On Saturday, May 23rd 2015, dozens of engaged citizens met in Springfield, MO; they joined with over 400 other cities in protesting the terrible environmental and business practices used by MONSANTO, one of the agricultural giants responsible for chemicals such as Agent Orange, DDT, and DEET- among many others. These chemicals have been proven to be directly responsible for many types of cancers which continue to manifest to this day in our Vietnam veterans and in the Vietnamese people. Additionally, their current products (round-up, and plants that have been genetically modified to survive large doses of round-up) have lead to widespread mono-cropping , which drains the soils of key nutrients and microbes. Their solution of petroleum-based fertilizers is a very temporary band-aid that damages the region further.
“Good morning! It is my honor to have been invited to speak with you today. It’s encouraging to see so many friends of the fight. Many thanks to everyone for their hard work organizing and promoting this event, and to all of you for being here.
My name is Lucas, I am here on behalf of Veterans for Peace as a show of solidarity in the fight against Monsanto’s unethical legal and business practices.
For true and lasting change to occur, we must not only reject the status quo, but we must make it terrifying for corporations to seek to fool, misdirect, ignore, or suppress the general public. We must retaliate by starving them of the one thing they need above all else- the lifeblood of the unjustly personified corporation- We must starve them of OUR MONEY. It doesn’t become their money until we give it to them. Every purchase we make is a vote of confidence, an investment in the business practices of those we hand those dollars to.
Financing corporations like Monsanto, and the entities that buy their products, is, in effect, a vote for the values that contaminated hundreds of thousands of our our bravest men and women, and an entire nation of people with chemicals like Agent Orange and DEET. It is a vote against shifting the balance of economic power and food security back toward the individual.
It is not enough to simply criticize a system we believe to be unethical; We must engage with the issue through education and healthy debate. We have to cease supporting these organizations with our dollars and our electoral votes, and we must encourage others to do the same.
Just a handful of corporations supply the majority of food here in the US, and even the world. For example, internationally, grain trading is dominated by just five companies.
So, how are we to provide for our food needs in a world where the supply is under such narrow control? How do we regain that control?
We create a new supply. Our own supply.
Those who have yards- why waste all that space? With a little time and effort, those yards can be turned into gardens- gardens that can provide safe, cheap, healthy food for ourselves and our families.Gardens that can allow us to keep the money we would have given to a corporation, and use it for our own benefit. Gardens that develop our local ecosystems, that encourage more diversity of insects and microbes in the soil. There are no shortages of examples out there- large yields are possible on even small plots of land- and in dense urban environments. We can help restore our environments while restoring ourselves and our communities, while thumbing our noses at the powers that be, all at the same time. In this day and age, gardening is most definitely an act of rebellion- and also a very powerful tool in the fight to curb the effects of climate change. The benefits go on and on.
During WWI and WWII, the Victory Garden Movement spurred a entire nation to provide virtually ALL of it’s domestic vegetable supply, and up 40% of it’s total food supply. 20 million gardens were planted in the name of freedom. Community co-ops formed around these gardens, which got neighbors engaging with one another, working together, eating together, speaking with each other. They relied on their own ingenuity and determination to provide for one of our most critical, and often one of our most expensive, needs. At the time, this was done to “reduce pressure” on public food supply. We can use that same patriotism and tenacity again, this time as a means of independence from massive food corporations like Monsanto who wish to rule the market, and thus the people dependent upon that market.
Choice begins with knowledge and education. If we are unaware of what is in the food we buy, or how to seek alternative means of food security, we cannot pursue them, and we will remain at the mercy of what is available on the grocery store shelf. For this reason, I believe it is vitally important the we push our state and federal leadership hard to mandate the labeling of genetically modified foods, and to include gardening classes in our school curriculum. The school system should not only teach our children skills needed by our society in general, but it should also provide education in providing for our own direct needs. In my view, this is the one of the fundamental causes of our nations disconnection with the natural world.
It is only through people like you, engaged, active citizens, that the example will be set for
others. If we do not SHOW them it can be done, they won’t have the
confidence to make the change themselves.
Thank you for your time.”
The march was a smashing success- I was surprised at how much support passers-by gave us; Lots of honks, thumbs-up, and a few even stopped and asked if we took donations (we did not).
Many thanks to Sheree Evans, Vicke Kepling, Ruell Chappell, and all others who sacrificed their time and effort to stand for what they believe in.