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Food Fight: Farmers Unite against Monsanto

Another chapter in the ongoing David-and-Goliath saga between organic farmers and the agriculture and biotechnology company Monsanto kicked off recently with a lawsuit filed in federal court. 

What’s the Latest Development?

The lawsuit Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto was recently filed in federal court by the Public Patent Foundation in an attempt to prevent family farms from being sued by Monsanto and to undermine the company’s patents on genetically modified or transgenic seeds. The Foundation claims over 270,000 members and hopes to stop what it sees as a multinational corporation bullying smaller workers with its enormous resources. The lawsuit is a pushback against Monsanto’s aggressive defense of its seed patents and its equally aggressive promotion of the transgenic seed business.

What’s the Big Idea?

For an organization that ostensibly works to feed the world, Monsanto has acquired a monstrous reputation. Perhaps the most controversial part of its business is to immunize popular crops like soybeans against herbicides (which it also produces) through genetic modification which it then patents sells to farmers. “The lawsuit claims that currently 85-90% of all soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar beets, and canola grown in the United States contain Monsanto’s patented genes, primarily marketed under the RoundUp Ready brand, and its global reach is extending.”


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