This time, a group of organizations, several of which High Mowing Organic Seeds is a proud member, are suing for legal protection against Monsanto’s transgenic pollen drift. The lawsuit asks courts to protect organic farmers from transgenic contamination by GE-crops, which results in a loss of value of the products (now no longer able to be sold as organic) and has also resulted in Monsanto pursuing patent-infringement lawsuits against the very farmers whose crop has just been contaminated.
Several other seed companies, farmers and advocacy groups have joined together to take Monsanto to court. High Mowing is a supporter of this lawsuit as a member of the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association (OSGATA), the lead plaintiff in the suit, and also through our membership in the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), the Center for Food Safety, and other organizations listed in the lawsuit.
You can join these voices and many others by signing an online petition, on Food Democracy Now’s website – or by attending the court hearing in Manhattan on Tuesday, January 31st.
Supporters will be gathering in and outside of the courthouse on Tuesday to show that, in the words of OSGATA president, Maine farmer Jim Gerritsen: “organic famers 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”!
Learn more on OSGATA’s website.
Monsanto – Remember the Last Time We Saw You in Court?
All this talk about Monsanto and lawsuits takes us back… in 2008, High Mowing Organic Seeds joined with several other organizations – Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice – to challenge USDA approval and deregulation of genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” sugar beets in court.
High Mowing’s concern was that pollen from GE sugar beets could contaminate organic seed production of related crops – beets, spinach and chard – rendering those crops unsalable as organic seed. Another threat was the possible loss of varietal integrity since the region where sugar beet production is concentrated – Oregon’s Willamette Valley – is also home to the majority of beet, spinach and chard seed production in the United States.
In 2009, the federal courts sided with High Mowing and friends and revoked the USDA approval of GE sugar beets and required the USDA to complete an Environmental Impact Statement. Monsanto appealed this decision, but in 2010 the court again ruled again in our favor.
The USDA is now conducting an Environmental Impact Statement, the results of which are due out in mid-June of this year.
For more information, you can read an article we wrote about this case when it first happened.
A few GMO not-so-fun facts:
From a presenter at the recent NOFA-NY conference, Jim Riddle from the University of Minnesota:
- Scientists in North Dakota have found that genetically engineered canola has escaped and cross-pollinated with wild relatives, creating transgenic weeds that are resistant to herbicides
- Researchers from Notre Dame, Loyola, Indiana and Southern Illinois Universities found residues of the bacteria in GE corn biologically active in soil and water 6 months after corn harvest, and that the bacteria has been shown to disrupt the lifecycle of the caddis fly larva which is a food source for other fish
- A decline in the Monarch butterfly population as been attributed to the broadening application of Round-up, now used more liberally on “Roundup Ready” crops, is killing milkweed, a main food source for Monarch butterflies