Washington, D.C. - January 10, 2013 - Nearly
300 family farmers, activists, and members of Food Democracy Now!
gathered in front of the White House today, directly after a hearing on
the landmark Organic
Seed Growers and Trade Association et al. v. Monsanto case.
Citizens assembled to demand that Monsanto end their campaign of intimidation against
America’s family farmers over GMO- also known as genetically engineered
(GE)- crops, and that President Obama halt approval of GE food. The
demand for President Obama included stopping the approval of GE salmon
until independent long-term safety tests can be conducted.
Thirty-one family farmers, plaintiffs in the landmark lawsuit OSGATA et
al v. Monsanto, travelled to Washington, DC, from across North America
to attend the Oral Argument in the Appeal of Dismissal heard before the
U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Federal Circuit and also to protest in demand of the right to
farm without the threat of harassment by the world’s largest biotech
seed company. Monsanto has sued, or settled in court with, more than
844 family farms since 1997 over ‘patent infringement’ after their
seeds naturally spread to nearby farms.
A recording of today's complete Oral Argument in the OSGATA et al. v.
Monsanto Appeal of Dismissal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Federal Circuit is available here.
“Family farmers need and deserve the right to farm. We have a right to
grow good food and good seed for our families and our communities
without the threat of trespass and intimidation,” Jim Gerritsen, an
organic potato farmer from Maine and President of OSGATA, the lead plaintiff in the
lawsuit, told the enthusiastic crowd. “We need Court protection so that
our families will be able to carry on our farming tradition and help
keep America strong,” said Gerritsen.
After attending the Oral Argument to appeal the dismissal of the case,
the farmers marched to Lafayette Park to bring attention to the Obama
Administration’s pending approval of 13 new biotech crops and
AquaBounty’s “Frankenfish,” a genetically engineered “salmon.”
“America’s farmers deserve to be protected from unwanted contamination
of their crops and the continued harassment by biotech seed giant
Monsanto,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a
grassroots farmer advocacy group and plaintiff in the case. “At the
same time, our current regulatory structure here in the U.S. has failed
America’s farmers and consumers. The Obama administration needs to do
the right thing to protect our farmers and make sure that new GE crops
go through rigorous safety tests,” said Murphy. “It’s time that
President Obama live up to his campaign promise to Iowa farmers in 2007
and label genetically engineered foods. It’s the least that he could
Many farmers have been forced to stop growing certain crops to avoid
genetic contamination and potential lawsuits from Monsanto. This case
challenges the validity of Monsanto's genetically engineered seed
patents and seeks Court protection for family farmers who, through no
fault of their own, may have become contaminated by Monsanto's patented
seed and find themselves accused of patent infringement. Their
aggressive lawsuits have created an atmosphere of fear in rural America
and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.
The hearing today coincided with growing concern from millions of
Americans over the pending approval of new GE crops, which many believe
have not been properly tested through serious independent long-term
Those concerns took on new urgency when only days before Christmas the
Obama administration announced it was clearing one of the final
regulatory hurdles before the pending approval of AquaBounty’s
“Frankenfish.” If approved, it would be the first genetically
engineered animal to appear on plates in the U.S.
A high resolution photo of attorney Dan
A high resolution photo of farmer Jim
Gerritsen is available here.
Complete background on the OSGATA
et al v. Monsanto lawsuit is available here.
About Maine's Wood
Wood Prairie Farm is located in Aroostook
County, Northern Maine's
historic center of potato farming. For over 36 years, Jim & Megan
Gerritsen and their family have been farming organically and grow the
finest potatoes, seed, grain and vegetables. Wood Prairie Farm's
potatoes, kitchen potatoes, vegetable and cover crop seeds and other
products are available direct to the customer by mail order from its
website and catalog.
Wood Prairie Farm is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/woodprairiefarm
Click on photos for High Resolution images.
This Press Release is loaded on the Wood
Prairie Farm website: http://www.woodprairie.com/pressrelease_011013
Lead Lawyer Dan Ravicher speaking about OSGATA et al v. Monsanto at the
James Beard Foundation Food Conf. http://www.pubpat.org/monsanto-seed-patents.htm
Complete background information about OSGATA et
al v. Monsanto is available at www.woodprairiefarm.com
# # #