By Rene Thompson|Editor-in-Chief
The Albuquerque March Against Monsanto had a great turnout, with more than 1500 people attending, said event coordinator Chris Perkins.
Organizers confirmed that two million people marched in 50 countries worldwide to protest the Monsanto Corporation and the use of genetically modified foods. The Saturday May 25 march began at UNM campus and ended at Civic Plaza downtown.
Benjamin Hansen, Culinary Arts major, said the reason he was marching against Monsanto is because Monsanto puts their profits and wealth above the common good, above people and the right to information for sustainable life.
“GMOs are untested and unknown and I think people have the right to know whether they’re eating them or not. Also, there have been quite a few correlations in the die off of bees we’ve been having because of the pesticide chemicals produced by Monsanto,” he said.
When asked about the SB 18 bill that was shut down by 23 senate votes in January that would have brought the labeling of GM foods to New Mexico, Hansen said he thinks it is unfortunate that our elected state representatives do not think that their constituents have a right to know what they are eating.
“What Monsanto is doing is trademarking life when they are able to pass a patent on their seeds into law, and they’re making it so they’re not liable for damages that their products might be causing, and for me it is very blatant that they know what side effects are occurring with their products, which they have passed into law so they are not held accountable for later on,” he said.
Organizers that rallied the march had food truck vendors from TFK Smokehouse and Conchita’s Creations, as well as organic fruits and starter plants, guest speakers, music, a raffle and an arts and crafts contest for children.
“The organizers had shuttles taking people to and from the original site to the final event at Civic Plaza, which made it much easier for people to get back to their cars after the march,” said member of Food and Water Watch, Eleanor Bravo.
Kaitlin Delozier, Liberal Arts major, said she went to the march in support of food grown naturally, not genetically modified.
“Everything tastes so much better and is better for you when foods are naturally grown and not full of additives and preservatives, which really are not good for anyone,” she said.
Laws passed for Monsanto have changed the way farmers use seeds, she said.
Farmers cannot reuse seeds grown from their own crops and must buy new seeds every season, she said.
“It puts plenty of farmers in a bad position, and I’m sure there are farmers that don’t want to grow these crops; they want to grow good and nutritious foods to feed people, but unfortunately they’re stuck with using Monsanto because of the corporate seed monopoly,” she said.
Delozier said she was glad to see such a big turnout and support for this cause, and she hopes that things will change in the future and food will be sustainable without being genetically modified.
For more information on GM foods or to volunteer go to march-against-monsanto.com.