Tuesday April 9, 2013
12 noon to 1 pm
Outside MP offIces
GM alfalfa is an urgent threat now – companies want to introduce GM alfalfa this Spring!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to work with the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) to organize an event in your community on April 9. Check http://www.cban.ca/april9 for updates, to find the rally closest to you, and to find out how else you can join the day of action.
What is Alfalfa?
Alfalfa, popularly called the “Queen of Forages,” is an extremely important and widely grown crop in farming systems in Canada. It is perennial, and is pollinated by insects, mostly bees. Alfalfa is grown, usually as a mix with other grass species, to produce high-quality hay and haylage for livestock, and is a critical ingredient for the organic dairy sector. The hay bales we see across our rural landscape often include alfalfa. Farmers include alfalfa in crop rotations to fix nitrogen in the soil, and to build soil fertility and organic matter. It also helps stop soil erosion, controls weeds, and is an important export crop.
What is GM alfalfa?
A company called Forage Genetics International has applied Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready (herbicide resistant) technology to alfalfa. Canadian regulatory authorities have approved GM alfalfa for eating and growing, but the company needs to complete one more step, called variety registration, before it can sell GM alfalfa. This last step could be completed as soon as this Spring.
The GM Alfalfa Threat
Since alfalfa is a perennial plant that is pollinated by bees, GM alfalfa will inevitably cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic alfalfa, threatening the livelihoods of family farmers across Canada. Prairie farmers have already rejected GM alfalfa for these reasons, and now the industry is trying to introduce GM alfalfa in Eastern Canada. If it is introduced, GM alfalfa will ruin export markets for alfalfa products, contaminate family farms, make it more difficult for farmers to control weeds, and threaten the future of organic food and farming in Canada.