Main Menu

Site Map




Proudly hosted by JaguarPC.com 

Sewing the Seeds of Insecurity
The Future of Our Food Supply

Food Supply Update - January 10, 2002
By Geri Guidetti Copyright 2002
[email protected]

An ill-wind blew across Percy Schmeiser's land in 1996. Today in his 70s, the third-generation Saskatchewan, Canada, farmer has been growing and improving his own canola (oil seed) crops for 40 years. Each year, he would save some of his harvested seed for planting the following year. Though some farmers in the surrounding area were growing Monsanto's patented, genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready canola, Schmeiser was not. He was growing his own, but the wind blew and bees flew, both apparently carrying grains of GM pollen from neighboring fields into Schmeiser's crop. Or maybe it was GM seed transported from surrounding farms that often blew off trucks traveling the roads adjacent to Schmeiser's land. No matter. Without his knowledge or consent, errant, patented Monsanto genes had apparently been incorporated into some of the Schmeiser family's 1997-harvested canola seed.

In 1998, the farmer planted over a thousand acres of his land with the seed he had saved from the previous year's crop. A hired Monsanto investigator analyzed samples of canola plants taken from Percy Schmeiser's land, and the company found evidence of its patented genes in the plant tissue. When Schmeiser refused to pay Monsanto fees for use of its patented herbicide resistance technology, technology he neither bought nor wanted, Monsanto sued him. According to a report on the trial (www.percyschmeiser.com<