Post Prop 37 Blues = Meeting with Shiva November 13, 2012 by Shiva Rose Recently the always inspiring author, producer and eco-warrior Laurie David invited me to her house to hear Vandana Shiva speak. I was beyond thrilled to have an opportunity to meet my hero. Shiva is fighting the good fight against the money grubbing corporations and defending our planet's seeds, organic farmers, and our livelihood. Like many of you, I was very discouraged with the defeat of Prop 37. I wrote to Shiva asking her opinion on the outcome and she sent me this article back. Beyond Prop 37: The Road to Food Democracy By Dr Vandana Shiva Money and advertising failed to win the US election. Then why did they succeed in defeating Prop 37 in California? $8.1 million was spent on backing the “No” vote while the “Yes” side raised $9.2. California Proposition 37 Result Votes Percentage No 4,845,291 53.1% Yes 4,285,787 46.9% That more than 4 million came out and voted “yes” is already a historic achievement. The outcome was influenced by the misleading advertisements by Monsanto and friends who could sway those who were being introduced to the issues of GMOs and GMO labeling for the first time through the ballot initiative. People won against corporate financing in the US presidential elections because they organized and mobilized. If the mobilization that started a little over a year ago with Prop 37 continues, and goes deeper and broader across diverse communities, the people in California and the US will claim their “Right to Know”, and their Right to Food Democracy. If only seven or eight paid field organizers, and 10000 volunteers could achieve so much in less than 2 years, imagine what can be achieved with a bigger and broader movement . To build a broader movement, the demand for GMO labeling needs to be part of the call for Food Democracy.And the movement in the US needs to connect to movements in other parts of the world like Europe and India where GMO labeling is already mandatory.It took us 8 years to get mandatory labeling in India, beginning with a Supreme Court case in 2006. These connections are also vital to counter the misleading claims of industry.The most misleading is the claim that GMOs are necessary to feed the world,and alternatives like ecological agriculture produce less and are more costly. In 2011, Navdanya produced a report “The GMO Emperor has no clothes” (www.navdanya.org). We have been repeatedly told that genetically engineered crops will save the world by increasing yields and producing more food. They will save the world by controlling pests and weeds. They will save the world by reducing chemical use in agriculture. They will save the world with GMO drought tolerant seeds and other seed traits that will provide resilience in times of climate change. However, the GMO emperor (Monsanto) has no clothes. All of these claims have been established as false over years of experience all across the world. The Global Citizens Report “The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes” brings together evidence from the ground of Monsanto’s and the industry’s false promises and failed technology. Contrary to the claim of feeding the world, genetic engineering has not increased the yield of a single crop. Navdanya’s research in India has shown that contrary to Monsanto’s claim of Bt cotton yield of 1500 kg per acre, the reality is that the yield is an average of 400-500 kg per acre. Although Monsanto’s Indian advertising campaign reports a 50 percent increase in yields for its Bollgard cotton, a survey conducted by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology found that the yields in all trial plots were lower than what the company promised. Failure to Yield, a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists in the U.S., has established that genetic engineering has not contributed to yield increases in any crop. According to this report, increases in crop yields in the U.S. are due to yield characteristics of conventional crops, not genetic engineering. Australian research shows that conventional crops outperform GE crops. In addition to failing to increase yields, genetic engineering has also failed in the narrower objective of controlling pests and weeds. Bt crops have created superpests, and herbicide resistant crops have created superweeds.Pushing a failed technology on the world just for profits through advertising and public relations is irresponsible and immoral. We need to have the option to be GMO free not just for food safety, but also for food security, food sovereignty and food democracy. Farmers in India who became dependent on Monsanto’s GMO seeds were trapped in debt. And 270000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since Monsanto entered India. Most suicides are in the cotton belt.The freedom of the Indian farmer to be free from debt and suicide is intimately linked to the freedom US citizens seek through the Right to Know and the Right to choose GMO free food. GMO food is in fact more costly both because of patents and royalties, and because of higher use of chemicals.In India, Seed costs jumped 8000% when Monsanto monopolised the cotton seed supply through its BT cotton. Pesticide use went up by 1300%. This is the high cost alternative that is being forced on us. That industrial, GMO food becomes cheap is not because of its productivity , but because of the subsidies that go into propping it up. The fight for GMO labeling and the Right to Know is also connected to the fight for Seed Freedom. Monsanto is denying farmers the Right to save Seed through patent laws that make Seed Monsanto’s property and allow it to extract royalties at the cost of farmers lives. This is why we have started the Global citizen’s campaign for Seed Freedom. 120 groups have collectively produced a global report on Seed Freedom.(www.navdanya.org) On the one hand Monsanto is denying citizens the Right to Know if there food has GMOs. On the other hand it is denying farmers the right to be free from pollution through genetic contamination from GMOs. Worse , after contaminating farmers crops ,it uses patent law to claim that the farmer whose field was polluted ,has stolen Monsanto’s genes. This is putting the Polluter Pays Principle on its head and making it “The Polluter gets Paid Priciple”. This why Navdanya joined more than 80 organisations to demand that Monsanto be prevented from suing farmers it has polluted.The organisations include ORGANIC SEED GROWERS AND TRADE ASSOCIATION, ORGANIC CROP IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL, INC., THE CORNUCOPIA INSTITUTE, DEMETER ASSOCIATION, INC., CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY, BEYOND PESTICIDES, NAVDANYA INTERNATIONAL, MAINE ORGANIC FARMERS AND GARDENERS ASSOCIATION, NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK, NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION/MASSACHUSETTS CHAPTER, INC., NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION OF RHODE ISLAND, CT NOFA, NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION OF VERMONT, RURAL VERMONT, OHIO ECOLOGICAL FOOD & FARM ASSOCIATION, FLORIDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC GROWERS AND CONSUMERS INC., SOUTHEAST IOWA ORGANIC ASSOCIATION, MENDOCINO ORGANIC NETWORK, NORTHEAST ORGANIC DAIRY PRODUCERS ALLIANCE, MIDWEST ORGANIC DAIRY PRODUCERS ALLIANCE, WESTERN ORGANIC DAIRY PRODUCERS ALLIANCE, CANADIAN ORGANIC GROWERS, PEACE RIVER ORGANIC PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION, FAMILY FARMER SEED COOPERATIVE, SUSTAINABLE LIVING SYSTEMS, GLOBAL ORGANIC ALLIANCE, FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW!, FARM-TO-CONSUMER LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION, MICHAEL FIELDS AGRICULTURAL INSTITUTE, FEDCO SEEDS INC., ADAPTIVE SEEDS, LLC, SOW TRUE SEED, SOUTHERN EXPOSURE SEED EXCHANGE, MUMM’S SPROUTING SEEDS, BAKER CREEK HEIRLOOM SEED CO., LLC, COMSTOCK, FERRE & CO., LLC, SEEDKEEPERS, LLC, SISKIYOU SEEDS, COUNTRYSIDE ORGANICS, WILD GARDEN SEED, CUATRO PUERTAS, SEED WE NEED, ALBA RANCH, WILD PLUM FARM, GRATITUDE GARDENS, RICHARD EVERETT FARM, LLC, PHILADELPHIA COMMUNITY FARM, INC., GENESIS FARM, CHISPAS FARMS LLC, MIDHEAVEN FARMS, KOSKAN FARMS, CALIFORNIA CLOVERLEAF FARMS, NORTH OUTBACK FARM, TAYLOR FARMS, INC., RON GARGASZ ORGANIC FARMS, ABUNDANT ACRES, T & D WILLEY FARMS, FULL MOON FARM, INC., COMMON GOOD FARM, LLC, AMERICAN BUFFALO COMPANY, RADIANCE DAIRY, QUINELLA RANCH, NATURE’S WAY FARM LTD., LEVKE AND PETER EGGERS FARM, FREY VINEYARDS, LTD., BRYCE STEPHENS, CHUCK NOBLE, LARHEA PEPPER, PAUL ROMERO, BRIAN WICKERT, BRUCEDRINKMAN,MURRAYBAST,andDONALDWRIGHTPATTERSON,JR., Plaintiffs-Appellants, and OCIA RESEARCH AND EDUCATION INC., NORTHERN PLAINS SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE SOCIETY, MANITOBA ORGANIC ALLIANCE, UNION PAYSANNE, FAMILY FARM DEFENDERS INC., INTERLAKE FORAGE SEEDSLTD.,KIRSCHENMANNFAMILYFARMSINC.,ANDJARDINDELALMA, As we connect the dots and create synergies and solidarity across different strands of the movements for Food Democracy,we will get stronger. Only peoples movements can bring down dictatorships. And the diverse movements for Seed Freedom and Food Freedom will surely see the end of Monsanto’s food dictatorship.