Toronto streets march against Monsanto

Posted on May 23, 2016 by Marina Tyszkiewicz

"If you are so proud of it, why not label it?” Could be heard chanting across the streets of downtown Toronto today as protesters marched along Yonge Street during the cities fifth March Against Monsanto Toronto protest event.

Similar chants would be echoed coast to coast as protesters marched to boycott Monsanto across 46 countries today.

Protesters and activists march along Yonge street in Toronto.
Protesters and activists march along Yonge street in Toronto.

Hundreds of people attended the family event in our city including farmers; to protest the American corporation which supplies approximately 90 per cent of genetically modified seeds in the world. It’s also the leading producer of Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide.

Michael Schmidt a raw milk farmer and activist leading protesters.
Michael Schmidt a raw milk farmer and activist leading protesters.

Monsanto is known for selling patented and herbicide-resistant crops to farmers, these seeds are also resistant to Monsanto’s produced herbicide. The corporation has sparked a lot of controversy for developing and distributing GMO seeds, which are developed through a lab-based practice, which involves removing genes from one species and inserting them into another.

Taya cook with her father Stan Bendersby and her son Jameson Cook.
Taya cook with her father Stan Bendersby and her son Jameson Cook.

The event was held at Queens Park, where protestors circled around guest speakers who spoke out against Monsanto and the impact the corporation is having on Canadians. People rallied around in solidarity, demonstrating their concerns over the potential threat GMO’s could have on their health and voiced their concerns over the lack of transparency when it comes to food labelling in Canada.

Protesters gather at Nathan Phillips square .
Protesters gather at Nathan Phillips square .

“General Mills committed to labelling their foods as GMO in America, but don’t believe in offering the same transparency to Canadians,” said Rachel Parent, a teen GMO labeling activist, and one of the speakers at the protest. Parent once went head-to-head with Kevin O’Leary on air about GMO’s in 2013.

In the 2013 interview Parent challenged O’Leary on people’s right to know about food labelling and stated that GMO’s "don’t have higher yields".

Rachel Parent, a teen GMO labeling activist giving her speech on GMO's.
Rachel Parent, a teen GMO labeling activist giving her speech on GMO's.

Toronto resident Taya Cook arrived to the event for the first time this year to show her support against Monsanto. With her she brought her father and her seven-month-old son Jameson who was marinated head-to-toe in support, while arriving in an adorable knit, non-GMO, carrot costume.

Cook says she tries her best to avoid GMO’s by purchasing foods locally, buying from local farmers markets and eating from home more. She says she’s also helped her father make better food choices and food quality is paramount when it comes to her family.

“It’s an important cause to support, and important because people have the right to know, especially if you have a kid, you want to know what they’re eating,” she says.

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