P.E.I. group protests global company Monsanto

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Close to 50 people turned up at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market to protest the use of GMO foods. Friom the market they marched as far as the Sobeys on Allen Street with a stop at the agricultural research station on University Avenue.

A group of Islanders voiced their opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and, in particular, multi-national company Monsanto during a march Saturday afternoon.

More than 50 individuals waved signs as they marched down University Avenue protesting the company, which is well known as a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds.

Placards reading “Monsanto poisons our food” and “seeds belong in the hands of the people” were just some of the messages the group shared along the route, which included stops at Agriculture Canada and Sobeys on Allen Street.

Georgina Markov, one of the event’s organizers, said much of the cause behind the protest is the American-based company’s controversial seed patenting model, which has been described by critics as a threat to food security.

“So they would have the ownership to them (the world’s seeds),” said Markov. “They’re bad people to say the least.”

The criticism of Monsanto wasn’t limited to P.E.I. on Saturday.

The day was the second March Against Monsanto held globally.

While it’s unclear how many participated in the march last year, organizers said protests were held in 436 cities in 52 countries.

In addition to genetically engineered seed, Monsanto was among the first to genetically modify plant cells and conduct field research of genetically modified crops, both of which occurred in the 1980s.

It is also a leading producer of herbicide glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, and has previously manufactured the bovine growth hormone, DDT and Agent Orange.

Markov said as of last month, there was no march planned for P.E.I.

“We got together at a GMO meeting and got this started, we just went from there,” she said.

Markov said she felt the day was successful, with many individuals who she talked to having not heard of Monsanto before.

She said spreading awareness of the company to those individuals was the main goal of the march.

“I think in P.E.I., essentially they just shut their eyes and pretend we’re not being affected by pesticides, insecticides and GMOs,” said Markov. “We do need to open the eyes of the people in Prince Edward Island and get them (GMOs) off the Island and make P.E.I. the real green island of Canada.”

Organizations: Monsanto, Agriculture Canada, Sobeys

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Allen Street

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  • Catherine B.
    May 28, 2014 - 14:10

    If you look up what Monsanto has done they have developed GMO seeds and pesticides to work with them. These seeds are (unfortunately) the majority of seeds that conventional farmers now have no choice but to use. The seeds are genetically modified to grow faster, longer, and to have a larger yield. They are also supposed to kill pests that normally would eat them. Yes, that is one of the main reasons that they are genetically modified. BUT the issue is the insects become tolerant of these GMO seeds and because of this Monsanto makes it a requirement for the spraying of the crops. This spray is called Round Up. You know how bad this stuff is? It was used is warfare to kill the enemy- it was a poison spray- and now we they are spraying it on our crops that we eat. Also, Monsanto requires farmers to give back seeds at the end of seasons and for them to buy from the company again the next season. More money spent by the farmers against their will. There have been issues with Monsanto with them not even allowing farmers to keep their own seeds- some which have been used by family farms for generations! There is evidence that GMOs are bad for you. “The SAFETY of GMO foods is unproven and a growing body of research connects these foods with HEALTH CONCERNS AND ENVIRONMENTAL DANAGE. For this reason, most developed nations have policies requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods at the very least, and some have issued bans on GMO food production and imports.” (From davidsuzuki.org) If you just search on Google "GMO and Health Side Effects" or other such wordings you will find more information on what happens from eating GMO foods. There are issues with labeling foods organic because there is a limit to how much spray or NATURAL fungicides/sprays can be used for it to be considered organic. Organic IS better for you compared to GMO- as for what should be considered organic is still being thrown around. I know organic would be NO GMO seeds and NO sprays AT ALL but that is very very difficult to do. No, GMOs cause the use of more pesticides. The initial intent is to use less pesticides but once the insects become immune you have to start spraying. And the amount you have to spray and the variety increases over time. Overall, I think most knew what they were protesting against, or at least a part of it. They can use the word chemicals- as that is what a pesticide is made of. It’s not as specific but it does include Monsanto made products. And non-natural chemicals of any kind shouldn’t be on our food in general. I was going to go to the march but I wasn’t able to. I really wish I had gone. I also really wish that more people knew about this company and the issues surrounding them and how they work. It's a serious issue because it effects not just our food but also our health, economy, and the environment!

  • B. Murphy-Bridge
    May 26, 2014 - 10:38

    Proud to see PEI joining the rest of the world and marching against MONSANTO - below is a link for those unfamiliar with this evil company : http://www.naturalnews.com/monsanto.html

  • Nick
    May 26, 2014 - 06:32

    GMO's can mean people using LESS pesticides, and PEI should embrace that aspect at least. Indian farmers pushed back against Monsanto and kept seeds anyway. Know which large companies want to work and do business in India: None that can help it.

    • SomeSense
      May 26, 2014 - 08:21

      Perhaps some GMOs could be produced to use less chemicals but that is not what they are doing now. They are making plants resistant to more chemicals so they can use even more to kill everything else but spare the plants they gave this protection to but this only works for a bit and the stuff they want to kill becomes resistant and they have top use even more chemicals. Look at the EPA in the US they are always increasing the allowed amount of various chemicals in food and they are not doing so because these chemicals dont do any harm, they increase allowed amounts of chemicals that other countries outright ban. Perhaps here in Canada we are a little better but I wouldn't wager much on that and I certainly wouldn't bet it will get better not worse.

    • Nick
      May 30, 2014 - 21:51

      Plants make their own pesticides, and some GMO's ramp that up (in parts of the plant we don't eat).