Garden Blog

5 Ways to Protect Farmers from Monsanto

Support farmers in their fight against Monsanto by purchasing local organic produce.
Support farmers and not big agriculture by buying local organic produce at farmers markets.

On Tuesday, January 31st Manhattan Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald will decide if organic farmers can protect themselves against GMO pusher Monsanto. People around the world are watching this case closely. Thousands have signed petitions, hundreds plan to rally peacefully in front of the courthouse in support. Sow True Seed founder, Carol Koury, and head of marketing Cathryn Davis Zommer will see it firsthand in the courtroom.

Last March Sow True joined with 82 other seed companies, farmers and advocacy groups to file a class action lawsuit against Monsanto: The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto . The plaintiff group represents over 300,000 individuals. It’s purpose is to prevent litigation by the bio-tech giant toward certified organic growers who encounter cross-contamination with GE seeds through no fault of their own. It also challenges Monsanto’s patents on “Roundup Ready” seed varieties.

We shared why Sow True Seed is against GMOs in an October 2011 blog post.

Oral arguments on Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the case will be heard on Tuesday. The judge will decide whether or not the farmers’ case will move forward in the courts.

“We are grateful that Judge Buchwald has agreed to our request to hear oral argument on the motion,” said Jim Gerritsen, President of lead plaintiff OSGATA.

“Last August we submitted our written rebuttal and it made clear that Monsanto’s motion was without merit. Our legal team, from the Public Patent Foundation, is looking forward to orally presenting our position.  The family farmers deserve their day in court. We are anxious that this case go to trial as soon as possible so that our innocent farmers may receive Court protection.”

According to OSGATA, in the past two decades, Monsanto’s seed monopoly has grown so powerful that they control nearly 90% of five major crops – corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets. In many cases farmers have been forced to stop growing certain crops to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits.

Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto admits to filing 144 lawsuits against America’s family farmers, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts.

This is outrageous. These aggressive lawsuits create an atmosphere of fear and have driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy. Sow True Seed is proud to be standing up to this corporate bully.

Here are 5 ways to join us:

1. Sign the Food Democracy Now petition and use the Farmers graphic here as your profile picture on Tuesday (right click the image above to save).
2. Come to the rally in Foley Square in Manhattan if you live close enough: Facebook event info here
3. Ask President Obama to close the revolving door between Monsanto and the US Government. Michael Taylor has spent the last decades moving between Monsanto and the FDA and USDA. He has just been appointed Senior Adviser to the Commissioner at the FDA. Oppose that appointment by signing this petition.
4. Follow Food Democracy Now, Millions Against Monsanto and Sow True Seed for news about GMOs and the lawsuit.
5. Share this information with friends and family.

Thank you for your support.

Support farmers and not big agriculture by buying local organic produce at farmers markets.

Article Written by: Angie Lavezzo

About the Author: Angie Lavezzo is the former general manager of Sow True Seed. Beyond her professional role at Sow True, Angie's passion for gardening extends into personal hands-on experience, fostering plants and reaping bountiful harvests.