P.E.I. group says “no Monsanto”

Mitch MacDonald
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A group of Islanders voiced their opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and, in particular, multi-national company Monsanto during a march Saturday afternoon.

More than 50 individuals waved signs as they marched down University Avenue protesting the company, which is well known as a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds.

Placards reading “Monsanto poisons our food” and “seeds belong in the hands of the people” were just some of the messages the group shared along the route, which included stops at Agriculture Canada and Sobeys on Allen Street.

Georgina Markov, one of the event’s organizers, said much of the cause behind the protest is the American-based company’s controversial seed patenting model, which has been described by critics as a threat to food security.

“So they would have the ownership to them (the world’s seeds),” said Markov. “They’re bad people to say the least.”

The criticism of Monsanto wasn’t limited to P.E.I. on Saturday.

The day was the second March Against Monsanto held globally.

While it’s unclear how many participated in the march last year, organizers said protests were held in 436 cities in 52 countries.

In addition to genetically engineered seed, Monsanto was among the first to genetically modify plant cells and conduct field research of genetically modified crops, both of which occurred in the 1980s.

It is also a leading producer of herbicide glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, and has previously manufactured the bovine growth hormone, DDT and Agent Orange.

Markov said as of last month, there was no march planned for P.E.I.

“We got together at a GMO meeting and got this started, we just went from there,” she said.

Markov said she felt the day was successful, with many individuals who she talked to having not heard of Monsanto before.

She said spreading awareness of the company to those individuals was the main goal of the march.

“I think in P.E.I., essentially they just shut their eyes and pretend we’re not being affected by pesticides, insecticides and GMOs,” said Markov. “We do need to open the eyes of the people in Prince Edward Island and get them (GMOs) off the Island and make P.E.I. the real green island of Canada.”

Organizations: Monsanto, Farm Centre, Sobeys

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Allen Street

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Recent comments

  • Stewart Smith
    May 26, 2014 - 06:51

    Thanks to all those who are keeping an eye on these big corporations, whose sole aim is to make money for their shareholders at the cost of our health.

  • anthony
    May 25, 2014 - 22:24

    Monsanto ultimately wants to control the world's food supply, it's a s simple as that. First eliminate non GMOs, then replace them with propritory seed.They rosecuted a farmer who propagated seed from that which he bought from Monsanto and won in the US. The movement against them is gaining ground in the USA, I'm glad to see it expanding across the border.

  • Bob Suoivbo
    May 25, 2014 - 22:02

    This protest wasn't focused enough. You need to choose - what are you protesting?? Monsanto, pesticides, or GMOs? I hope the former, because there's 0 evidence GMOs are bad for you. There's no evidence organic food is healthier for you. Organic food labeling is whack - not enough regulation. Where do you draw the line between a refined "natural" fertilizer? GMOs help reduce the usage of pesticides. Monsanto has done some shady stuff, but you people need to decide what you're protesting. From the signs and comments it looks/sounds like a bunch of people that don't really know too much about what they're protesting. Stop saying the word chemical. Everything is made of chemicals.

    • Truth B Told
      May 26, 2014 - 06:58

      You need to do more research, Sir. GMOs are full of pesticides. It's right in their genes. Glyphosates are not something I want in my salad. All these Roundup ready crops are full of them. And the bees are dieing of because of neonicotinoids chemical which Monsanto has a huge stake in. This company is interested in money and nothing else.

    • Catherine
      May 27, 2014 - 09:35

      “No, they were focused. If you look up what Monsanto has done they have developed GMO seeds and pesticides to work with them. These seeds are (unfortunately) the majority of seeds that conventional farmers now have no choice but to use. The seeds are genetically modified to grow faster, longer, and to have a larger yield. They are also supposed to kill pests that normally would eat them. Yes, that is one of the main reasons that they are genetically modified. BUT the issue is the insects become tolerant of these GMO seeds and because of this Monsanto makes it a requirement for the spraying of the crops. This spray is called Round Up. You know how bad this stuff is? It was used is warfare to kill the enemy- it was a poison spray- and now we they are spraying it on our crops that we eat. Yes, there is evidence that GMOs are bad for you. “The SAFETY of GMO foods is unproven and a growing body of research connects these foods with HEALTH CONCERNS AND ENVIRONMENTAL DANAGE. For this reason, most developed nations have policies requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods at the very least, and some have issued bans on GMO food production and imports.” (From davidsuzuki.org) If you just search on Google "GMO and Health Side Effects or other such wordings you will find more information on what happens from eating GMO foods. There are issues with labeling foods organic because there is a limit to how much spray or NATURAL fungicides/sprays can be used for it to be considered organic. So I agree with you on that part but organic IS better for you compared to GMO- as for what should be considered organic is still being thrown around. I know organic would be NO GMO seeds and NO sprays AT ALL but that is very very difficult to do. No, GMOs cause the use of more pesticides. Yes, the initial intent is to use less pesticides but once the insects become immune you have to start spraying. And the amount you have to spray and the variety increases over time. Overall, I think most knew what they were protesting against, or at least a part of it. They can use the word chemicals- as that is what a pesticide is made of. It’s not as specific but it does include Monsanto made products. And non-natural chemicals of any kind shouldn’t be on our food in general. I was going to go to the march but I wasn’t able to. I really wish I had gone.”

    • Bob Suoivbo
      May 28, 2014 - 22:47

      "And non-natural chemicals of any kind shouldn't be on our food in general." It's phrases like these that prove that you shouldn't be taken seriously. You clearly have no understanding of basic chemistry. Whether a chemical is "natural" or not has no effect on its toxicity. Don't criticize things you don't understand. Lots of "natural" pesticides are just as toxic as synthetic ones. Do you plan to label those foods as well? If buying Monsanto products wasn't fiscally favorable, farmers wouldn't buy them. If you want change in this world it usually has to come as a result of the consumer making different choices.

  • Maureen
    May 25, 2014 - 21:59

    I couldn't make it yesterday but am proud of those who did and pleased that the guardian published this story. Monsanto is evil!

  • Google Aspartame
    May 25, 2014 - 07:20

    Bringing awareness. Bravo!

  • Garth Staples
    May 25, 2014 - 06:35

    How come some people wore masks?

    • Erin Gallant
      May 25, 2014 - 11:42

      Great question, Garth. If you look online, you'll find a plethora of pictures of Monsanto's employees all wearing respirators while applying Round Up, as they claim safety is their #1 priority. It begs the question that if you have to wear a mask to apply it, is it really safe to then eat food contaminated with it?

    • Adam
      May 25, 2014 - 11:47

      Hi Garth, the gas masks symbolize how toxic the chemicals being applied to our food are.

  • Thankful
    May 25, 2014 - 06:18

    Wish I could have joined you today. Thanks for shining a light on this. Perhaps more people will do a little research now and find out what this company is up to. And thank you to the Guardian for covering this story.

  • w kennedy
    May 25, 2014 - 03:56

    Bet some of you like I did at first assume this is "crazy tree hugger" stuff. No it seems to check out and as it is American great efforts are being made to continue business as usual and destruction of the world food supply. The stuff is taken into the plant itself and a side effect is the promotion of fungus growth. The cabbage mosaic virus is used to shutdown cellular resistance to splicing and this can allow unknown changing of our DNA as well altering intestinal flora triggering auto immune dis function. Not something people talk about but many islanders have damaged intestines and we may be getting worse.

  • sick
    May 24, 2014 - 21:43

    Given the detrimental effects that sprays have had on my own health, it is refreshing to see such a large group make a stand against Monsanto. Their misinformation is dangerous. We have a propensity to believe that these things are safe if we're told they are. Just like we were told DDT was safe. And Agent Orange. And Bovine Growth Hormone. And countless other things. We have to start saying no to the reckless disregard for our health and our future.

  • sick
    May 24, 2014 - 21:43

    Given the detrimental effects that sprays have had on my own health, it is refreshing to see such a large group make a stand against Monsanto. Their misinformation is dangerous. We have a propensity to believe that these things are safe if we're told they are. Just like we were told DDT was safe. And Agent Orange. And Bovine Growth Hormone. And countless other things. We have to start saying no to the reckless disregard for our health and our future.

  • annamaria
    May 24, 2014 - 21:38

    The media has been notoriously cautious about covering anything 'anti monsanto'. This is impressive, to say the least. Would love to see more on this issue. Follow up?

  • Lulu
    May 24, 2014 - 21:35

    More pictures! Please! This is excellent. I wish I would have known about this earlier.

  • Erika
    May 24, 2014 - 21:33

    It's time for some change. Glad to see people standing up to big corporations. Guardian ROCKS for covering this story.

  • Jenna Gallant
    May 24, 2014 - 19:43

    Love this. Any more pictures to share?

  • Ralph
    May 24, 2014 - 18:23

    Excellent. Monsanto is a terrible corporation. Thanks for marching!

  • PEI Girl
    May 24, 2014 - 17:40

    Honestly, this made me do some googling. I had no idea why anyone would protest a company. I learned a lot today! Well done to the protestors! It was a cold day to be out! Thanks for the awareness.

    • Aware
      May 25, 2014 - 09:19

      Glad you took the time to investigate for yourself. I wish more people would. It's a real eye-opener to see what some of these big corporations are doing while everyone is not looking.

    • John
      May 25, 2014 - 11:55

      Good for you for taking the time to find out. Clearly, this protest served its purpose if even one more Islander is now aware of the harm being caused by Monsanto. I know I'll march in the next one!

  • Jess B
    May 24, 2014 - 17:22

    Thanks for covering something that no one else did!! Great story.

  • Concerned
    May 24, 2014 - 16:44

    This is so important. Thanks to the marchers for bringing this attention.

  • James
    May 24, 2014 - 16:35

    Saw this in Chtown today! Wish you had more pictures. Great story

  • Jenny Gallant
    May 24, 2014 - 16:33

    Awesome! Didn't know this was happening today. Down with Monsanto!

  • Ryan
    May 24, 2014 - 16:15

    Great pictures. Surprised this was covered. Glad it was!

  • Jason
    May 24, 2014 - 16:13

    Great to see this covered! Thanks!

  • karen macdonald
    May 24, 2014 - 16:11

    Twas a great day for a march, thanks to all!

  • Observer
    May 24, 2014 - 16:02

    Everyone should be supporting movements like this one. Monsanto uses its political and financial muscle to intimidate governments and individuals alike. They care about money and power - not people.