Hundreds of citizens, (even including NYC chefs in their white chef hats) joined Occupy the Food System groups, ie Food Democracy Now, gathered outside the Federal Courts in Manhattan on January 31st, to support organic family farmers in their landmark lawsuit against Big Agribusiness giant Monsanto. (Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association v. Monsanto) Oral arguments were heard that day concerning the lawsuit by 83 plaintiffs representing over 300,000 organic farmers, organic seed growers, and organic seed businesses.
The lawsuit addresses the bizarre and shocking issue of Monsanto harassing and threatening organic farmers with lawsuits of “patent infringement” if any organic farmer ends up with any trace amount of GM seeds on their organic farmland.
300,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto in Federal Court: Decision on March 31st to Go to Trial | NationofChange13 Feb
According to AlterNet, more than “500 rural farmers, urban farmers, food laborers, community activists and former occupiers” showed up for the beginning of the day at an East Village community garden, which began with Bronx urban farmer Karen Washington telling an energetic crowd of her journey over the past two decades to create a healthy food environment for her neighborhood.
Washington, who helped found the City Farms Markets, a series of community-run farmers markets, was stunned to hear that “food was a privilege and not a right”. So she set out to change that, mainly by putting her hands in the dirt, planting seeds and feeding her community. Through her work in the Bronx, Washington is helping combat the major issues of obesity, diabetes and lack of access to healthy food faced by underserved communities. …
Over the past three decades, the U.S. has adopted economic policies promoted by Wall Street investment banks and agribusiness monopolies that have led to massive concentration in food and agriculture. Today market concentration is so great that only four firms control 84 percent of beef packing and 66 percent of pork production, which has resulted in forcing more than 1.1 million independent livestock producers out of business since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980.