seeds" and "Label our foods."
A local media collective, Unedited Media live streamed the event.
How did you feel at the end of the day?
I felt proud that we have so many people in our area that are so passionate and extremely well versed in the issues of GMOs. I was also glad that my daughter and the other children marching were able to see a peaceful demonstration and learn more about what a sustainable future should look like.
What's next? Now that the day of the marches is done, what are the next steps you think people should take to spread the word and continue to demand change?
I would advise staying up-to-date on the latest news. Educate your children about the issues and continue to talk to people about why we shouldn't use pesticides. Don't buy foods that contain GMOs. A good resource for avoiding GMOs is the Institute for Responsible Technology's Non-GMO Shopping Guide.
Related posts on MNN:
- Monsanto wins Supreme Court case on GMO soybean seeds
- Vermont is halfway there with GMO labeling
- 5 ways to protect your family from GMOs