Actions for Food Democracy

Protesting kids lined up

GMOs have become the litmus test for global freedom and democracy. Genetically engineered crops are developed by, owned by, and protected under intellectual property rights by major corporations. Thus the very development of genetically engineered food is not only reshaping the entire food global system, it’s redefining who is in control of food.

The “Big 6” corporations involved in genetic engineering are all major chemical companies that began rebranding themselves as agricultural biotech or “ag-bio” companies when they realized there was more profit to be gained from owning the rights to food, rather than owning the rights to chemicals.

(No surprise… the top two genetically engineered traits are not about nutrition, yield, or growing conditions, they’re all about chemicals—either in the form of resistance to the weedkillers made by these same corporations, or the production of an internal insecticide to kill bugs.)

At the top of the “Big 6” list is Monsanto, a company with a history of toxic products that all shared the same “safety” claim until proven otherwise decades later.

What Can You Do?

Over the last two decades movements have been gaining momentum around the world as people wake up to the realization that corporate-controlled food is a mistake. Together, they are taking creative action to join forces and build a resistance against GMOs.

Here are four ways you can take action to prevent corporations from “owning” our food, compiled from “THE GMO EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES: False Promises – A Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs.

1) Start a Campaign of Disinvestment from Monsanto

  • Get your money out of Monsanto, both at the personal level and at the institutional level.
  • Don’t invest your money with financial institutions that invest in Monsanto.
  • Don’t buy products from companies who are major shareholders of Monsanto (e.g., Microsoft).
  • Lobby governments, banks, foundations and organizations to likewise divest from Monsanto.

2) Boycott GMOs – Eat Organic

Stop buying GMO products. Purchase only products labeled Canada Organic, USDA Organic, or Non-GMO Project Certified.

One of the illusions created by the Ag-Biotech industry is that organic cannot feed the world. This is scientifically NOT TRUE as pointed out in the IAASTD report and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. Read more about the true problems underlying world hunger in this article from GMO Awareness.

3) Demand Labeling of GMOs

Demand and defend your right to know what you eat—this is the nature of a true food democracy.  On July 5, 2011, Codex Alimentarius, the international food safety body recognized the right of countries to label GMO foods after a long and bitter 20 year battle. The consumer at last has a right to be informed!

Here in Canada, contact your local Member of Parliament and demand that they support Motion M-480 for mandatory labeling of food containing genetically engineered ingredients.

4) Support Local Organic Farmers

  • Invest your volunteer time and money to support local ecological/organic food projects that build local food systems through creative innovative local financing—the true definition of a Food Democracy.
  • Spend one Saturday a month volunteering at a local farm that is producing organic food.
  • Purchase food from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.
  • Purchase food from your local farmer’s market
  • Start Gardens of Hope / Pea Patch gardens in your community, your schools, and your back yard.

5) Campaign to get your village/town/region/province GMO-free.

  • Join a local GMO-Free group.
  • Write to your municipality, your town council, your regional government and your national government that you want your region to be GMO-free.
  • Sign Rachel’s petition to get Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose to meet and discuss GMOs.
  • Join the global March Against Monsanto taking place every year in May.

6) Help Save Seeds

Seed freedom is the first step in food freedom. The organization Saving Our Seeds provides information, resources, and publications for gardeners, farmers, seed savers, and seed growers.

  • Grow organic heirloom varieties of vegetables and save the seeds.
  • Donate them to groups that save seeds and are reclaiming seed as a commons.
  • Create community seed banks to save and exchange open pollinated varieties of seeds.

Join the Global movement, take action and help build Food Democracy for all.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

– Albert Einstein