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March for Food Freedom, March Against Monsanto and Pollinator ‘Die In

What: Rally, march and demonstration “March for Food Freedom, March Against Monsanto and pollinator ‘die in!’”

When: Saturday, May 23, 2015. Rally begins at 2pm; march will begin around 2:45pm

Where: Rally: Congress Square Park. March route: Congress Street headed east to Monument Square (where demonstration will take place), then continue east to right on Exchange Street, then down to right on Fore Street, right on Center Street to left on Spring Street, right on High Street, then right on Congress Street returning to Congress Square Park

Whitley Marshall,

Green Initiatives is once again hosting the March Against Monsanto in Portland, ME with co-sponsors Food and Water Watch, Food for Maine’s Future, Food Not Bombs, and the Organic Consumers Association as a part of a global movement fighting for the right to know what is in our food, and against toxic chemicals and herbicides created by Monsanto which have led to various health and environmental concerns.

To illustrate the harmful effects of the toxic products produced by Monsanto on the environment such as bee colony collapse, we will be holding a pollinator “die-in” demonstration as a part of this year’s March for Food Freedom-March Against Monsanto. Participants are encouraged to dress up as a bee, butterfly, veggie, or in a hazmat suit like a Monsanto worker to spray the pollinators “dead”. The rally, march and pollinator “die-in” demonstration will be held on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 2pm beginning and ending in Congress Square Park. The “die-in” demonstration will happen as a part of the march and will occur in Monument Square. Hundreds of people have RSVP’d to this year’s event with many claiming that this year is more important than ever to raise awareness about Monsanto as there are exciting efforts happening locally in Portland, statewide and nationally as well as scary studies that have come and continue to come forth.

A little background:

The World Health Organization just released research and a statement which states that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s most widely used pesticide RoundUp is “likely carcinogenic.” Read more here. Additionally, scientists have released a study which proves that toxic chemicals in the environment have led to bee colony collapse as well as the shrinking butterfly population.

Maine Lawmakers with the Organic Consumers Association have introduced a bill, LD 991, requiring immediate GMO labeling in Maine, removing the current trigger clause which requires five consecutive adjacent states to all require GMO labeling prior to the labeling bill going into effect in Maine. The Maine State legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry heard public testimony on LD 991, "An Act To Amend Maine's Genetically Modified Food Products Labeling Law"; and LD 783, “Resolution: Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to Food” had its public hearing on April 30th. Speakers will address both bills at the rally.

All current and future GMO legislation would be threatened if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement passes. Just this past Tuesday the Senate unexpectedly voted 52 to 45 to block debate on Fast Track legislation that would have forbidden Congress from making amendments to the TPP. Another Fast Track proposal is expected to rise in the next couple weeks. Should this agreement pass, GMO labeling would no longer be allowed. Counties like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand with existing legislation would no longer be able to label their food. Read more about the TPP here.

Speakers will include:

 Betsy Garrold, president of board of directors for Food for Maine’s Future
 Charlotte Warren, Maine State Representative (Hallowell) and co-sponsor of LD991
 Jeremy Bloom, Portland Mayor’s Food Initiative Committee member
 Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association
 Whitley Marshall, president of Green Initiatives
 Various students throughout the state studying GMO’s and farming

Green Initiatives is a grassroots non-profit organization that realizes the rights of all are inextricably tied to the health of our ecological systems. Our vision is a sustainable and just future for all living things. Green Initiatives will work until all people share equally in the resources afforded to us by our society and environment, and participate equally in the decision-making processes that distribute these resources. We promote ecological wisdom and social justice through education and direct action. We unite diverse communities, neighborhood by neighborhood, to expand civic participation and save our eco-systems.

Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment. Food & Water Watch envisions a healthy future for our families and for generations to come, a world where all people have the wholesome food, clean water and sustainable energy they need to thrive. We believe this will happen when people become involved in making democracy work and when people, not corporations, control the decisions that affect their lives and communities.

Food for Maine’s Future is part of a growing international movement for food sovereignty. Our work is informed and strengthened through relationships with our allies in La Via Campesina. FMF is working to build solidarity and alliances between rural people in Maine and around the world. We are pushing the local foods movement to incorporate issues like land reform, ending patents, and the need for political organizing to push back against the well-funded agribusiness lobby.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

Food Not Bombs is an organization which recovers food that would have been discarded and shares it as a way of protesting war and poverty. With fifty cents of every U.S. federal tax dollar going to the military and forty percent of our food being discarded while so many people were struggling to feed their families that we could inspire the public to press for military spending to be redirected to human needs. We also reduce food waste and meet the direct needs of our community by collecting discarded food, preparing vegan meals that we share with the hungry while providing literature about the need to change our society. Food Not Bombs also provides food to protesters, striking workers and organize food relief after natural and political crisis.