200 people turn up to say no to Monsanto in the North Okanagan

Press release from BeeSafe Monashees

Close to 200 people of all ages, from all over the regional district, came to the Regional Agricultural Advisory Committee (RAAC) meeting Wednesday night, to remind NORD that making a decision on becoming GMO free in the region is pressing. People are fed up with what they see as delaying tactics and expect the RAAC to make a clear statement advising NORD on the future of agriculture in the region.

“Hundreds of people wrote letters to NORD detailing the negative impacts of GMO crops and their pesticides, on health, the environment, food security, property and land value, and on the economic potential of the region” said Huguette Allen, a Bee SAFE co-founder. “The committee as well as the board of directors have been warned that not making a decision is to sentence us to a corporate agriculture since there is no co-existence with GM crops. They contaminate other crops.”

Although the Crop Life employee was allowed as much time as she wanted to speak, people felt there had been nothing of substance said. The message of the industry can be reduced to three statements: “government, not industry is responsible for ensuring product safety”,  “we should have faith in government”, and “trust me”, the same statements given by tobacco companies and pharmaceuticals that brought us Thalidomide. People walked out of the meeting particularly outraged at the answer given when asked how people could protect their crops from GM contamination, which was basically “we have to co-operate”.

People expect NORD to set a direction for agriculture that will benefit people and people have been clear. Hundreds have written letters and attended meetings and organizations representing thousands more also wrote letters supporting becoming GMO Free. The votes taken in Cherryville and Rural Lumby are representative of the rest of the region and show that only 7% of the people support continuing on with GMO crops while 93% want to see NORD declare our intention to become GMO FREE.

People realize that such a declaration would not be an enforceable law, but know it would tell growers that GM crops are not welcome in the region, and would attract people interested in healthy agriculture instead of more corporate GM growers. Current GM growers could be given a set time to shift to non GM crops or eventually grandfathered, but requested to not bring in any new GM crop such as GM alfalfa, wheat, and trees,

People know they can’t wait for provincial or federal laws and expect NORD to set the future of our region based on people’s will, not on one industry’s profit.

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