Posted by Dave on February 2, 2011
Last week the Obama Administration chose to fully deregulate Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, despite overwhelming public protest. In the past two weeks, more than 100,000 Food Democracy Now! members signed a letter asking President Obama and Secretary Vilsack to reject Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa based on concerns to consumer health, impacts to the environment and lack of adequate scientific testing, but they chose to cave to corporate pressure rather than protect the rights of America’s farmers and citizens.
Despite this bad news, we’re refusing to back down and are going to continue to press President Obama and Secretary Vilsack to rescind their unwise decision that not only restricts farmers' ability to choose what to grow on their land, but is also entirely unnecessary as currently more than 93% of alfalfa grown in the U.S. does not use or need chemical herbicides at all, which is the argument for the necessity of Roundup Ready products in the first place.
We need our message of unity and the rejection of this unnecessary and harmful technology to spread far and wide, please sign here:
As has already been widely acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court, the USDA, scientists and active farmers, the planting of GMO Roundup Ready alfalfa will lead to contamination of conventional and organic crops, creating significant economic loss for important export markets and organic dairy and beef farmers.
While we are deeply disappointed in President Obama and Secretary Vilsack’s decision, we were fortunate enough to be at the 31st Annual Ecological Farming Conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California where pioneering farmers and leaders in organic and sustainable agriculture gather every year. When we received word of the announcement there was an immediate and collective response from the farmers and members inf this community that day that vowed to fight until this injustice was exposed to the world and ultimately overruled.
Over the course of the next few days, several dozen farmers and individuals from organizations working to promote best agricultural practices helped craft a letter to President Obama and Secretary Vilsack calling on them to reconsider and reverse their decision.
As members of this movement, we were greatly encouraged by the spirit of cooperation and the resolve that immediately took place as we worked together to craft a collective response.
In an effort to help spread that good will and resolve to fight this unjust decision we experienced this past weekend, we’d like you to join in this fight to protect the democratic rights of farmers and the citizens who support them.
If we are to win the fight ahead, we must join together and be united going forward. It’s time that President Obama and those in Washington learn that the rights of farmers and American citizens mean more than the unjust profits of Monsanto, which increasingly put the livelihoods of farmers and the integrity of our democracy at risk.
Please take a moment to sign this letter inititated by our organic and sustainable farmers and leaders, then pass it on to friends.
Farmers attending EcoFarm, the largest organic farming conference on the West Coast, roundly criticized the Obama Administration's ill-conceived decision. Two California farmers stated:
“We are appalled by this decision,” said pioneering organic farmer Larry Jacobs, President of Jacobs Farm-Del Cabo. “This is a sad day for the future of the sustainable agriculture.”
“As an organic farmer and an organic dairy processor, the decision to deregulate genetically engineered alfalfa is devastating for our industry and it could put our business at risk,” said Albert Straus, President and owner of Straus Family Creamery.
Condemnation of the bad decision quickly reached beyond the conference as one attendee heard from a leading voice in the movement, journalist Michael Pollan, who added:
"It’s hard to understand why the Obama Administration would put the organic industry at risk for the sake of an unnecessary and soon-to-be obsolete product like Roundup Ready alfalfa. This is a bad solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, since 93 percent of alfalfa hay is grown without any herbicide at all,” confided Pollan.
Finally, EcoFarm President Thomas Wittman, an organic farmer himself for over 25 years concluded what many at the conference felt:
“The ruling by the USDA Secretary disregards the organic farmers, the dairy industry, and the environment, and I am confident that the decision will be reversed in court,” said Wittman.
While the USDA's decision to approve Monsanto's GMO alfalfa was a temporary blow to some at the conference, many vowed to redouble their efforts in working to defeat the Obama administration's latest assualt on farmers' and citizens' right to access to safe, healthy, organic and sustainable food.
It's time to present a united front against Monsanto and out of touch politicians. Please take a moment to join us in telling President Obama to reverse the approval for Monsanto's GMO alfalfa. Your action today could help save organic integrity for future generations.
Thanks for taking the time today to stand up for organic farmers and the integrity of the organic industry. Please forward this email to any family member or friend that you know cares about the future of our food and the planet.
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team