March against Monsanto: Raising concern over healthy food freedoms

Saturday’s March Against Monsanto comes in a busy season of court cases and books on food freedom and rights buy healthy foods Photo: March Against Monsanto, March 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2013 — This spring has been busy for people concerned about the food we eat for its health and for the health of the planet.

The most publicly visible real food action will occur on Saturday, May 25, when hundreds of protests against biotech giant, Monsanto, are planned around the country and the world. Activists seek to raise awareness about the way Monsanto’s use of chemicals and genetically modified organisms contaminate the food supply and to protest the Monsanto Protection Act, which provides biotech companies freedom from liability for any harm to consumers.


SEE RELATED: Big victory for Monsanto in Supreme Court patent case


Participation in the March Against Monsanto is expected in over 250 cities worldwide. Organizers hope the actions inspire people not only to resist consuming GMOs, push for labeling and support bans on GMOs, but also to buy direct from farmers and to grow their own food, working from the ground up.

For those who would rather learn and get inspired or angry from the comfort of their own home, several new books take on food and how our choices of what to eat affect much more beyond our own bodies. Michael Pollan, best known for his Omnivore’s Dilemma, explores his own kitchen and how the preparation of food relates to social and ecological relationships in his new book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.

In Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm, new author Forrest Pritchard reveals how he decided to become the seventh generation of family farmers by transforming his Shenandoah Valley land into a sustainable place to raise livestock on pasture.

On June 12, Real Milk Revolution author David Gumpert comes out with a new book,  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle Over Who Decides What We Eat, that explores the growing desire of consumers to consume food purchased directly from farmers they know in the face of resistance by public health and agriculture regulators.


SEE RELATED: Frankenveggies: Monsanto Protection Act passes Senate


Gumpert has also been reporting from Wisconsin, which this week saw the beginning of a trial of farmer Vernon Hershberger, who is charged with three misdemeanors related to licensing and a fourth for violating a holding order by resuming sale to his buying club. Gumpert writes in Food Safety News the trial calls into question the very notion of what health and safety mean.

In a time when concerns about antibiotic-resistant pathogens are on the rise, many consumers are interested in buying directly from producers who use no drugs and often no feed other than grass rather than from industrial, drug-using and grain-feeding farms hundreds or thousands of miles away. 

As the trial went on, Gumpert reported on his blog at The Complete Patient that the judge repeatedly sustained objections when witnesses said they bought from the farmer for health reasons. A ruling may come as early as today.

In West Virginia, a poultry farmer who was hit with fines by the Environmental Protection Agency for nitrogen runoff has filed a federal lawsuit. As reported in Fox News, Lois Alt’s small farm did not enjoy the same exemption to the Clean Water Act that industrial farms do, and her lawyers also take issue with the appropriateness of the EPA’s rules. The EPA dropped the fines and tried to have the case dismissed, but the court said it is taking on the case will ultimately benefit many parties.


SEE RELATED: Even libertarians wrong on Monsanto Protection Act


Note: The March Against Monsanto rally in Washington DC  begins Saturday, May 25 at 2 p.m. in Lafayette Square with the march to follow at 2:45.

 

Also read Sustainable farmer and author Forrest Pritchard on parenting by Jessica Haney


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Jessica Claire Haney

 

This holistic mom dreams of a day when all kids -- and adults -- eat foods with only recognizable ingredients. Paying attention is not an option for me; it's a necessity.

A few years ago, my body started breaking down and let me know I wasn’t like all those other Jessicas who were still in their twenties. I began making the rounds of alternative health practitioners and nutritionists to deal with stomach problems, thyroid problems, chronic grumpiness, and infertility, issues that my doctors weren't addressing with any success. With a lot of help and a bunch of lifestyle changes, I managed to work my way back to healthy and happy. And pregnant!

Now a full-on convert to natural family living and a mom to a three-year-old, I’m on a mission to share my insights -- and my persistent questions -- about nutrition and holistic health with other moms and with anyone else looking for something that will work and feel good when other stuff doesn’t. As a leader of a local chapter of Holistic Moms Network, I've tried to build a community that supports other parents in making healthy decisions for their families.

My writing has appeared in parenting publications and poetry journals. I blog about life on the alternative/mainstream divide at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, and I'm a contributor for DC Metro Moms.

Contact Jessica Claire Haney

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