The March Against Monsanto is not just an internet/social media craze; on Saturday, the March Against Monsanto became a physical movement around the world. 52 countries, 436 cities, over 2 million people gathered around the world to make a bold statement: people over profit.
The March Against Monsanto comes on the heels of a Senate vote last Friday rejecting a bill that would have given states rights to require labeling of genetically modified foods. For more information about Monsanto and the political “revolving door”, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), labeling of GMO's, and ways to a healthy future, click here.
The Orlando March Against Monsanto had about 1000 people in attendance, of all ages/colors/creeds, with a rally starting at city hall on Orange Avenue and finishing with a March through the downtown Orlando area past Lake Eola Park. Guest speakers included march-organizer Rich Hillwig, Jeannie Economos (Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida), Richard Powell (Orlando Center for Urban Permaculture), Maya Fiallos (Maya Papaya Organic Community Farm in Oviedo), and several others.
We Marched Against Monsanto, now what?
Earlier today I was speaking to a local small newspaper owner about the successful turnout at the March, our conversation concluded with her asking this question: “where do we go from here?” She added, “Believe me, the best way to get your voice heard is to send letters. Speak your mind intelligently, eloquently on paper, and you'd be surprised what effect that has on people that do not expect to get a letter from someone like YOU”.
While physical protests are great for exposure, sparking conversation and giving educational oppurtunities, and “letting our voices be heard”, it is all for not if nothing afterwards changes and people continue on their same path of purchasing and eating genetically-modified foods. We must continue the march in other ways, and here are a few ideas of how to keep the movement progressing forward.....
- Continue to spread the word about GMO's, GMO labeling (or lack-thereof), and the legal protections that are being awarded to companies like Monsanto that are monopolizing our food supply. Every trip to the grocery store is an opportunity to educate a fellow shopper or store employee. Use social media outlets to share (intelligible) information with your friends. Educate all of your family members; I spent an hour educating my grandmother about GMO's (yes, she initially thought I was crazy) and some of the dangerous chemicals she was using around her house on her plants.
- Contact your local and state politicians. And contact them multiple times, from each method of contact (call, email, and snail mail....many politicians who haven't made it to the 21st century admittedly take physical mail from constituents more serious than phone calls and especially email). Let them know that we need GMO labeling and not to put corporate protections before consumer protection!
- Get involved with local efforts for community health. Sunday May 26th, “Take Root: Orlando” at the Parramore Community Garden, was a day of action to address local food poverty and worked together to grow healthy, organic foods in a low-income community. The Parramore Community Garden is a perfect example of ways WE all can work together to help provide for our fellow human beings and improve our communities.
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