Occupy Protest Shuts Down Operations at Monsanto Today and Tomorrow

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Occupy groups from across the region converged on Davis this morning to protest and block operations of Monsanto.  The protest is part of a “Global Days of Action to Shut Down Monsanto” in dozens of U.S. cities and several countries.

“We are calling for a ‘global class-action’ against Monsanto. We are joining the world in solidarity to demand a ban on all GMO foods and hold Monsanto accountable for its actions throughout history from Agent Orange to deforestation to current and past deaths to preying on small farmers through a broken court system and also through International Free Trade Agreements,” said Steven Payan, one of the Davis protest organizers.

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Monsanto has been linked to massive pollution, including the poisoning of drinking water, genetically-modified crops and seeds, chopping down rain forests and other types of social justice violations and environmental destruction.

Several countries, including Brazil, India, Haiti, Peru, France and others in Europe, have enacted recent bans or restrictions on Monsanto and its GMO foods. People worldwide are demanding restitution for hundreds of thousands of deaths, birth defects, suicides and ailments linked to Monsanto. 300,000 organic farmers recently sued Monsanto, said Mr. Payan.

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A relatively modest group of people braved light rain and wet conditions to block three entrances to the Davis plant. However, the threat of action and a confrontation caused Monsanto to decide to tell workers to take Friday and Saturday off.

“I received word from the security that work was cancelled today,” Steven Payan said.  “We shut them down before they got started.”

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Protesters were claiming victory.

“We had a victory here today, Millions Against Monsanto shut down this site.  We have a mission complete today,” Mr. Payan told the Vanguard.

Mr. Payan expects hundreds of people to come through, throughout the day.  There were likely 50 as early as 7 a.m. this morning.

Davis Police gathered in the school district lot across the street, monitoring the situation.

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Lt. Paul Doroshov told the Vanguard, “We’ve got our resources gathered, our goal is to allow them to exercise their First Amendment rights in a legal fashion to get their message across.”

“Our actions will once again be dictated by their actions, what they [do],” he said.  “As long as its peaceful, and for the most part legal, we’re  just there to make sure it stays that way.”

Lt. Doroshov added, “I can’t exclude all uses of force. Again, our actions are going to be dictated by their actions.  As long as they’re peaceful and they’re legal – that’s what we’re hoping for.  We’re hoping we’re just there on standby to do that and keep the peace.  If there are factions within that group that want to escalate it – that’s on them and we’ll just act accordingly.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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86 thoughts on “Occupy Protest Shuts Down Operations at Monsanto Today and Tomorrow”

  1. rusty49

    What if Monsanto were to say the heck with it that Davis isn’t worth the trouble and move all those good paying jobs to another city where they’ll be more gladly accepted? What will Occupy gain? What will Davis lose?

  2. hpierce

    Good thing Mendel and Burbank didn’t have to deal with this group. We wouldn’t have Shasta Daisies, and several types of berries (not to mention whirled peas).

  3. civil discourse

    “Good thing Mendel and Burbank didn’t have to deal with this group. We wouldn’t have Shasta Daisies, and several types of berries (not to mention whirled peas).”

    …and maybe we wouldn’t have Agent Orange? Gosh, that would be tragic indeed.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    “What if Monsanto were to say the heck with it that Davis isn’t worth the trouble and move all those good paying jobs to another city where they’ll be more gladly accepted? What will Occupy gain? What will Davis lose?”

    Occupy did this around the country.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Hpierce: “Ironically, everyone protesting is a genetically modified organism…. that’s what happens when a sperm cell successfully enters an ovum.”

    I don’t believe so.

  6. medwoman

    “…
    So now the Occupy movement thinks it is judge and jury on what companies should be shut down.”

    While I do not share the “occupiers” GMO concerns, I can’t help but wonder Rusty if this is not just an extension of the free market in action. People individually, and in groups are certainly free to not patronize any business they want to. If enough people agree, and choose not to do business with that company, it will fail. As long as they are not blocking entrance or stopping anyone who wants to do business physically from doing so, I fail to see the problem here. Companies are always telling people not to do business with their competitors because of inferior products or services. How is this any different except that we are not directly or in hidden costs paying for the ads we would prefer not to see ?

  7. Don Shor

    There’s a difference between hybrids and GMO’s.
    So far, nothing much going on in terms of disrupting traffic and such.
    Sorry, folks, but our bathrooms aren’t available.

  8. hpierce

    [quote]…and maybe we wouldn’t have Agent Orange? Gosh, that would be tragic indeed. [/quote]Hadn’t realized that Endel and Burbank had contributed to Agent Orange, nor did I realize that Agent Orange is a genetically modified organism… thank you for setting me straight on that, Civil Discourse.

  9. Don Shor

    hpierce: perhaps we should consider the impact of massively transforming our agriculture practices with crops that are genetically modified in various ways.

  10. rusty49

    Medwoman

    “I can’t help but wonder Rusty if this is not just an extension of the free market in action. People individually, and in groups are certainly free to not patronize any business they want to. If enough people agree, and choose not to do business with that company, it will fail. As long as they are not blocking entrance or stopping anyone who wants to do business physically from doing so”

    Medwoman, did you read the article? They weren’t just not patronizing, they were blocking the business from functioning. Big difference.

    “A relatively modest group of people braved light rain and wet conditions to block three entrances to the Davis plant. However, the threat of action and a confrontation caused Monsanto to decide to tell workers to take Friday and Saturday off.

    “I received word from the security that work was cancelled today,” Steven Payan said. “We shut them down before they got started.”

    Protesters were claiming victory.

    “We had a victory here today, Millions Against Monsanto shut down this site. We have a mission complete today,” Mr. Payan told the Vanguard.”

  11. Rifkin

    The two questions with GMOs to me are: 1) are the foods safe for human consumption? and 2) is the use of GMO agriculture an invasive threat to other plant species?

    Here is an updated answer from peer-reviewd, mainstream, biomedical science ([url]http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/4/388[/url]):

    [i]”In contrast to the documented benefits of GM crops, [b]there are few documented cases of potential health effects [14] or economic drawbacks [15,16] to GM crops[/b]. However, the issues of potential risks of GMOs continue to be raised, particularly in Europe, and the media is being used to attract attention to the question of whether GMO products are safe. For example, the “Flavr Savr” tomato is a genetically modified tomato that has altered DNA to delay ripening, thereby prolonging shelf-life [17]. It was the first GM food to be authorised for human consumption in the United States and received broad coverage by the media even though it is not a poison or a food known to cause illness. A GM soybean that contained a Brazil nut allergen [18] is arguably the only incident that got more attention from the media when GM crops were first commercialized. The intense media coverage resulted in cessation of further development of this particular variety due to potential health risks. In contrast, another incident that attracted media attention was that of a scientist that claimed a genetically engineered potato caused a depressed immune response in rats [19], but subsequent investigation showed that the experiment was scientifically flawed.

    “It should be noted that [b]eating conventional foods is not risk free as they are known to contain allergies[/b]. For example, there was no known allergy when kiwifruit were introduced into the European and United States markets in the 1960s, but the fruits are now known to cause allergic reactions [20]. GM technology is like any other new technology and has its merits and drawbacks. Over the period of time that commercially available GM foods have been produced, [b]no studies have indicated that GM foods are less safe than traditional counterparts.[/b] Although merit may be given to concerns of unintended gene flow from genetically engineered agricultural products, further studies are required to establish the reality and/or scope of this and other potential environmental risks due to GMOs. Unintended adverse effects of GMOs on non-target species (e.g. butterflies) have been reported to be similar to what currently exists in traditional agricultural products [21]. While there are other individual claims that GMOs could pose health risks to human beings, most of these findings are not peer-reviewed in international scientific journals or by any officially recognised standard. Rather, these are individual works that are being promoted on websites or by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Unfortunately, when issues like these are raised and debated, many people condemn GMOs outright based upon unverified sources and also fail to see if there are advantages associated with the application of GMOs.” [/i]

  12. Don Shor

    Other questions you might like to consider are whether extensive use of one particular herbicide has led to glyphosate-resistant weeds, and whether concentration of ownership of seed production of a food crop at one corporation raises antitrust issues.
    [url]http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/attack-of-the-superweed-09082011.html[/url]

  13. hpierce

    [quote]…and maybe we wouldn’t have Agent Orange? Gosh, that would be tragic indeed. [/quote]I was not suggesting that ALL genetic modifications are good… I seem to remember that some seed companies produced crop seeds that were ‘infetile’, and then marketed them in third world countries, selling the idea that they would produce greater yield, more nutrition, etc, but the “gotcha” was that the plans were not self-sustaining. Then the poor farmers had to buy more seed for each crop. Somewhat morally reprehensible. Are you saying, Don, that you carry NO ‘genetically engineered’ product? I believe that genetically modifying crops/organisms is not evil in itself… neither black nor white. I agree that the implications of a specific genetically modified crop/organism being released into the environment should be fully “vetted” before doing so. But if we could genetically modify a mosquito, so when they are released in the Philippines, would change the native breeding stock so that ultimately, they could no longer transmit denge fever, this would be an evil thing?

  14. Rifkin

    Even though the best evidence suggests GM foods and crops are safe, I do agree with the Monsanto agitators that we should label GM crops. I think people should be able to make informed choices, even if their choices are more emotional than rational.

    Also, I think we need very strict controls and monitoring by government on the planting of GM crops in order to make sure that they don’t cause harm to other plant species or cause any other sort of contamination. If after 20 or so more years of GM crops that worry is fully put to rest, then the monitoring and controls could ease some. But it seems to me prudent in that respect to err on the side of caution.

  15. Rifkin

    [i]”Other questions you might like to consider are whether extensive use of one particular herbicide has led to glyphosate-resistant weeds …”[/i]

    Actually, as I am sure you must have read or heard, this is exactly what has happened with Round-Up. And that is specifically related to GM crops. But as you surely also know, this is the same sort of problem which has occurred over and over again with chemical agriculture. Ideally, the use of GM species should eliminate the use of chemical herbicides, while maintaining or improving crop yield. But so far all the commercially available GMOs have done is reduce the use of chemicals, but they have not (AFAIK) removed the need for them.

  16. Don Shor

    Rich: Yes, and every step of the way Monsanto adamantly denied that superweeds could happen. Until they did. Use of GM species has increased use of glyphosate [i]massively[/i] worldwide. Planting of GM crops is supposedly strictly controlled, and Scotts (partner with Monsanto) has been fined the maximum fine for violating those regulations with respect to bentgrass turf.
    [url]http://www.capitalpress.com/newest/ml-scotts-061711[/url]
    I could go on.

  17. hpierce

    [quote]There’s a difference between hybrids and GMO’s. [/quote]Ok… perhaps my knowledge is lacking… I mean this in all sincerity… I thought the two are basically the same, except for techniques used… can you point me to a source where I can learn the difference (hopefully a source that has no strong biases)?

  18. Don Shor

    “Resistance Update
    At least 15 species have documented cases of weed resistance against glycines, according to Weedscience.org, a community of resistance researchers funded by the Herbicide Resistance Action Committee, the North American Herbicide Resistance Action Committee, and the Weed Science Society of America. The group has documented 323 resistant biotypes, 187 species (112 dicots and 75 monocots) and more than 300,000 fields. The first documented case of weed resistance to glyphosate was in Lolium rigidum in Australia in 1996. Now there are more than 75 cases, all but four of them occurring in the past 10 years.”

    Sales of glyphosate are about $4.7 billion worldwide.
    [url]http://www.farmchemicalsinternational.com/cropprotection/productfocus/?storyid=1652[/url]

  19. hpierce

    BTW, aren’t the so-called “killer bees” a hybrid, vs a GMO? Kudzu?

    What about any ‘normal’ species that messes things up when they are non-native? When they are introduced to an environment/location where normal biological checks and balances are not in play… that Australian snail in Putah Creek? Water hyacinth in the Delta?

  20. Don Shor

    Rich: GMO regulation is actually diminishing; [url]http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/07/welcome-age-gmo-industry-self-regulation[/url]

    hpierce: invasive species of all kinds are certainly a concern. Africanized bees are hybrids; interesting and long history there. Kudzu is simply an invasive species, not a hybrid, just like the Australian snail and the water hyacinth. None of those are GMO’s.

  21. hpierce

    Interesting that the one picture shows a tent placed in the driveway, leaving the bikepath clear. As of about an hour ago, tents have been moved to fully block the bicycle/pedestrian path. Looks like the protest is aimed as much at bicyclists or pedestrians than the corporate entity.

  22. civil discourse

    biddlin wrote “Just a side note, mothers of starving children don’t care about the pedigree of the corn . The occupiers are off target again.”

    How presumptuous is that statement?

    Mothers of starving children in India might beg to differ:
    sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Monsanto_in_India

    “In 1998, the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies forced India to open up its seed sector to global corporations like Cargill, Monsanto, and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by corporate seeds which needed fertilizers and pesticides and could not be saved”

  23. K.Smith

    “Ok… perhaps my knowledge is lacking… I mean this in all sincerity… I thought the two are basically the same, except for techniques used… can you point me to a source where I can learn the difference (hopefully a source that has no strong biases)?”

    I don’t have any sources, but I’m pretty sure the difference is that a hybrid can naturally occur in nature, but a GMO (or at least certain types of GMOs) cannot. An example is Monsanto putting genes from salmon into tomatoes.

  24. K.Smith

    “Mothers of starving children in India might beg to differ:
    sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Monsanto_in_India”

    This, and they also relentlessly sue any farmers who they perceive to be “infringing” on their patented seeds. There are many instances (most famously the Canadian Schmeiser vs. Monsanto case) where Monsanto’s patented seeds blow into neighboring farmers’ territory, and those farmers are then sued for copyright infringement.

    Also, using their political clout and money to allegedly distort news reports:

    http://consumerist.com/2006/08/fox-news-reporters-fired-for-being-too-tough-on-monsanto-milk.html

  25. Mr.Toad

    “This, and they also relentlessly sue any farmers who they perceive to be “infringing” on their patented seeds.”

    Yes and other seed companies too. Monsanto tried to change its herbicide resistant genes just to get a new patent and continue extracting royalties from other companies stacking other genes on top of that gene when it goes off patent.

  26. Rifkin

    [i]”An example is Monsanto putting genes from salmon into tomatoes.”[/i]

    You do know that is not true ([url]http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/2011/10/survey-of-graphics-for-gmo-labeling.html[/url])? [quote]That myth goes back to a long since abandoned effort to make a frost tolerant strawberry using an anti-freezing protein from a fish. It was never commercial and in fact animal genes are not used in any current GMO crops. [/quote]

  27. Dr. Wu

    What does occupy Wall Street now stand for?

    While I have mixed feelings about GMOs I think OWS is losing its focus and likley to become irrelevant–just another lefty organization which is outside of the mainstream. People are pissed about Wall Street. That should be their focus.

  28. Rifkin

    [i]”… just another lefty organization which is outside of the mainstream.”[/i]

    That has been my view of the Occupation from the start. That said, I looked up the opinion polls on GMO issues–assuming it was only left-wing Luddites who shared the view of the Monsanto agitators and found to my surprise* that most people who have an opinion on GMOs (not necessarily an informed opinion**) more-less agree with the Occupiers in this regard.
    ————–
    *One of the biggest surprises to me about the views of the American people came about 10 years ago when I was told–and I confirmed by seeing what Gallup had published–that nearly a majority of Americans were creationists. About 45% of Americans believe that the Earth is 10,000 years old and that no species, including man, evolve. Only about 15% of Americans believe what every biologist teaches: that man and all species which survive have evolved over millions of years in a natural process untouched by any supernatural forces. The rest, roughly 40%, believe that there is evolution of species, but they believe it is guided by the supernatural acts of God.

    **Like those who let fish gene myths cloud their thinking.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    “Even though the best evidence suggests GM foods and crops are safe”

    I tend to agree on this point. It’s not one of my overwhelming concerns. That having been said, it strikes me that we often do not understand health impact until years if not decades down the line.

  30. K.Smith

    “You do know that is not true?”

    Because it was not widely commercially-available does not make it untrue. I admit that I did wrongly implicate Monsanto, when it was actually a company called DNA Plant Technology, and it wasn’t salmon genes, but rather genes from an arctic flounder.

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/dna/pop_genetic_gallery/

    The main point I was trying to make is that there is a distinction between what constitutes a GMO (which, as far as I understand its definition in the arguments taking place currently, is an organism that cannot exist without human tampering at the genetic level).

    I think it a bit unfair to give the blanket label of “left-wing Luddite” to anyone who raises any questions or criticism against this technology.

    I think some of the questions being raised by people who are against GMOs are completely valid. My scepticism is aroused on the basis of how much money these companies spend to fight against having to label their products. If GMOs are benign products, why not label them without a tooth-and-nail fight? Why did Monsanto spend so much time and money trying to block the labeling of milk that uses rBGH?

    People have a right to know where their food comes from and how it was produced.

  31. hpierce

    [quote]People have a right to know [b]where their food comes from[/b] and [b]how it was produced[/b]. [/quote]How far should we take this? country of origin? State? County? Soil type? Water source? Havesting methods? just curious.

  32. JustSaying

    [quote]“There’s a difference between hybrids and GMO’s.”[/quote]Don, can you explain this in terms the average person can understand. I got impression that one’s faster than the other. Why shouldn’t we be as afraid to eat hybrid tomatoes as we are to eat GM tomatoes? I remember State Market selling some weird local tomatoes that terrified everyone in town. They looked beautiful and tasted fine, but eventually disappeared from their shelves.

    The thing that scares and irritates me is the apparent purposeful effort to breed seeds that produce plants that don’t produce viable seeds, seeds that aren’t allowed to be used from one year to another. Combine this with big companies buying out all of the smaller “old-fashioned” seed companies and pretty soon a couple companies will control what seeds we can use and how much they will cost.

    And, then there’s Agent Orange. What a throw-back.

  33. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]U.S. Bank closes branch, terminates agreements with the campus (UCD Dateline). [/quote]

    Unfortunate for students who did their banking on campus…

  34. David M. Greenwald

    “Unfortunate for students who did their banking on campus…”

    That’s your opinion, but how do you know it’s unfortunate for students? One of the interesting things is that money talks and if the students start impacting the ability of UC to make their money, maybe it starts bringing about the kind of change they are seeking. Perhaps not. Maybe the students are better off not banking with predatory lenders, maybe they aren’t. I certainly don’t know these answers and neither do you.

  35. Don Shor

    What’s wrong with Monsanto?
    Seems like I’ve had a lot of conversations about this company lately. Jargon abounds.
    Hybrid vs. GMO, what’s the difference? With apologies to plant breeders who will say that I am oversimplifying…..

    A hybrid could, at least in theory, occur in nature. You can intentionally cross two plants of the same species. If you like the outcome, you can propagate the cultivar by taking cuttings (Iceberg rose) or by budding or grafting it (Santa Rosa plum), or by cutting up the roots (Russet potato). The next time you cross those two parents, you get different results, so you take cuttings or divisions (clones). If your new cultivar is normally grown from seed, you can re-create the cross by maintaining a genetically almost pure population of each parent, and re-crossing them over and over (Early Girl tomato).

    Two plants in the same species are relatively easy to hybridize. Two plants in the same genus, but different species, are harder to hybridize. Two plants in the same family, but different genera, are very unlikely to cross in nature though it happens. Two plants in different orders simply won’t hybridize.

    There is no way a bacterium can insert its genetic material into a plant in nature. They aren’t even in the same category of organism, much less order, family, genus, or species. But genetic engineering has introduced genes from Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium, into corn. Bt is a natural pesticide for caterpillars. So corn plants are then toxic to caterpillars.
    [url]http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef130.asp
    [/url]

  36. Don Shor

    Can you see how this might be of concern? Monsanto says it is not a concern. But Monsanto has a long history of saying things about genetic engineering are not a concern. Monsanto points to the regulatory environment in which they operate to assert that safeguards exist. Then Monsanto executives influence the regulations, get appointed to the agencies that implement them. They said superweeds wouldn’t happen, until they did happen.

    By developing and selling genetically engineered crops, Monsanto has control of the majority of the corn (80%) and soybean (95%) crops planted in the United States. Until a court enjoined them, they had taken the U.S. sugar beet crop from 100% normal hybrids to nearly 100% GMO in less than five years. Monsanto is testing GMO sugar cane. There are only two sources of sugar: beet and cane. Moreover, their licensing agreements and acquisitions of small firms have given them unprecedented control over the genetics of much of the ag industry.
    [url]http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2009/12/monsanto_uses_patent_law_to_co.html
    [/url]
    It wasn’t too long ago in our country that a company controlling an entire industry was subject to anti-trust action by the government. Particularly when we are talking about food, this seems like an unhealthy concentration of market control.

    What has made their crop seed so attractive to farmers is the genetic modification that renders the crop plant immune (mostly) to glyphosate, best-known as RoundUp (that particular gene was also derived from a bacterium). For years Monsanto owned the rights to glyphosate entirely. That patent has expired, but they are still the major manufacturer. Glyphosate kills nearly all plants, and hundreds of millions of pounds a year are applied worldwide.

    That glyphosate usage has more than doubled in the last decade. So fields which were once sprayed with more targeted herbicides, applied more carefully due to possible crop harm, are now broadcast sprayed with glyphosate. When I studied herbicide science, considerable attention was given to the means of delivery of the active ingredient to target the weeds without harming the crop. Herbicides were applied with care, at ground level, with careful calibration of the spray rig to minimize drift and harm to non-target organisms. Why bother with all that when your crop is immune?
    This kills everything: all the weeds, all the wild plants (considered weeds by the farmer). Millions of acres worldwide are now complete monoculture at a level never achieved before.

  37. Don Shor

    What’s the problem? Aside from the pollution of vast areas with glyphosate, repeated spraying has had an effect that was predictable, predicted, and completely denied by Monsanto until it was self-evident: resistant weeds have developed. Weeds that aren’t killed by glyphosate, which grow exceptionally vigorously because of the removal of all the other weed species. Dozens of cases, worldwide.
    [url]http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/attack-of-the-superweed-09082011_page_2.html
    [/url]
    What’s the solution? Insert more genes that confer resistance to other herbicides that will kill those weeds. How long do you think it will take for weeds resistant to those other herbicides to develop?

    Monsanto also has a long history of aggressive (some might say abusive) litigation to protect their patents. See Monsanto vs. Schmeiser for the most egregious example. Then there was the ‘terminator gene’, a notorious innovation which disabled the production of viable seed (since abandoned).
    [url]http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp_timeline=seeds_tmln&seeds_legal_actions=seeds_legalMonsantoVSchmeiser[/url]
    (don’t know if that URL will format right)

    As you will see if you read all the way through that timeline, Monsanto’s GMO plants have contaminated hundreds of feet into adjacent fields, including into an organic farm, destroying the organic certification and reducing the value of that farmer’s crop. GMO crops are a serious threat to organic farmers.

  38. Don Shor

    In my industry, Monsanto is now partnering with the biggest horticulture dry-goods supplier, Scotts Miracle-Gro. Perhaps as early as 2012, Scotts will be introducing lawn seed GMO varieties that resist glyphosate. Voila! You will be able to spray your lawn with glyphosate and kill all the other plants! How long do you all think it will be before we have glyphosate-resistant spurge?

    Genetically engineered seed plants aren’t supposed to “escape” into the surrounding environment. But grasses are wind pollinated. Protocol exist to keep tested varieties isolated until they have gotten through the regulatory process. Which company has paid the highest allowable fine for allowing test varieties of turfgrass to pollinate and seed into the surrounding countryside from their test facilities? Which company is now embarking on an eradication campaign to remove their “escaped” turfgrass species from near their research facilities? Scotts Miracle-Gro.

    I liked CalGene. It was a funky little company with quirky researchers doing strange and interesting things. Even the CEO, quite a character, was down to earth. I consider him a friend. CalGene hired away a few of my employees over the years, and I wished them well and kept in touch. The Flavr-Savr tomato never took, for a number of reasons, and as far as I know CalGene never actually made a profit. But it was a unique and very Davis company. But Monsanto? They’re like Microsoft in the early 1990’s. Notorious bullies, way too much market share. And they are simply not credible on topics of environmental safety.

    Prudent stewardship of our food supply says we don’t allow one company to dominate it so completely; of our environment says we don’t rely so heavily on a single pesticide. The advantage of traditional breeding methods is the incorporation of multiple genes in conferring benefits to crops. Farmers shouldn’t live in fear of patent police from a mega-corporation. And regulators shouldn’t be owned by the industries they regulate, in agriculture or any other part of our economy.

  39. traveler

    Farmers in India are suffering huge losses due to the loss of replantable seeds. By huge losses, I mean that farmers are committing suicide and are suffering drought, famine, and huge market losses due to their dealing with Monsanto. If allowed to proceed unchecked will Monsanto and other companies create seeds which fail to germinate for all vegitable species? If so, will those seeds cross polinate and ruin the other crops? Would that lead to a total dependence upon a single company for our food?

  40. Mr Obvious

    [quote]That’s your opinion, but how do you know it’s unfortunate for students?…….[/quote]
    I hate it when I have to point out the incredibly obvious. It certainly won’t be convenient for students to bank off campus. I would venture to say a vast majority of the student on campus use the bank as a checking account, not a home mortgage lending center. Sure, run the bank off of campus but allow the credit card companies stay.

    Let the credit card companies stay on campus but run off the people who provide a checking account to students. Oh the irony.

  41. rusty49

    “That’s your opinion, but how do you know it’s unfortunate for students?”

    I’ll bet that many more students are upset that they lost the convenience of being able to bank on campus with US Bank than there are spoiled crybaby agitators stopping them from doing just that.

  42. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty: all you are doing is re-stating your opinion, you have not offered evidence to back it up. Remember only a tiny fraction of students utilized that service – far more will be impacted by UC policies and fee hikes.

  43. biddlin

    Don-Legitimate concerns . Modern bio-engineering is a reasoned extension of horticultural and animal husbandry practices predating written history . While not a panacea, it is the best current hope for millions in the third world, where lives, cast in famine, pestilence and disease can be immediately improved by this science.

  44. medwoman

    Don

    “Prudent stewardship of our food supply says we don’t allow one company to dominate it so completely; of our environment says we don’t rely so heavily on a single pesticide. The advantage of traditional breeding methods is the incorporation of multiple genes in conferring benefits to crops. Farmers shouldn’t live in fear of patent police from a mega-corporation. And regulators shouldn’t be owned by the industries they regulate, in agriculture or any other part of our economy. “

    Very well stated. And thanks for the summary.

  45. JustSaying

    Don: Thanks for taking the time to do the excellent summary of the technology and issues. I think I get it now. Yeah, Flavr-Savr, that’s it…seemed like an excellent idea at the time.

  46. hpierce

    Don… I do also greatly appreciate your explanation of the difference between traditional and genetic modification. I will note that even traditional methods have on-awry… Africanized bees (an attempt to bolster honey production) is but one example.

  47. medwoman

    I would like to add another perspective to this discussion. In conversations that I have had with many patients, there is a tendency to confuse the word “natural” with the word “desirable”. This is commonly the case with people who decline any immunizations or refuse medications for even the most clear cut indications. Many things including heart attacks, polio, influenza, starvation, to name a few are ” natural” but not desirable and can be prevented through judiciious use of technological advances. While I think it is extremely important to avoid monopolies in areas such as food production and pharmaceuticals, it is also important to avoid any knee jerk reaction to scientific advancement as undesirable because it is not “natural”.

  48. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]That’s your opinion, but how do you know it’s unfortunate for students? One of the interesting things is that money talks and if the students start impacting the ability of UC to make their money, maybe it starts bringing about the kind of change they are seeking. Perhaps not. Maybe the students are better off not banking with predatory lenders, maybe they aren’t. I certainly don’t know these answers and neither do you.[/quote]

    I know its unfortunate for students based on common sense…

  49. David M. Greenwald

    “I know its unfortunate for students based on common sense…”

    No you don’t. That’s your opinion. My guess is that your opinion on a lot of things differs from the majority of students. You think that convenience of banking a few pennies for the university outweights other factors. Many will not agree with you. For 90 percent of the students, it won’t impact them much at all.

  50. 91 Octane

    One of the interesting things is that money talks and if the students start impacting the ability of UC to make their money, maybe it starts bringing about the kind of change they are seeking.

    if they start impacting the UC’s ability to make money, who do you think is ultimately going to be punished? lol.

  51. David M. Greenwald

    Having observed UC respond to things for a good amount of time, they seem to take the path of least resistance when things get heated up.

  52. Rifkin

    Re: US Bank–

    Is there any reason another financial outfit (bank, thrift, credit union, etc.) could not open up shop in the same location? If so, the closure won’t be too much of an inconvenience for very long.

    [img]http://www.theaggie.org/wp-content/themes/wp-newspaper/timthumb.php?src=http://www.theaggie.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/credit-Evan-Davis-1024×676.jpg&q=90&w=629&zc=1[/img]

    Yolo Federal Credit Union–which just opened its nice new building at 5th & G–clearly is investing in Davis. They could move onto the campus, too.

  53. 91 Octane

    let’s suppose you are right. why should a group of protestors single-handedly shut down a bank? that is dangerous… and is the antithesis of democracy – it is mob rule. I circle this around back to the original discussion, what if these people shut down the ACLU?

  54. David M. Greenwald

    “why should a group of protestors single-handedly shut down a bank?”

    I don’t think they should. I think it was a huge mistake for US Bank to close the office. That was their choice.

  55. hpierce

    Mr Rifkin’s photo prompts me to suggest he is on-point…. it would be much better (and educational) to lure one of the credit unions, doing business in Davis, to have an on-campus office…. credit unions are OWNED BY THEIR MEMBERS. They also generally don’t charge the fees (hidden or overt) that banks do.
    BTW YFCU has not ‘recently’ come to Davis. As I understand it, they bought the land and built downtown to avoid ever-increasing rents at the Oakshade Commons, and to re-affirm that the downtown is a good ‘financial center’.
    I think we already have at least 3 credit unions in town: Yolo Federal, Travis, Golden One, and perhaps USE.

  56. J.R.

    [quote]Remember only a tiny fraction of students utilized that service – far more will be impacted by UC policies and fee hikes.[/quote]

    Really? Are you serious?

    2500 accounts will have to move. That is not a tiny fraction.

    And the student union will lose the rental income. Less money for student services.

    And you think this will cause lower fee hikes?

    We must be operating with some different assumptions.

  57. K.Smith

    @hpierce:

    “How far should we take this? country of origin? State? County? Soil type? Water source? Havesting methods? just curious.”

    I would be happy with COO, organic certifications (of the type currently used), and whether or not the product contains GMOs.

  58. hpierce

    @ K.Smith… [quote]I would be happy with COO, organic certifications (of the type currently used), and whether or not the product contains GMOs. [/quote]I support the concept, particularly for foods that already have packaging… for things like tomatoes, onions, etc., would in be sufficient, in your view to have the bins labelled?

  59. K.Smith

    @hpierce

    [quote]I support the concept, particularly for foods that already have packaging… for things like tomatoes, onions, etc., would in be sufficient, in your view to have the bins labelled? [/quote]

    I think I would be satisfied with that level of labeling. I don’t have a problem with how the bin labeling is currently done (for e.g. at the Co-op and even Safeway).

  60. Rifkin

    [i]”I think I would be satisfied with that level of labeling. I don’t have a problem with how the bin labeling is currently done (for e.g. at the Co-op and even Safeway).”[/i]

    I don’t think we need any new laws regarding this annoyance, but the little sticker labels that are on every piece of produce at grocery stores irritate me to no end. I tend to buy bulk produce–for example, a bag of 20 or so small zucchinis. (I love zucchini!) In the past, there were none of those stickers, because the items were not sold individually. Now, each zucchini has a label on it that I have to take off. And worse (from my selfish point of view), my compost ends up getting stickers from bananas, oranges and other fruit with rinds when I or someone else in my house forgets to remove them before they go in the food waste bin we keep under the sink.

  61. J.R.

    [quote]“2500 accounts will have to move. That is not a tiny fraction.”

    That’s less than ten percent of the student population.[/quote]

    [quote]A Single Death is a Tragedy; a Million Deaths is a Statistic
    [/quote]
    Joseph Stalin

  62. J.R.

    [quote]“2500 accounts will have to move. That is not a tiny fraction.”

    That’s less than ten percent of the student population.[/quote]

    By that logic, a dozen pepper sprayed students are a tiny fraction of the student population. Hardly worth noticing.

  63. Mr.Toad

    US Bank is a major bank, one of the largest in the country. The advantage of this kind of bank over a credit union and the marketing of it with UC gets to one of the problems that the provincialism of Davis constantly overlooks, students are here from all over California, the U.S. and the world. Having a national banking firm on campus allows families the ability to easily and cheaply transfer money to students from far away. Having said that there are ATM’s on campus and banks, including a U.S. Bank branch, a few blocks away. Not as convenient but not that much harder just the same.

  64. medwoman

    “By that logic, a dozen pepper sprayed students are a tiny fraction of the student population. Hardly worth noticing”

    Unless of course you draw a distinction between a physical attack and having to ride your bike a few blocks further.

  65. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Really? Are you serious?

    2500 accounts will have to move. That is not a tiny fraction.

    And the student union will lose the rental income. Less money for student services.

    And you think this will cause lower fee hikes?

    We must be operating with some different assumptions. [/quote]

    Well said!

  66. David M. Greenwald

    “2500 accounts will have to move.”

    Actually, We don’t know that. The accounts did not close. There is still a US Bank in Davis.

  67. Sequoia

    Monstanto is one of the most unAmerican corporations out there. They are the antithesis of free enterprise. They are systematically trying to force out independant farmers. Corn and soybeans are the two biggest agricultural crops in America. Monsanto has a patent on a particalar “Round Up” weed killer-resistant strain of soybean. They are using their ties with, and calling in their favors to government officials to shut down farmers not using their seed. They are trying to monopolize the market. Watch “Food Inc.” it’s a very good documentary.

  68. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Actually, We don’t know that. The accounts did not close. There is still a US Bank in Davis.[/quote]

    2500 accounts did close on campus – that is 2500 students who are going to be inconvenienced, and did not have a say in that decision. It was decided for them by protestors…

  69. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Monstanto is one of the most unAmerican corporations out there. They are the antithesis of free enterprise. They are systematically trying to force out independant farmers. Corn and soybeans are the two biggest agricultural crops in America. Monsanto has a patent on a particalar “Round Up” weed killer-resistant strain of soybean. They are using their ties with, and calling in their favors to government officials to shut down farmers not using their seed. They are trying to monopolize the market. Watch “Food Inc.” it’s a very good documentary.[/quote]

    And it does not appear all the protesting in the world has stopped Monsanto. Seems to me there needs to be a better way of airing such issues…

  70. David M. Greenwald

    To close means something different than the branch closed down and they have to bank at another location. The University and Bank itself made the decision, not the protesters.

  71. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]To close means something different than the branch closed down and they have to bank at another location. The University and Bank itself made the decision, not the protesters.[/quote]

    2500 students can no longer bank on campus, right? They are going to be inconvenienced relative to what they used to be able to do, no?

  72. medwoman

    “Seems to me there needs to be a better way of airing such issues…

    And I agree, that there should be a better way. Given the wealth and power disparity between Monsanto and that of most of these protesters, what would your suggestions be ?

    When individuals are facing a potentially dangerous entity such as a food monopoly, or pharmaceutical companies that price gouge and or withhold medications and or knowledge of scientific processes and breakthroughs in order to maximize their own profits, what resources do you see individuals as having but to band together to protest.
    What do they have other than their voices to draw attention to the risks or injustices of our system ?

    I know that at least some of you value order more than you value the right to voice one’s opposition in ways that can actually attract attention. To those of you, I would ask the question, what means would you suggest that these non affluent and politically powerless individuals use to have their legitimate grievances heard ?

  73. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]And I agree, that there should be a better way. Given the wealth and power disparity between Monsanto and that of most of these protesters, what would your suggestions be ? [/quote]

    Work with media and non-profits and legal aid groups to work within the legislative system to correct problems. As Don Shor pointed out, more regulation of genetic engineering is probably in order. To counter the influence of Monsanto at the legislative level will take massive efforts at the legislative level. It worked for Adult Day Health and In-Home-Supportive Care against the state to eliminate these services. My advice – democracy when practiced vigorously and effectively and within the law works better than anarchy which brings with it unrest, damage to public property and the trampling of the rights of others…

  74. alsigirl

    >>”And it does not appear all the protesting in the world has stopped Monsanto. Seems to me there needs to be a better way of airing such issues…”

  75. alsigirl

    >>”And it does not appear all the protesting in the world has stopped Monsanto. Seems to me there needs to be a better way of airing such issues…”
    Not even a lawsuit by a group of farmers has worked. The governmemt has a revolving door with Monsanto executives and Tom Vilsack (USDA)is pro-Monsanto.
    hpierce and others, here are websites with plenty of info:
    Roundup
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundup_(herbicide) — This article is followed by 109 citations.
    – – – –
    Roundup active ingredient: glyphosate — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate
    – – – –
    Inert ingredient: Polyethoxylated tallow amine or POEA — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyethoxylated_tallow_amine
    This surfactant is not regulated under environmental laws because it is not considered an active ingredient in the herbicide — it does not kill weeds. It is known for its toxicity in wildlife. It increases herbicide penetration in plant and animal cells.

    The World According to Monsanto
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH4OwBYDQe8

    http://www.anh-usa.org/genetically-engineered-food-alters-our-digestive-systems/

    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-win-a-gmo-debate-top-10-facts-why-gm-food-is-bad

    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/first-gm-plants-found-in-the-wild.html

    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/gm-insecticide-found-in-streams.html

    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/are-you-eating-genetically-modified-foods.html

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/22/jeffrey-smith-interview-april-24.aspx

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/07/roundup-birth-defects-herbicide-regulators_n_872862.html

    http://www.grist.org/food-safety/2011-05-16-what-we-know-and-dont-know-about-the-safety-of-eating-gmos/N0#c910723

    http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/dr_hubers_warning/

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904009304576532742267732046.html

    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-avoid-gm-foods.html

    http://truefoodnow.org/ NON-GMO SHOPPING GUIDE

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