Editor’s Notebook, Features and Occasionals

Editor’s Notebook: Rallies and Everyday Actions

By Greta Belanger deJong

In 1973, then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger said, “Who control the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls the money can control the world.” On Saturday, May 25, 2013, over two million people around the globe declared they were not up for being controlled. They participated in The March Against Monsanto. According to Associated Press: Participants rallied 436 cities spanning 52 countries.

Monsanto (started by a Missourian named Queeny, who named the company after his wife’s Puerto Rican sugar financier’s dad, Emmanuel Mendes de Monsanto), has been  a death roll from Day One. Their first product was saccharin (considered alternately safe and dangerous by turns, throughout the decades). They expanded into PCBs (banned by the US government in 1979). The company conducted research for the Manhattan Project, and played a part in developing the first nuclear weapons. In the 1940s they manufactured DDT (banned in 1972). It produced the Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange and the resultant health, ecological and sociopolitical effects. Becoming the world’s largest seed company in the 1980s, Monsanto developed Roundup, genetically engineered Roundup-ready “Terminator” seeds—and, most recently, seeds that contain genetically modified organisms.

The worst of it is that the company has battled citizens’ attempts to get the GMO-containing foods labeled. No one is probably too surprised to learn that Fruit Loops is made almost entirely of genetically modified materials. But did you know that many products you pay a premium for at Whole Foods are also possibly contaminated with GMOs? In a country where even our mattresses have labels, what’s with the opposition to letting us know what we’re nourishing ourselves with?

In Salt Lake City, about 500 people gathered on the steps of the State Capital to hear educational speakers, intelligent rhetoric and decent music; pick up an heirloom tomato plant and literature; and form a sidewalk parade down State St. to the Federal Building.

One really cool thing about this worldwide activity: It began here, in Utah. Tami Canal, a mother of two living in Farmington, began a Facebook page in February. More activities are planned. Visit the web page. “Like” the Facebook page. Stay up to date on activities.

While you’re at it, it’s not too late to plant a garden. Attend the Wasatch Community Gardens’ urban farm tour on June 22, if you need inspiration (see page >>). If you want to participate in a more political approach, join Move to Amend (see story, this issue). And—here’s something for everyone—vote with your dollars. The Non-GMO Project has developed an iPhone app shopping guide to help you locate non-GMO brands. It’s free.


This article was originally published on May 29, 2013.