This weekend, to some, is Memorial Day—time to usher in the summer with barbecues, beers and that great American pastime, the Indy 500.
To others, it’s a more serious occasion—“March Against Monsanto,” a global movement protesting the ag giant’s use of genetically engineered (GE) and genetically modified (GM) crops.
The movement formed this spring and, using the Occupy model, got a viral boost from social media. Its impetus, at least in part, was HR 933, a stopgap federal spending bill passed by Congress in March. As omnibus bills are wont to do, this one included a provision (not exactly hidden, but definitely buried) prohibiting federal courts from halting the sale or planting of GE/GM seeds.
Technically, it’s called the Farmer Assurance Provision; to the less euphemistically inclined, it’s the Monsanto Protection Act—a reference to what food advocacy groups consider the company’s stranglehold on the agricultural sector. On May 25, people around the country and the world will demonstrate in opposition to Monsanto (which, without a hint of irony, calls itself “a sustainable agriculture company”).
Despite its sober subject matter, Santa Fe’s event will be a festive affair. In addition to a noon march from the Railyard to the Roundhouse—where a bill to label genetically modified foods by state Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, died in committee earlier this year—local organizer Candace Thomas Apodaca has lined up a series of speakers, live music performers including The Strange, Chris Chickering and the Boomroots Collective, and even bowls of gazpacho for attendees.
When asked about her connection to the issue of food safety, Apodaca herself is refreshingly down-to-earth.
“I’m just a human being—I’m just a concerned person, you know?” she says. “The main thing is raising awareness…I’m not getting paid for it, but I think the benefit is just planting that seed for awareness.” That, to be clear, would be a non-genetically modified seed.
March Against Monsanto
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Noon-1 pm: March from Railyard to Roundhouse
2-5 pm: Live music at the Roundhouse (corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta)