Friday, January 22, 2010

The Future of Food: Discussion with Percy Schmeiser

"I have always campaigned on the right of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed. This is what I have been doing for the last 50 years. I will continue to support any efforts to strengthen the rights of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed."
-Percy Schmeiser

If you haven’t heard Percy speak you are missing one of the important voices in sustainable agriculture today. He is a farmer who faced Monsanto, lost the legal battle, almost lost his farm yet continues to hold the ethical higher ground as he questions genetic engineering and bioengineering companies like Monsanto who continue to engineer and patent seeds. Exclusive patented ownership of seeds means a farmer cannot save seeds for future planting, trade them, share or sell them to another grower. Our food system is dependent on seeds. Percy is an engaging speaker with knowledge about this important issue.

Future of Food: Discussion with Percy Schmeiser
When: Saturday Feb 6th
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: Vancouver Unity Church
To RSVP or for more information contact Raoul Bedi (604 437 5683)

Percy Schmeiser is a 77-year old farmer who, along with his wife Louise, have received global recognition for their passion and devotion to standing up for the rights of farmers. In December 2007, the Schmeisers were awarded the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the "Alternative Nobel").

Schmeiser spent 1998-2004 standing up to one of the most influential agricultural companies in the world - Monsanto. While it was Monsanto that took Schmesier to court on that occasion, the roles were reversed on Wednesday March 19, 2008, when Monsanto found itself being taken to court.

It was the first case between Monsanto and Schmeiser that led to the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada Decision that ruled in favour of Monsanto. While the decision assured that regardless of contamination, a farmer cannot grow patented seeds, Schmeiser recognized that if the company is indeed the owner of the plant, then they should be liable for the damages that their property causes others.

(Text modified from Deconstructing Dinner's feature interview and documentary "Monsanto Pays Percy Schmeiser").

No comments: