P.E.I. group says “no Monsanto”

Mitch MacDonald comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on May 24, 2014

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.”