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“We have a right 2 know – Label GMO”

[Joseph Wilhelm, 01.07.2011] „All good things come in threes“ goes an old saying. If this would be true for our GMO-free march was the big question at the end of our tour from Berlin to Brussels in the summer of 2009. In any case, we are sure that we helped to help along an important political process with our two GMO-free marches and the 130,000 signatures that we collected during these events.
In the meantime another two years have passed by and the topic of a GMO-free agriculture and food industry is as relevant as ever. There are almost daily press releases about new developments and decisions in this field that is so crucial for the organic industry. Alarming news such as the registration of the Amflora potato as a so-called „industrial potato“ alternate with positive news such as the confirmation of a ban on the cultivation of the genetically modified maize variety Mon 810.

Findings of the prohibited, genetically modified Triffid flax seed variety in organic products confirm the risk that genetically modified plants can spread unchecked across entire countries and even continents. Our discussions with the authorities showed how helpless and haphazard the officials are in dealing with this topic. In the end, not only we but also other companies from the organic industry had to pay the costs for the contamination. Chance findings despite strictest controls and analyses turned even uncontaminated food products into hazardous waste.

All these events revived my the idea for a third GMO-free tour. In a discussion with my American friend Mark Retzloff the plan of a march from New York City to Washington DC began to take shape. The final destination will be the White House and the march will be addressed to President Barack Obama in order to create the greatest possible impact on media, politicians and lobbyists. A joint petition signed by many prominent participants will be handed over to Monsanto in St. Louis directly after the end of the march.
I discussed the idea of the march with several American friends at the Natural Product Expo West in Anaheim/California – among those friends were many partners from the organic food industry as well as IFOAM President Katherine de Matteo. All of them were immediately enthused about this idea and formed first „working groups“. Freedom marches have a long tradition in the USA.

Within a few weeks, there were many ideas about the planned march that will stop by at important places for the American history such as the cities of Philadelphia or Baltimore. For the American version, the march will get another name since the German “Genfrei Gehen” is difficult to translate. Instead, the march will probably operate under the title „Right2Know March“. The background for this march is the current struggle in the USA about the obligation to label genetically modified food products. This is an important precondition for raising consumers awareness about this issue.

At the moment we still have to clarify numerous details, but many organizations and public figures have already given their approval and have signaled their participation. The estimated arrival date will be October 16, the “World Food Day” – in any case a highly symbolic day. On this day we will show that the claims made by the GMO lobby that the global food supply can only be ensured through genetically modified plants and animals is nothing but illusions and lies. The planned final destination will be the Lafayette Plaza directly in front of the White House.

The revelations about overt ties between EU politics in Brussels and the lobbyists of Monsanto and Co. confirm our decision for such a march in the USA. The march has not the goal of condemning the „American way of life“ but it describes an effort to avoid the negative effects of globalization via dissemination of genetically modified plants and animals. The latter only helps multinational corporations to tighten their grip on seed and food monopolies.

We will keep you posted on further developments and are looking forward to your moral and practical support of our plan.

With the best wishes for a summer without (turnover) summer slump for your business.

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