Ever since the commercial introduction of its Genetically Modified Seeds in 1996, Monsanto has launched intense persecution against hundreds of farmers and seed dealers in the US and Canada alone, blaming patent infringement of their GMO seeds in what seems to be their drive for a complete control of crops.
Like Jim Gerritsen and his family, hundreds of farmers, organizations, activists and citizens around the world are fighting Monsanto Corporation policies every day. They work to ensure the rights of consumers and to hold corporations accountable for their actions. As consumers, our every day choices are the best weapons we have.
Scroll down to learn more about the lawsuit and how YOU can help...
Organic Seed Growers vs. Monsanto
Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association et al. v. Monsanto was filed in federal district court in Manhattan, NY, on March 29, 2011, on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and agricultural organizations and challenges Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered (GE) seed. This landmark lawsuit also seeks Court protection for family farmers who, through no fault of their own, may have become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented GE seed and find themselves accused of patent infringement.
“Today is Independence Day for America. Today we are seeking protection from the Court and putting Monsanto on notice. Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace – to decide what kind of food they will feed their families – and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose. Organic farmers 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. Beginning today, America asserts her right to justice and pure food.” - Jim Gerritsen, OSGATA President
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA)
The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) is a national non-profit organization committed to protecting, promoting, and developing the organic seed trade and it’s growers, thereby assuring that the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed, free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of organic agriculture. As a diverse membership organization, OSGATA is uniquely positioned to address serious threats facing organic seed.
We envision a thriving organic seed industry with regionally-adapted, diverse organic seed that can support naturally integrated organic farms. Organic seeds are robust, require low chemical inputs and are nutritionally superior. As the trade association representing the organic seed community, we have established that transgenic contamination of organic seed constitutes irreparable harm to the organic seed industry and undermines the integrity of organic seed. Any detectable level is unacceptable.
Learn more about the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association on the OSGATA website
What You Can Do Right Now To Help...
As a consumer, the best way to support organic farmers is to buy the food they grow. It's really that simple!
Supporting the small farmers who supply food in your area is actually a very natural part of society that has been squelched by big business. Yet more and more people are returning to their roots and opting for a simpler, more wholesome route to get their food.
Searching for in-season foods grown by a farmer you can meet personally is more than just grocery shopping; it’s a lifestyle. As you discover more alternative food networks in your area -- things like farmers’ markets, food coops, and community-supported agriculture -- you’ll begin to feel a connection to your community that you likely never felt before.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy Local Food
Brenton Johnson, an organic farmer and owner of Johnson’s Backyard Garden, came up with this list of top 10 reasons to buy local food, based on his philosophy to live in harmony with the land.
2. Local produce is better for you. Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.
3. Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern industrial agricultural system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment. Only a handful of varieties of fruits and vegetables meet those rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest, an array of eye-catching colors, and the best flavors.
4. Local food is GMO-free. Although biotechnology companies have been trying to commercialize genetically modified fruits and vegetables, they are currently licensing them only to large factory-style farms. Local farmers don’t have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn’t use it even if they could.
5. Local food supports local farm families. With fewer than 1 million Americans now listing farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middle man and get full retail price for their crops.
6. Local food builds a stronger community. When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between the eater and the grower.
7. Local food preserves open space. As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. The rural landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable.
8. Local food helps to keep your taxes in check. Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes.
9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help combat global warming.
10. Local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, so that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.