Polish farmers hunger strike over GMOs

When I visited Poland during the summer of 2007 I was encouraged to see that Polish agriculture was still functioning on a small local scale. I saw a cow being milking in a field into a pail and hay being transported along the road in a horse-drawn wagon. I visited a few farmers markets and bought produce there. I was thrilled to hear that the Polish government had taken a strong stand against allowing GMO crops into the country. But now, it seems that stand is wavering. Here’s the latest news we have on the situation in Poland, from OrganicConsumers.org:

Polish farmers seem to be under no illusions as to whats at stake with the introduction of GMOs into their local biosphere.

Polish farmers seem to be under no illusions as to what's at stake with the introduction of GMOs.

“Edyta Jaroszewska, 42 year old organic farmer and the chairperson of the Organic Farmers Association, started hunger strike against GMO cultivation in front of Ministry of Agriculture, Warsaw, Poland two days ago.
Two days ago Danuta Pilarska, another organic farmer and chairperson of  The Organic Farmer’s Union, joined her. Yesterday, both women, together with other members of the Coalition for a GMO Free Poland, joined a meeting of the Polish government’s Agricultural Committee in the Senate in Warsaw. The committee was discussing the future of GMO in Poland.

After a few hours of debate Edyta concluded “There’s no political will within the Polish government to stop corporations from illegal planting of the GM maize variety MON 810 – and to ensure that Poland is kept GMO free. This opens the possibility of the widespread planting of MON 810 during this year. So we don’t have another choice other than to stay here and fight!”

Today, the fasting ladies, supported by other members of the Coalition, have been protesting in front of the Ministry of Agriculture in Warsaw.

See photos http://icppc.pl/pl/gmo/index.php?id=470

Taking a stand against GMOs in Poland.

Taking a stand against GMOs in Poland.

* Dear friends – we and they need your support!! Please send your personal letter of support for Danuta and Edita’s brave action to the Polish Ministers (see below). The goals of our fasting ladies and the Coalition for a GMO Free Poland are:

1. To reinforce the BAN of all GM plants and – and as a fast-track – ban the maize MON 810.
2. To introduce labelling of all GM foods and gradually withdraw these foods from the market.
3. To introduce a BAN of GM animal feeds.
4. To use social/public funds (tax payer’s money) to support traditional and
organic farming.

Please send a copy of your letter to:
The Prime Minister – Donald Tusk
The Chancellery of the Prime Minister
Al. Ujazdowskie 1/3
00-583 Warszawa,  Poland
e-mail: cirinfo@kprm.gov.pl
fax. +48 22 6252637

and a copy to us, please!

ICPPC – International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
Miedzynarodowa Koalicja dla Ochrony Polskiej Wsi
34-146 Stryszów 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114
http://www.icppc.pl  ”

We thank editor Jim Scott at Salt Spring News for bringing this story to our attention. Here are his comments on the situation: 

“Some say that if farmers don’t want problems from Monsanto, they simply shouldn’t buy Monsanto’s GMO seeds. But it isn’t quite that simple. Monsanto contaminates the fields, trespasses onto the land taking samples, and then sues, saying they own the crop. Meanwhile, Monsanto is taking many other steps to keep farmers and everyone else from having any access at all to buying, collecting, and saving of normal seeds.”

Further reading on GMOs:

Bad Seed: Corporate/Gov’t takeover of U.S. Food Supply (from Journal of Whole Food and Nutrition)

Monsanto planting seeds in the White House (from Postcarbon institute)
Seeds of Deception, a 10-page summary of the book, by author Jeffrey M. Smith

Praise for the Book Seeds of Deception (see link to summary above)
“Outrageous! That’s what you’ll say when you read how the biotechnology companies have manipulated the government, our food, and the media, and put an entire generation at risk.”
           – Ben Cohen, Co-Founder, Ben & Jerry’s

“Clear, profound, and unerringly accurate, Seeds of Deception tells you what you need to know about genetically engineered food – and what Monsanto won’t tell you. If you care about the safety of our food supply, if you care what corporations are doing to your food and health, this is the book to get.”
          – John Robbins, author, The Food Revolution, and Diet For A New America

“This pivotal exposé leaves no doubt that politics and corporate influence, not sound science, allowed these potentially dangerous GM foods onto supermarket shelves.”
           – Joe Mendelson, Legal Director, Center for Food Safety

“I have seen first hand how Monsanto and the FDA resorted to scientific deceit of the highest order to market genetically engineered milk. With captivating style and a flair for describing science in clear, accurate language, Seeds of Deception unveils the distortions, omissions, and lies for all to see.”
           – Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus environmental and occupational medicine
                 University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
                   Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition

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