Farmers Protest at US/Canada Border: Giant Banner Says No to GMOs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, APRIL 17, 2004
DERBY LINE, VT / POCK ISLAND, PQ - April 17 - Over fifty American and Canadian farmers rallied at the border today to mark the April 17th International Day of Farmers' Struggle with a festive array of puppets, placards, and a giant banner hung from the Interstate 91 overpass above the border crossing saying no to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in English, French, and Spanish.
79 Vermont towns have passed measures calling for a Time Out on GMOs, and the House & Senate have now approved a measure to label all genetically engineered seeds sold in the state. Today's rally coincides with farmer protests in over 26 nations around the world to stand up for farmer's rights and food sovereignty, and say no to GMO crops and corporate 'free'-trade.
"We are here at the border to demonstrate the global solidarity of farmers in the face of corporate globalization," said Hillary Martin, a farmer from Burlington, Vermont. "The corporate takeover of agriculture has impoverished farmers, starved communities, and force-fed us hazardous genetically engineered crops, only to line the pockets of a handful of multinational corporations like Monsanto at the expense of farmers who are struggling for land and livelihood around the world!"
"Vermonters have spoken loud and clear in our capitol against GMOs and they're starting to get the drift that coexistence of GMO and conventional means contaminated crops" said Dexter Randal, a 7th generation conventional dairy farmer from Troy, Vermont. "But this is a global fight. We're here to say no to Ag policies that put family farmers out to pasture-GMOs and new trade deals like CAFTA are just more of the same corporate greed that is pitting farmers in a race-to-the-bottom."
Today's rally highlighted the fact that Vermont's Governor, Jim Douglas, recently signed Vermont on to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), an expansion of NAFTA that farmers fear will further erode food sovereignty and push GMOs on Central America.
Saturday's global day of action is called by the international farmers' movement Via Campesina (www.viacampesina.org), which marks this day to commemorate the massacre of 19 members of the MST, the 2.5 million member landless workers' movement of Brazil. Farmer demonstrations are underway in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Switzerland, and Mozambique, among 20+ other nations.
CONTACT: GE Free Vermont
Amy Shollenberger, 802.793.1114
Doyle Canning, 802.999.7502