The National Farmers Union in Ontario has called for a national day of action for April 9, 2013 to stop the commercial release of GM alfalfa.
On March 2, 2013 at the NFU Region 3 Convention/NFU-Ontario AGM passed the resolution: “Be it resolved that the National Farmers Union – Ontario call on farm organizations in Ontario and across Canada, other civil society organizations and concerned consumers to join NFU-O members in a day of action against the release of GM alfalfa to be held at MP’s constituency offices on April 9, 2013.”
We are working with the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) to organize events. (NFU is a member of CBAN). Join an event near you, or organize one yourself. For a list of confirmed events and tips on how to organize your own, check out the CBAN website here.
Share event info about the day of action on Facebook
Why is Stopping GM Alfalfa Urgent?
Monsanto’s GM alfalfa could be registered for use in Eastern Canada this April. GM Roundup Ready alfalfa varieties have just been cleared for the last step before they hit the market – all they need now is a final registration rubber-stamp by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The Canadian Seed Trade Association and its corporate members including Monsanto, Pioneer and Forage Genetics International are also actively trying to get support for the release of GM alfalfa.
Because alfalfa is a perennial plant that is pollinated by bees, genetically modified alfalfa will inevitably cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic alfalfa, threatening the livelihoods of family farmers across Canada. Prairie farmers have already rejected GM alfalfa for these reasons so now the industry is trying to introduce GM alfalfa in Eastern Canada.
Why is GM Alfalfa Such a Huge Threat?
GM contamination is inevitable because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by insects. In Ontario, weeds are becoming resistant to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup): another glyphosate tolerant crop like Roundup Ready alfalfa would increase these weeds. Alfalfa is almost always grown in a mix with grasses and establishes readily without the use of herbicides. Farmers don’t want or need Roundup Ready alfalfa. If genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered or GE) alfalfa is released in Eastern Canada, it will have negative impacts on a wide range of farmers and farming systems, both conventional and organic.
Why is Alfalfa Important?
Alfalfa (commonly harvested as hay) is a high-protein forage fed to animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, poultry and pigs. It‘s also used to build nutrients and organic matter in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming. If it’s introduced, GM alfalfa will ruin export markets for alfalfa products, contaminate family farms, make it more difficult for farmers to control weeds, and threaten the future of organic food and farming in Canada.
How Can I Organize an Action in My Community?
The National Farmers Union and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network have produced an action kit with details on how to make your action successful. We have posters, flyers, information on GM alfalfa and other materials to help you.
For more information please see the CBAN website or feel free to email Ann Slater in Ontario or call her at (519) 349-2448; or outside of Ontario email Cathy Holtslander in Saskatoon or call (306) 652-9465 or call CBAN for direct support or to discuss ideas – call Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network at 613 241 2267 ext 25 or email Lucy.
Read GM Alfalfa in Canada: Update on “unconfined release status” by Katherine Rothermel, NFU Member, Local 316
Watch a video of farmers telling how GM alfalfa would affect them if it is allowed to be grown in Canada.
Watch an educational cartoon video in which a little bee shows how GM contamination cannot be stopped if GM alfalfa is allowed to be grown in Canada.
NFU in NB and ACORN joint press release: GM alfalfa threatens farmers livelihoods