Exchange seeds, not stocks.
That’s just what many environmental activists and occupiers did on Monday’s ‘Occupy Our Food Supply’ global day of action, an effort organized by the Rainforest Action Network and a coalition of various environmental and Occupy groups worldwide.
And the day of action could not have been more necessary or come at a more crucial time. As activists were busy conducting seed exchanges in front of stock exchanges, taking back unused lots for community gardens, and labeling genetically modified food items in grocery stores across the world, a federal judge was ruling in favorof giant agribusiness Monsanto—a food corporation that, along with Dupont, Cargill Tyson, and others, ignited resistance among farmers and environmental activists alike.
Sixty farmers, local seed businesses, and organic food organizations filed the lawsuit challenging Monsanto’s seed patents—patents which keep farmers from growing certain crops out of fear of infringement litigation.
U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald ruled in favor of the corporation, denouncing organic farmers and organizations for a “transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists,” according to Reuters.
Monsanto’s genetically altered and patented seeds have been contaminating fields and causing a patent nightmare for many farmers. Percy Schmeiser was one of the first farmers to be sued by Monsanto for patent infringement when their genetically modified and ‘Roundup Ready’ canola seeds blew into his Canadian field in 1997. He spent years battling the company and became the subject of the documentary David Versus Monsanto.
But now food justice advocates, including farmers, are pushing back under the umbrella of the Occupy movement to reclaim the food supply with activists in Ireland, Argentine, Brazil, Hungary, and the U.S. participating in day of action.
Musician Willie Nelson, the founder and president of Farm Aid, endorsed the day of action on Monday.
“Nothing is more important than the food we eat and the family farmers who grow it,” he said. “Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, destruction of our soil, pollution of our water and health epidemics of obesity and diabetes. We simply cannot afford it. Our food system belongs in the hands of many family farmers, not under the control of a handful of corporations."