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Protesters march against Monsanto amidst St. Patrick’s Day Festivities

March 17, 2012

Earlier today, the 10th Inter-Occupational Summit, which was held at the downtown campus of GVSU, began with an opening session by sharing information and analysis on the global corporation Monsanto.

The first presenter used satire and sarcasm to present information on the ecologically destructive company. In many ways this was a refreshing approach to presenting information since it not only provided solid information, it made clear the absurd corporate claims of Monsanto.

By using the company pledge, the presenter methodically examined what Monsanto does. Those in attendance learned about the costly impact of chemicals that the company has sold throughout the world, in order to promote “greater food production.”

Other themes that were presented dealt with GMO seeds, Bovine Growth Hormone –  which is in the majority of cows milk sold in the US – and the company’s relationship to the US government over the past several decades. One example of the revolving door between Monsanto and the US government is that the current Supreme Court Judge, Clarence Thomas, used to be a lawyer for the company.

The presenter also addressed how Monsanto has gone after farmers who challenge the company’s seed patents and the consequences of Monsanto’s seed use globally, particularly for small farmers in countries like India.

Other people in attendance also shared information and perspectives on Monsanto and how to both resist the influence of the company and how to create a more independent and autonomous food system.

There were many different perspectives shared on how we move forward with dealing with corporations like Monsanto, with some people emphasizing personal shifts like gardening and purchasing, while others made the point that Monsanto is just one manifestation of a food and economic system that needs to be dismantled.

After the information session, people were invited to make signs for a march that would take place in downtown Grand Rapids, amidst the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

About 40 people marched downtown to Monument Park, the most frequented space used by Occupy Grand Rapids since it began last October. Along the way people chanted and engaged some of those who came downtown for St. Patrick’s Day. Some people showed support, while others asked, “what is a GMO?”

Once people arrived at Monument Park, one Occupy Grand Rapids member shared a few thoughts on why it is important to protest Monsanto. Those present used the People’s mic in response, as you can see in this short video.


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