A threat to organic farmers anywhere is a threat to organic farmers everywhere! It's time to stand up!
Next week, an important case is being heard in Western Australia involving organic farmer Steve Marsh, whose organic crops were contaminated by his neighbor’s genetically engineered canola.
In 2010, Steve’s neighbor planted Monsanto’s GMO Roundup Ready canola in a field next to his organic field. It wasn’t long before Steve discovered that his organic field had been contaminated. As a result, he lost his organic certification and as much as 70% of Steve's farm has been contaminated with Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready genes.
Steve’s farm income and family’s livelihood has been put at risk. He could literally lose everything.
Today we’re asking that you stand with an organic farmer in Australia whose field was contaminated by Monsanto’s GMO canola. Steve’s case will be heard in Western Australia’s Supreme Court on Monday, Feb. 10 - we need everyone from around the world to stand with Steve Marsh.
With clever fine print in their seed contracts, Monsanto is not legally liable if their patented genes contaminate an organic farmer’s field due to their “no liability” agreement they force farmers who purchase their GMO seeds to sign.
Instead of staying silent and accepting the contamination and devastation of his farm, Steve has decided to take a stand. Taking the only legal avenue available, Steve is taking his neighbor to court for compensation of loss and damages.
The stakes are incredibly high and Monsanto knows it. What happens in court could set a precedent for farmers not only in Australia, but also around the world. Already Monsanto and a pro-GMO lobby group are financially supporting Steve’s opposition in court.
This case is the first of its kind in the world, where an organic farmer is seeking compensation from a GMO farmer when his rights have been violated by genetic contamination. This is something that Steve does not want to do, but was left with no other option if he wants to stand up for his right to farm free of GMOs - and our right to eat organic and non-GMO food.
The labeling system in Australia and New Zealand is full of loopholes and often the only way to be certain that a food is GM-free is to buy organic. When Steve took his issue to the Agricultural Minister at the time, Terry Redman, he was told that the organic standards are to blame for his loss, suggesting that organic foods should allow contamination by GM. We disagree and believe that it is a fundamental right of all of us to grow and eat GM free foods, especially organic foods.
If the court decides that it is ‘unreasonable’ for organic agriculture to have a zero tolerance for GMO’s, the result is that in Australia you will have no right to eat GM-free products and no way to guarantee that products grown in Australia are GM-free. The cost to purchase and trade in GM-free products will increase if non-GM farmers have to pay the cost of contamination. And eventually, GM-free crops may be eradicated due to contamination in the long-term!
Today we’re asking that you stand with an organic farmer in Australia whose field was contaminated by Monsanto’s GMO canola - We need everyone from around the world to stand with Steve Marsh. Every voice counts!
Thanks again for participating in food democracy!
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team