(Guelph, ON) The National Farmers Union – Ontario (NFU-O) has written to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario to ask the two organizations to join the April 9 Day of Action to stop the release of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa.
In his letter to both organizations this week, NFU-O President John Sutherland outlined some of the concerns NFU-O members have about the release of GM alfalfa, including:
- the high risk of contamination of non-GM alfalfa crops and seed stocks,
- the increased seed and herbicide costs farmers will incur if GM alfalfa is released and
- the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds.
Sutherland asked that “the two general farm organizations show their support for Ontario farmers on April 9 by joining the NFU-O at rallies across the province, by making a public statement against the release of GM alfalfa or by contacting the Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz.”
The company Forage Genetics International has applied Monsanto's GM herbicide tolerant Roundup Ready technology to alfalfa. Canada approved GM alfalfa for health and environmental release in 2005, but there is one more step before GM alfalfa can be commercially released in Canada: variety registration from the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency.
NFU-O Regional Council member and Middlesex county farmer, Karen Eatwell says, “Farmers are not asking for Roundup Ready alfalfa. They do not need it, and they do not want it. On behalf of NFU-O members, I would like to encourage the OFA, the CFFO and other farm organizations to take action to stop the release of GM alfalfa which could happen as early as this spring.”
At its AGM and Regional Convention on March 2, the NFU-O called on farm organizations in Ontario and across Canada, other civil society organizations and concerned consumers to join NFU-O members in a day of action against the release of GM alfalfa on April 9, 2013. Most of the rallies will take place at MP's constituency offices from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on April 9, but some meetings between farmers and their MPs will take place at other times. As of April 4, thirteen events have been organized in Ontario on April 9 and twelve events in other parts of Canada, including at the offices of the Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz and of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
John Sutherland, NFU-O President, 519-855-4651 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Eatwell, NFU-O Regional Council, 519-232-4105 or email@example.com
List of Ontario actions:
Belleville: Office of Daryl Kramp, MP for Prince Edward Hastings, 1 Millennium Parkway. Contact John Della Bosca at 613-471-1234, firstname.lastname@example.org
Goderich: Constituency Office of Ben Lobb, 30 Victoria St. North, Please note: 11:30-1:00 Contact: Linda Baumberger 519-832-2953
Hawkesbury: Constituency Office of Pierre Lemieux, MP for Glengarry Prescott-Russell, 136 Main St. E. Contact: Les Gills 613-528-4865.
Kingston: To be announced. Contact: Dianne Dowling 613-546-0869 email@example.com
Kitchener-Waterloo: Constituency Office of Peter Braid. 22 King St. South, Waterloo. Contact: Taarini Chopra firstname.lastname@example.org
Lambton County: Request to meet with Pat Davidson, MP for Sarnia Lambton. Contact: Tammy Van Troost 519 864 1900 or email@example.com
London: Constituency Office of Ed Holder, MP for London West, 200-390 Commissioners Rd West. Contact: Malorie firstname.lastname@example.org
Midland: Meeting with Bruce Stanton MP for Simcoe Dufferin. Contact: Chris Litster, 705-534-7626.
Orangeville: Constituency Office of David Tilson, MP for Dufferin Caldeon, 299 Broadway St. Contact Michelle at 519-941-1099 or email@example.com.
Ottawa: Variety Registration Office, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 59 Camelot Dr. (Nepean) off Merivale Rd near West Hunt Club. See www.cban.ca/april9ottawa Contact: Lucy Sharratt firstname.lastname@example.org 613 241 2267 ext 25. Car pooling: contact Paul at email@example.com.
Owen Sound: Constituency Office of Larry Miller, MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, 1131 2nd Avenue East. Contact: Philip Woodhouse, 519 599 5041, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thunder Bay: Office of MP Bruce Hyer 69 North Court Street. Come out to sign the petition!
Toronto: Outside St Lawrence Market (on the sidewalk). 95 Front St E. See www.cban.ca/april9toronto
Stratford: Constituency Office of Gary Schellenberger, MP for Perth Wellington. 544 Huron St. Contact: Ann Slater, email@example.com 519-349-2448