Okanagan residents ‘March Against Monsanto’

About 300 people marched in Kelowna Saturday in support of an international initiative against Monsanto and genetically modified food.

Children were among the 300 people who took part in Saturday's March Against Monsanto. The Kelowna demonstration was held in support of an international initiative against Monsanto and genetically modified food.

Approximately 300 people marched in Kelowna Saturday in support of an international initiative against Monsanto and genetically modified food.

Kelowna was one of about 430 cities to participate in the global march.

“Monsanto was targeted because it is the largest seed producer in the world; they’re the largest company involved in genetically modifying organisms,” said Jason Bednar, one of the organizers of Kelowna’s March Against Monsanto.

Bednar noted the top issue among many of those who protested Saturday is the proper labelling of all GMO products, which isn’t currently a mandatory requirement.

Other issues listed on the March Against Monsanto Kelowna Facebook page include: Protecting the food supply, supporting local farmers, spreading awareness about harmful effects of genetically modified food and promoting organic solutions.

Signs at the demonstration ranged from “Hell no, GMO” to “I am not a science experiment.”

“Essentially we the people are lab rats—they don’t know the long-term consequences of these GMOs,” said Bednar.

According to Monsanto’s website, global population growth has created a need for agriculture to become “more productive and more sustainable” in order to meet demand.

“We are committed to developing the technologies that enable farmers to produce more crops while conserving more of the natural resources that are essential to their success,” states the website.

The company also argues genetically modified crops are as safe as non genetically modified food.

Bednar said an increasing number of Okanagan residents have an opposing viewpoint and the issue is gaining traction.

About 400 people took part in Penticton’s march; just less than 100 made their voices heard in Vernon Saturday.

He noted there was a variety of ages taking part in Kelowna’s demonstration.

“There was so much passion by the whole group,” said Bednar.

“It was good to see the youth out there. It seems like the young people are becoming more socially and politically aware.”

He added the goal is to continue to build upon Saturday’s momentum.

“The idea is to continue to march against Monsanto in our buying habits and continuing to get the word out.

“The campaign will continue.”

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com