Civil society organizations, small-holder and organic farmers, local communities, and social movements globally are increasingly resisting ecocidal and socially destructive industrial agriculture. Corporations like Monsanto have created a global food emergency through genetic engineering of seeds, and resisting labeling genetically modified organisms (GMO) grown for food. 90% of U.S. soybeans, corn, canola, and sugar beets are now genetically engineered and routinely inserted into human and animal foods with no labels or independent safety testing – and GMO food is spreading globally. Monsanto's GMO foods have failed to deliver higher yields or drought-resistance. Sustainable, just and equitable food systems are threatened by patents on seed which create monopolies and make it illegal for farmers to save and exchange their own seed.
Recently the U.S. moved to deregulate several varieties of GMO crops, despite major associated ecological and social issues. The use of GMO crops destroys essential crop diversity, homogenizes food, and eradicates local knowledge and culture. GMO crops are resulting in skyrocketing herbicide use, an epidemic of resistant super-weeds, polluted waterways, public health threats, pollinators dying en masse, genetic pollution, and unparalleled corporate consolidation in the agrochemical and seed industries. After contaminating farmer’s seeds and crops, Monsanto sues farmers for stealing their genes. Seed monopolies push farmers into debt, and have caused 250,000 suicides in India. Health consequences from eating GMO food are still largely unstudied and unknown. No long-term toxicological testing of GMO food is required by any regulatory agency in the world.
We deserve the right to know what we're eating! If GMO crops are not labeled, we have no idea if the food we eat is natural and safe. If farmers do not have their own seed or access to open pollinated varieties that they can save, improve, and exchange, they have no seed sovereignty. Together we must commit ourselves to defending the freedom of human communities to reclaim open source seed and natural foods as a commons. To this end, we must save seed, and create community seed banks and seed libraries. We must resist any law that illegitimately patents seed as the private property of corporations, and demand that GMO foods are labeled. Conventionally bred, locally adapted crops, used in combination with agro-ecological farming practices, offer a proven, sustainable approach to ensuring high-yielding, pest and disease-resistant, drought-tolerant, and nutritionally improved crops – as well as global food security.
The global food emergency created by patents on seeds and lack of GMO food labeling is spurring a global collective response. An Indian campaign for Seed Freedom will be celebrating Ghandi’s birthday on October 2nd by declaring "No Patents On Seeds" (see below for more information). The Seed Freedom movement seeks to stop the corporate hijack of seed, noting seed freedom is the birth right of every farmer, and seeds are the embodiment of bio-cultural diversity. California is poised to be the first state with mandatory GMO labeling laws through a ballot initiative on November 6th. Polls show over 80% support mandatory labeling. A Global Week of Action Against Monsanto plans protests and direct action at Monsanto facilities starting on September 17th. Let Monsanto know below that we are reclaiming our faith in non-NGO, natural seeds.
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No one can say with certainty that genetically modified food is safe - we have a right to natural seeds, and to have GMO foods labeled
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