March 16, 2011
Rally against Monsanto planned in Salem on March 26th
The "Millions Against Monsanto" rally is a nation-wide event scheduled for Saturday, March 26th. A central rally will occur on The White House Sidewalk in Washington DC, with several simultaneous demonstrations across the country. Rallies are planned for Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Atlanta, among other major cities.
Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation based in the United States. Monsanto is the creator of the herbicide Roundup; co-creator of Agent Orange; creator of synthetic bovine growth hormone rBST; and is the world's leading producer of genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto's disturbing track record has made them controversial throughout the world.
G. Michael Eakin is helping to organize the rally in Salem, Oregon. According to Eakin, the purpose of these rallies is to increase awareness about genetically modified organisms (GMO) and send a clear message to elected officials.
I joined Eakin for a conversation about the rally and his concerns over GM foods.
Living Culture: Could you explain the purpose of this rally in Salem?
Eakin: The purpose of the rally in Salem is to let our state and federal governments know that we do not want GMO products on our shelves. More importantly we want to know what's in the products that we are eating. If corporations insist on using GMO products we insist that they label it on each and every product. Furthermore, we want to know if our meat products have been factory farmed or not. Proper labeling is what we are asking for.
Living Culture: What do you hope to accomplish?
Eakin: First and foremost we want our voices to be heard by our state and federal governments. We are holding this rally in correlation with the main rally in DC and people are organizing in at least a dozen other state capitols. But here in Salem we want to inform people about who and what Monsanto is and we are asking them to sign a petition asking for proper labeling.
Living Culture: Why should we be concerned about Monsanto and GM crops?
Eakin: We should be concerned about Monsanto because they have set the standard for GMO products, they are also the first company to own patents on seed stocks. Furthermore, their production of GMO products as evolved crops that are "Round-Up ready", meaning that they are genetically resistant to the weed killer. Monsanto has also developed an anti-seed gene that stops the plant from reproducing. This causes the farmers to have to buy seeds again every year. As if this all is not enough, Monsanto has spent the past fifteen years taking legal action against US farmers for their unknown use of Monsanto seed stock.
Living Culture: How did you get involved with this cause and this particular event in Salem?
Eakin: I got involved with this cause firstly because of my love of delicious food that gives my body the fuel it needs. The beginning of my quest for information on how my food in the US is produced was sparked by the documentary "The future of Food". It entails many plights of the farmers that have been prosecuted by Monsanto. I then began more research into what Monsanto owns and what they represent, according to their business practices. This particular event I discovered on Facebook. This rally, as I have mentioned before, is the corresponding rally to the main one being held in Washington DC. This event in Salem is an attempt to show our state officials that we care about our food and it also shows our federal government that we can unite in voice across this country. Give thanks and praise to the internet.
Millions Against Monsanto - Rally for the Right to Know
Saturday, March 26th 12pm - 3pm
900 Court St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301
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