Nearly 300 farmers, activists and supporters from across the U.S. held a Citizens Assembly in Washington D.C. last week to demand, for the second time, that the courts protect them from Monsanto. They came from Maine and Iowa, from Connecticut and Maryland to support plaintiffs and lawyers who are appealing Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) vs Monsanto et al, a court case filed last year to protect non-GMO farmers from Monsanto.
The group lost their initial suit, filed in March 2011 in New York. But they demanded, and won, an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. At issue? Farmers want a guarantee that Monsanto won’t sue them if transgenic seeds from neighboring fields of genetically modified crops drift into their fields and contaminate their conventional or organic crops.
But there’s an even bigger issue here. Farmers want the right to grow non-GMO crops, and consumers want the right to buy non-GMO foods. But with Monsanto controlling the genetics of nearly 90% of all corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets grown in the U.S., it’s increasingly difficult for farmers to avoid contamination of their fields by Monsanto’s seeds. Once all the fields become contaminated, consumers will find it nearly impossible to buy GMO-free food. Unless they grow their own.