Marching against Monsanto

Kim Sloan reports from California on a planned protest against Monsanto.

Protesters marching against Monsanto in Michigan last yearProtesters marching against Monsanto in Michigan last year

ACTIVISTS PLAN to march from the Department of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento, Calif., to the state Capitol building to send a message against Monsanto on May 22.

Protesters with the Anti-Monsanto Project will urge Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris to issue a public statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling in Vernon H. Bowman v. Monsanto Co., which legally protects patenting of genetically modified seed and adversely affects California farmers.

The decision prohibits farmers from saving seeds, even for late-season crops, creating a dependency on Monsanto's seeds and pesticides. Despite what should be a conflict of interest, the May 13 decision was made in part by former Monsanto attorney and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The decision acknowledged that Monsanto is one of three companies that owns 50 percent of the world's seeds. Activists with the Anti-Monsanto Project want to build support for the federal GE Food Right to Know Act proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Peter DeFazio to label food coming from genetically modified seeds.

In addition to labeling, HR 733, passed in March, contained a bill rider, known as the Monsanto Protection Act, which allows genetically modified seeds to be planted prior to USDA review, when the agency assess the environmental impact.

The Monsanto Protection Act is set to expire September 30 at the end of the fiscal year, but if a new bill is not proposed, then it will be extended, keeping the provision in place.

The federal legislation, bill rider, agricultural issues and the uncertainty of human health risks of GE foods will all be addressed in Sacramento by the Anti-Monsanto Project--which is holding the protest in conjunction with the March Against Monsanto national call to action.

Endorsers of the group's upcoming actions include Occupy Sacramento, MEChA de Cosumnes River College, Organización de Trabajadores Agrícolas de California-Stockton, SEIU Justice for Janitors, United Native Americans Inc. and more.

For more information, visit the Facebook event page.