By Elise Kaplan
— (Click on images to view slideshow)
Hundreds of people rallied at the University of New Mexico and marched to the Albuquerque Civic Plaza to raise awareness about genetically modified food.
The “March Against Monsanto” event on Saturday, May 25 was part of a worldwide series agitating to make labeling of GMOs the law.
As the march concluded at Civic Plaza, protesters mingled, bought local produce from small vendors and listened to speeches.
“It’s really important that we protect our seeds,” said marcher Robert Allen (at left, conversing with Paul Baumann). “Saving seeds is something people have been doing for thousands of years, and Monsanto has no right to come in and copyright or trademark them. They shouldn’t be tinkering with seeds. It’s really important that we protect our local food sources—from backyard gardens and farmers markets.”
“GMO food is infecting the school system, infecting lunches and every part of our lives,” said Donovan Baker.
Amanda Dean sold produce for Rio Grande Farms. “I don’t speak as a small farmer, I speak as a citizen,” she said. “We’re guinea pigs in a very large experiment. There are so many issues—ranging from the local economy to topsoil erosion to groundwater pollution. There’s not a single aspect of this that doesn’t touch everyone’s life.”
“Monsanto is the biggest producer, but there are other makers of GMO seeds out there, and all of them are our concern,” said Charles DiLorenzo.
“Monsanto does bad things to good people, and people are completely unaware of it,” said Andrea Hanks (pictured at right with Earl Johnson). “Corporations shouldn’t have more rights than human beings.”
Geri Velasquez sold produce from Strawberry Mollie Farms after the march. “I want these varieties we have here that are so nice and tasty not to disappear. Monsanto has wiped out whole fields of real food and replaced it with altered food.”
Reem Wilkerson (right) marched with her husband Gary. “We want to stop GMOs or at least label GMO products because there is no assurance of the safety of these seeds,” she said. “They’re already banned around the world. It needs to be stopped to protect all species, the children and the environment.”
“Monsanto is doing some pretty nasty stuff to the world,” said Aaron Wallentine. “It’s worth protesting about, to get awareness out there. People don’t even know it’s a problem.”