By: Mike Gioscia
I always found the late 60s activism footage, and rock and roll connection, fascinating. The ‘kids’ seemed much more connected to the political landscape than my college generation of the eighties. What was our cause? Our fight? Did we actually have it better, or was it the beginning of the public being lulled to sleep with creature comforts?
I thought of the 60s again during The March Against Monsanto over Memorial Day Weekend. My wife and I marched in Boston, in the rain, with our kids, ages 10 and 9. They now ask ‘Is this GMO?’ before eating anything. We’ve finally found our cause, and it’s US. Our food. Our kids. Our future.
Before the March last Saturday (which drew over 2 MILLION supporters worldwide!) I spoke with the Founder of The March Against Monsanto, and other MAM organizers, as well as the ‘instigator’ of Prop 37 in California.
Mike: Why should people be aware of GMOs in our food?
Tami Canal (Founder ‘March Against Monsanto’): It’s really the big issue for our time, GMOs are a direct assault on health. There have been countless studies linking GMOs to autism, diabetes, sterility, cancer, infertility and organ failure. The March Against Monsanto is about consumer awareness. We want parents to know what they’re feeding their kids. 86% of the corn grown in this country and I believe 92% of the soy are genetically modified. For lack of a better term it’s an epidemic we’re facing. All signs are pointing to detrimental catastrophic health issues in the long run.
Dorothy Muehlmann (Los Angeles MAM organizer): People don’t even know what a genetically modified organism is! People have the right to know, and the right to choose. We can’t have these GMOs in food and people not being able to choose whether they want them in their bodies or not. Monsanto made Agent Orange and DDT. We can’t be science experiments for these people.
Gabrielle Agachiko (Boston MAM organizer): GMO plants and the pesticides used to grow them are linked to the losses in our bee colonies, and the monarch butterflies. We as human beings do not have the right to do this genomic slicing and dicing, and the government has decided it’s perfectly fine to use your body as a science experiment without your consent.
Erik Rooijakers (The Netherlands MAM organizer): Test results of GMOs on animals are very disturbing. But nothing is done about it. People should know about it. We pay taxes here for people to find out what is safe and what is not. If these people, by cherry picking, are working for these big companies and later signing their own reports in government, they are not to be trusted anymore.
Pamm Larry (http://www.labelgmos.org/): I started Prop 37 in 2011. I was frustrated and angry about our food supply. These large chemical companies are colluding with our government to keep from the people the information that foods contain genetically engineered ingredients. I don’t want to eat them, and when others find out what they are they don’t want to eat them either. Prop 37 has sparked a nationwide movement and that’s pretty darn cool.
Mike: Explain why it’s so important for people to march and be seen, as opposed to just signing internet petitions.
Pamm: It’s important for the public to see us to come together peacefully. We’re often portrayed as lunatic luddites or hippies, which just isn’t true; I’m a grandmother! We have all types of people here, from all backgrounds, soccer moms, conservatives, farmers, everybody. Nothing happened in the Civil Rights Movement until people came out together; not much happened in India with Ghandi until masses hit the street. This is a people’s movement, but the people need to show up.
Tami: We live in a technology based world, and we may think we’re sitting at our computer’s ‘fighting the good fight’, but actually having our feet on the ground, being a tangible force, will say a lot more to the politicians and the media and Monsanto about the cause. These actions will culminate to bigger ones.
Dorothy: It’s a public outcry. People can stand up, be seen, and say ‘you will no longer operate in secrecy and use the population as human guinea pigs’. We need to educate, and arm everyone with real sustainable solutions to health, and lessen the divide between organic and GMO food.
Erik: We are far behind in our information. When you go into the supermarket you don’t see Monsanto, it’s not a brand. We need to educate people. This march will do that.
Mike: Many people want to March but can’t; how can people get involved TODAY, at home, with the fight against GMOs?
Gabrielle: Do some research and find out what GMOs are all about. We have to pay attention to the connectivity of all of this. Our food, health, big pharma, privatized water, and power, it’s all intertwined. We need to encourage home and community gardening. Take back some control. Advocate for GMO-free food choices in your local market and shops. They will listen to you. They want your business.
Tami: Planting an heirloom non GMO garden is the best way to become sustainable. If you can’t plant a garden, buy local, support your farmers. Educate the people in your life about GMOs. And boycott products that serve GMO products, such as Kelloggs.
Pamm: Start with changing your oils. Don’t use Canola oil, corn oil or soy oil. That’s a good start. We are the ones buying this stuff, but when we change our practices they will go away.
Dorothy: It’s about money for these companies, so hit them in the wallet. If people could start swapping out 2-3 GMO items every grocery trip with organic or non-GMO items, their profits would show a major decline. We can talk all we want, but until we act, these companies won’t make changes. They don’t care.
Erik: Don’t believe me, inform yourself, think for yourself. Watch ‘The World According To Monsanto’ on youtube. Many of the people who joined us here in The Netherlands watched that documentary and said ‘this isn’t right, this should not be happening’.
Mike: After The March Against Monsanto what’s next?
Tami: We’re all supporting the July 4th event ‘Moms Across America’, helping educate people who might not have access to the information, by marching in parades across the country. And March Against Monsanto will be on the streets again on October 12th for World Food Day. We will be even bigger then.
While the mainstream media all but ignored 2 MILLION people all over the world protesting, some outlets are waking up this week. CNN spent 7 minutes on the topic yesterday, and the New York Times wrote this: “Seeking Food Ingredients That Aren’t Gene-Altered.”
And as I sit here typing, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream has announced it will be GMO-Free by the end of the year. THANK YOU! (I scream for ice cream).
Change can happen, but it will take YOU and ME to make it. Vote with your fork. Power to the people indeed.