Kimberly Porlier poses in St. Jean Baptiste Park with one of the posters for her upcoming event. – Stephen Dafoe photo
by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A local version of the global March Against Monsanto is being organized for World Food Day on Oct. 12. Marchers will depart from St. Jean Baptiste Park at noon, marching down 100 Avenue to the Morinville Community Cultural Centre, where organizers will screen Genetic Roulette, a documentary about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).
Organizer and Morinville resident Kimberly Porlier said she has been learning about GMOs and biotech foods over the past decade and has become more passionate about the matter since having children. “I’m concerned about reading the labels and seeing what’s in our foods,” she said. “You think you are giving your child something that’s real fruit and come to find out it’s been genetically modified and is full of high-fructose corn syrup and all of these other ingredients that have been proven over the last few years to cause everything from mood disorders to asthma to allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer; a whole wide range of health issues.”
The Oct. 12 event is one of many such marches taking place around the world that day. The event identifies Monsanto by name; a company Porlier said is one of the largest biotech companies involved in genetically modifying food. But local marchers will be walking and talking about all companies involved in genetically modifying foods. The march is looking to raise awareness about protecting food supplies, supporting local farms, protecting the environment, promoting organic solutions, and exposing what organizers see as cronyism between big business and government.
“We’ve already come to a place where 80 per cent of the food on our shelves is genetically modified without the general public’s awareness,” she said. “I think if we don’t bring awareness to the subject, they will take over our food supply. That is their goal.”
It is something Porlier and those supporting the event want to prevent. The organizer said Canada and the United States have the highest cancer rates of all the industrialized nations in the world. “Canada and the United States are the largest producers of genetically modified organisms,” she said.
Monsanto disputes the claims its crops are unsafe. The company’s website indicates, “…food derived from authorized genetically-modified (GM) crops is as safe as conventional (non-GM-derived) food.” Further corporate information suggests the first large-scale planting of herbicide tolerant soybeans took place in 1996 after passing US regulations and that subsequent “GM crops with herbicide tolerance, insect tolerance and virus resistance have been given clearance for planting and consumption.” The company claims there has been no “substantiated instance of illness or harm associated with GM crops.”
Porlier and the event’s supporters do not believe the corporate claims, but the Morinville event will not solely be in opposition to big business and biotech foods. The plan is to educate participants about the healthier opportunities available closer to home.
“We will have a celebration of local foods and organic foods, and some awareness regarding what Monsanto is doing and their genetic modification of our crops and our food supply,” she said, adding the event will feature local agricultural speakers and giveaways geared towards awareness on how to make healthier choices. “I think there has been a global shift in our awareness. All of us are starting to become more concerned about it. People are starting to [be involved with] growing back to your roots.”
Porlier said there were marches in 52 countries held in May of this year, organized by people who want genetically modified food stopped. The October event is also set to take place in 52 countries. More than 400 cities and towns are set to participate.
The Morinville March Against Monsanto will take place Oct. 12 at noon. For more information visit facebook.com/GMOfreemorinville.
Fantastic! I am so happy that this event is being staged in Morinville, and that more awareness is being brought the public at large! If we don’t act, nothing will change. Now is the time!
I cheer awareness on this subject and ridding of Monsanto GMO 100%….all the way! To be honest, we can’t be sure what is and what isn’t GMO anymore. Those seeds we use to plant our gardens…..??? Some things are for sure, very few starving but obesity is up; money is made. People are sick, money is made. Our guts are a large part of our immune systems yet so many guts aren’t healthy! It’s so wrong that we must pay more and search so hard for GMO free foods. Government wins, the pharmaceutical companies win, our health care system is strained and our people are being negatively affected. I can only hope that there is power to the people and a take down of Monsanto.
Which of our foods are genetically modified? All of them. Corn did not exist 10,000 years ago in it’s current form. Ditto for wheat, beef cattle, bananas and so on. As for corn syrup coming out of fruit that is patent nonsense. Corn syrup comes from one place: corn.
While these folks are free to protest whatever they like, their claims are based on a poor understanding of genetics, directed and natural selection and basic science. As for their concerns that GMOs are harmful to humans, they fail to understand that our digestive systems do not absorb DNA or RNA. The acids in our systems break down these down into mononeucleotydes. Basically, the genetic material is destroyed for absorption/disposal by the digestive system and as such the source RNA/DNA has no effect whatsoever on any individuals genetic makeup.
Science: it works.
@ Don: Evolution is a natural process. Humans are natural living things. However the rate at which our food sources are forced to evolve is unnatural. The pesticides, herbicides and gentetic changes of our food IS causing unhealthy people, in which pharmaceutical companies are making fat cash on. Health is in the gut and the only way to absorb what we need is by intake/consumption. Before schooling and literature, before a child can make informed decisions…..there is it’s thing call intuition. I recommend people reconnect and tap into that. Or don’t. But at the end if the day, once again, it’s the giant corporations that flood your brain with info THEY paid to create. In turn, fill their own pockets. There is no money in starving populations but there is money in giant yeilds in crops and people becoming obese and sick. So rather than enabling small local farmers to produce what this population really needs, it seems people with your train of thought like to see less wide open fields, less fresh air, less healthy drinking water and more money in giant takeover companies. Not a pretty picture!
“Intuition” or “faith” are not reliable ways of acquiring knowledge. Science is. My “train of thought” is that anyone making a claim has the burden of proof to demonstrate the truth and accuracy of their claim. The subject of the article has alleged that fruit contains corn syrup, this is patently false and utterly absurd. She also alleged that people are made ill from GMOs. Was this knowledge acquired through “intuition” or was it obtained from studies that passed the peer-review process? Both you and she have every right to make your claims and people have every right to examine your rationale for arriving at the conclusions you have, disagreeing with said rationale and pointing out the flaws in it.
As for buying locally, that’s a perfectly fine idea and I have no issue with that whatsoever. You will note that previous to this I made no comment about buying locally, however you took the liberty to assign a position to me, one which I do not hold. This is called a strawman argument and is an informal logical fallacy.
Beliefs inform our actions and our actions have consequences. For example, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) was pretty much eradicated in North America until the anti-vaccination crowd scared people into not having their children immunized. Then the diseases surged and a few children even died, all because Jenny McCarthy told them “Big Pharma” was producing vaccines that induced autism, a claim that was and is an absolute falsehood.
Evolution is simply the change in allele frequency over time. This change can be induced by natural selection or by artificial selection, it is not restricted to natural forces. Human beings developed the banana from it’s predecessor the plantain. Through hybridization, selective breeding and crop management we caused the changes we wanted and bred out the ones we didn’t. We’ve done this with grains, livestock, pets and so on.
All this said, I applaud both you and Ms Porlier for expressing your concerns. You have identified an issue that is of concern to you and you are wanting to make people aware of it. Simply put, you want to make life better for your families, friends and neighbours and this is quite definitely a noble goal. My concern is that we deal in facts and verifiable data, not “intuition” when discussing matters that are scientifically demonstrable.
Good for Kim! you never know what you are eating these days. Unfortunately GMO’s are alive and well in North America. Europe has banned them for a reason.
Science has proven that GMO’s cause hive collapses in bees. Bees pollinate the majority of crops/flowers in this Country.
Science has also proven that this may be not the case. It all comes down to who is funding the science, what science they are using and who is writing the article.
It’s science, Don.
Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings Chris – Europe has NOT banned GMOs.
While some countries have banned some GMOs, others have not and the fight rages on!
Don, nowhere in the article does it say high-fructose corn syrup comes from fruit. I quote: “You think you are giving your child something that’s real fruit and come to find out it’s been genetically modified and is full of high-fructose corn syrup and all of these other ingredients that have been proven over the last few years to cause everything from mood disorders to asthma to allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer; a whole wide range of health issues.” She is simply stating a fact. I’ve done a TON of label reading this past year to try to avoid a large variety of unnatural foods and it’s amazing how many products in our stores are just plain FAKE food.
I will agree with the point Chris made. I am all for science and all the research that it entails, even with the food we eat. But be very careful about putting your trust in the various corporations who want to you to believe their paid scientists and nutricians. Like many “scientists” in our storied history, they don’t necessarily work for the common good of mankind. I think that the most important thing we can do is to educate preserves as best we can on what we are actually consuming. This includes reading the labels. As a society, we are all entitled to make choices about what we are eating. It is very important that our government force these producers/retailers to put facts in the labels, so people can make educated decisions.
If Ms. Porlier is talking about tinned fruit, then the corn syrup is an additive and not a genetic modification of the fruit and the fruit itself is irrelevant. If she meant something other than what she stated, then she should clarify. As it stands, it reads that corn syrup is present as a result of genetic modification of the fruit.
Reading labels on foods is an excellent idea and I agree, the general public would benefit greatly from understanding what is in prepackaged and prepared foods. There are definitely a lot of empty calories out there on offer and understanding the nutritional value (or the lack thereof) in the food we consume is something that should be promoted. You made an excellent point here, Chris and thank you for it.
As for Colony Collapse Disorder, no peer-reviewed articles have linked GMOs to that phenomenon. In fact, pesticides are considered to be partially responsibe and ironically one of the sought-after effects of genetic modification is to make crops more resistant to insects, hence requiring less use of pesticides and with less possibility of attendant run-off into water sources, etc.
That said, this is a great discussion and I applaud folks for remaining civil and open-minded in the discourse.
@Don: Considering my occupation as a nurse, considering my choice to become a loving mother, considering I choose real life over some stories in a big old book known as the bible, I too understand and appreciate real science. I also use that quiet but strong feeling within me to direct and guide me in my life including my occupation. Yes, that’s right…..mother’s and nurses use intuition AND science! I question the ability of large corporations and governments to deliver legitimate results of their scientific tests. Genetically modified foods are not broken down EXACTLY as normally evolved sources. We need to evolve together. Google symbiosis….my son learnt about this in Grade 1 🙂 People are having more difficulties digesting food. All these food allergies and illnesses are result of our bodies rejecting the food! If government funded science is the one and only answer, then why all the digestive diseases??? Why so many auto immune victims? Yes, an open mind is definitely required and I have that! But the one thing I won’t loose is my intuition, my ability to think for myself rather than those with the stock prods in hand, forcing the herd in one direction. There is no need for a food monopoly! It is true, our yields are stronger due to less loss from nature. But what upset the balance of nature in the first place? Modifications!!!!
I do not like that tomatoes don’t taste like tomato. I do not like that our pollinators are dying. I do not like that beautiful, healthy fields are being taken over by some high rise owning corporation. I do not like to see so many people tolerably ill. I am so very fortunate that my little family is healthy and not burdening the healthcare system. So for now, I will educate my kids on what real food is. We will eat as organic and non GMO as we can. I won’t put poison in the mouths of my children….Perhaps, you’d like to do our own little test? You go eat all those lovely modified foods they want you to intake and I’ll do my best to consume my organic, unaltered yet evolved foods….then we can talk in 10 years…..hopefully not me at your bedside, empathetic to the disease being suffered, applying my training, using my intuition and administering your pharmaceuticals.
Thank you for this discussion. I appreciate all trains of thought, although I may not agree 🙂 Discussion and debates bring change!
Dear Mr. Don Summers
I am excited to hear that there is so much passion surrounding this issue. That alone was my intention, to spread awareness and to get us talking as a community about this situation. There are so many levels to this topic that it is easy to get lost. With regards to your comments I will provide some facts on GMO’s that are scientifically backed, not based on my “intuition”.
The crops that are at the highest risk of being GMO are as follows:
Corn, Canola, Soy, Cotton, Flax, Wheat, Sugar Beets, Alfalfa, Rice, Yellow Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Papaya.
The following products are also at high risk of being contaminated with GMO’s due to Animal feed, pollination, and hormone use etc.;
Milk, Meat, Eggs, Honey products.
Genetic Engineering (GE foods are synonymous to GMO foods) of food has not exsisted for 10,000 years, infact we have only been consuming them for the last decade. What you are referring to is the hybridization of plants which is a completely different process. Hybridization is the combining of specific traits within a species by natural selection to attain a desired trait. Genetic Modification, on the other hand, is the extraction of a gene from a plant, animal, bacteria, or virus that is then forced into another species. An example of this is Bt Corn, which is now over 80% of the corn produced today. It was created by extracting a soil bacteria that destroys the pests that damage corn crops, and forcing it into the DNA of the corn so that it produces the bacteria on its own. When the pests eat the corn, their stomachs burst and they die. (This is where my intuition starts to scream “If it kills the pests that eat it, what happens when my child eats it?” Not scientific I know but may also be considered common sense.)
Dear Mr. Don Summers cont..
There have also been scientific studies proving that consumtion of GMO’s can actually alter our DNA. It has been shown that microRNA and DNA from foods derived from GMOs can transfer from our gut bacteria to our blood stream where they can attach themselves to our organs. This has been linked to many health hazards including infertility, decreased immune function, and cancer, which just happens to be on the rise especially in North America where GMO foods are so prevalent.
On my comment refering to High-Fructose Corn Syrup, I am aware that it is derived from the genetic modification of corn and not fruit. I was talking about the marketing ploys used by commercial companies to dupe parents into buying products laced with chemicals, such as High-Fructose Corn Syrup. Parents are encouraged to believe that they are purchasing a healthier choice when choosing conventional “fruit snacks”, for example, because it is disgised as being “Real Fruit”. I hope that this clarifies my comment for you.
Regarding your statement about the falsehood of the MMR vaccine inducing Autism, maybe you haven’t heard.
I do however agree with you wholeheartedly on your comment about our actions having consequences. I fear for the consequences that will follow the global contamination of our crops. I suppose only time will tell.
On the subject of Colony Collapse Disorder, there have been many articles linking neoticotinoid, and glyphosate, the chemical used on “Roundup ready” crops, to bee deaths. It has also been proven that, contrary to marketing slogans, GMO crops do not reduce pesticide use and in many cases they require heavier applications or stronger pesticides due to the increase in supper weeds. The province of Ontario is looking to ban these chemicals from use.