Press release from the Cowichan Green Community of GE alfalfa

Join Farmers to Stop the Release of Genetically Modified Alfalfa in Canada

Concerned that Genetically Modified (GM) alfalfa could be approved for use in Eastern Canada this spring, the National Farmers’ Union passed a resolution on March 2nd, 2013 calling for all farm organizations, civil society organizations and concerned consumers across Canada to join the NFU-Ontario in a national day of action against the release of GM alfalfa.  In response to this resolution, the Cowichan Green Community (CGC) and the NFU Region 8 (BC-Peace River) will stand in support of our local farmers at a GM alfalfa rally on April 9th in Downtown Duncan.

Taking place from 12pm-1pm at Charles Hoey Park, we invite farmers, concerned consumers, and food activists alike to join us as we say no to GM Alfalfa in Canada.  During this hour long rally, Jean Crowder, MP Nanaimo-Cowichan, will speak to the threat of GM alfalfa in Canada, and we encourage all to stop-by, to sign a petition, and to get informed.

Alfalfa is a perennial crop and is grown (commonly harvested as hay) as high-protein forage fed to animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, poultry, and pigs.  It’s also used to build nutrients and organic matter in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming.  In addition, it’s commonly consumed by humans in health supplements and foods, and as alfalfa sprouts.

Currently, it is not legal to sell GM alfalfa seed in Canada, nor is GM alfalfa being commercially grown in Canada.  However, in 2005, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency did approve GM alfalfa as safe to produce and consume, and Forges Genetics International (FGI), the company who applied Monsanto’s GM Roundup Ready (herbicide resistant) technology to alfalfa, is waiting for a “variety registration” on the GM alfalfa seed.  This, once received, would give FGI license to sell GM alfalfa seeds in Canada.

Urgent attention to this issue is needed as the introduction of GM alfalfa in Canada will compromise the livelihood of family farmers across the country.  Not only will GM alfalfa threaten the future of organic food and farming in Canada, it stands to ruin Canada’s alfalfa export economy (Canada is the world’s largest exporter of dehydrated alfalfa products), as cross-pollination between the GM and the non-GM varieties is a likely consequence. 

Dan Ferguson, NFU Director for Region 8, states that “this is not just a ‘Conventional vs.  Organic’ farm battle; it’s all farmers standing united, across our nation, rallying for democracy. The only people that seem to want this product are seed and fertilizer company representatives.  The NFU is comprised of all sizes and kinds of family farms nationally, and we are asking for all Canadians to help us keep Alfalfa clean and free of trans-genetic manipulation.”

For more information of this event, please contact the Cowichan Green Community at 250-748-8506 or info@cowichangreencommunity.org, or visit our website at: www.cowichangreencommunity.org

If you are unable to attend this event, but want to have you voice heard, feel free to stop by CGC’s office (360 Duncan Street, Duncan, BC) to sign the petition, or check-out the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network’s (CBAN’s) website for more action tools: www.cban.ca/Resources

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