Monsanto protest draws hundreds

Melissa Cline
By Melissa Cline
May 27th, 2013

On May 25, as many as 200 people from all walks of life participated in raising awareness by “marching against Monsanto”. The event began at Millennium Park, where a table was set up to make protest signs, and participants were given research papers and information. The group facilitators hosted a wide variety of speakers discussing Monsanto Co., GM seeds and the effects these have on local farming and agriculture.

Over 2 million people participated internationally in the March against Monsanto. The protest was designed to promote awareness about the dangers facing the global food supply due to the abundance of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), GM seeds, and the foods and products created by them. Protestors targeted the St Louis-based Monsanto Co. because of its historical role in introducing genetically modified products into the food supply. Genetically-modified products have created controversy in terms of potential health risks, labelling, and destruction of food diversity

Global event founder and organizer Tami Canal said the protest occurred in over 436 cities in 52 countries. The event was formed almost entirely via social media.

The Castlegar march, one of 12 within B.C., was spearheaded by a group of concerned Castlegar youth. The group promoted the rally using social media as its main source of information and created the March against Monsanto (Castlegar) event page on Facebook. The event was also listed on the March against Monsanto website.

Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC southern Interior, also helped to raise awareness for this cause through his Spring 2013 report , with an article entitled Tell Minister no GMOs . He also helped spread the word regarding the local march with a May-23 press release, saying his duties in Ottawa precluded his attendance, but he’d be with the marchers in spirit.

At the outset of the march, speakers also informed the crowd about other ecologically-driven community initiatives. Nadine Podmoroff spoke about the Gathering of Eagles: a Convergence for a Pipeline and Tanker Free BC. This event will be taking place at the Brilliant Cultural Center June, 2 at 1 p.m. Mark Jennings and Tom McRae also brought attention to a local group, Citizens for a Pesticide Free Castlegar and Area who are campaigning for a no pesticide bylaw within the City of Castlegar and surrounding RDCK areas. Petitions are available at numerous businesses throughout the City of Castlegar and outlying communities, as well as at Atamanenko’s office on Columbia Avenue (the petitions will be presented to city council at their regular meeting June 17).

The progression of people set out on the march, heading from Millennium Park, marching to and then along Columbia Avenue to the Castlegar Community Complex, with a variety of demographics represented. Many children joined the marching, carrying homemade signs and placards. Participants were met with lots of support from the community and some people joined in along the way. One of the facilitators of the march, Nikolas Oak Livingston, followed along with the progression in a vehicle, providing water for the participants as well as rides for those who had exhausted their efforts.

At the end of the march, the group gathered and listened to a few more speakers, and Brody Armstrong, one of the facilitators of the march, spoke about the amazing support of the participants in providing awareness to the cause. The facilitators provided a shuttle to those at the end of the march who needed a ride back to the downtown core. The participants ended the rally with a ceremonial joining of hands and a chant to harness the power of the earth within the group.

Facilitators of the Castlegar March against Monsanto and other community groups are asking the public to do their own research regarding Monsanto Co., GM seeds, plants and crops and how they affect the diversity of our food supply, GM food products, as well as the pesticides invented by Monsanto Co. such as Round up and Trillium. Good sources for more information can be found in the following web pages and social media groups. Also feel free to contact our MP and MLA to see where they stand on this ongoing debate.










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