This year's conference theme "Earth Too Big to Fail" speaks to how attorneys, environmental activists, students, and concerned citizens can reclaim the bailout phrase, "too big to fail," for the environmental movement.
Dating back to 1983 when the conference had just 75 participants, PIELC now annually draws a crowd of 3,000 global participants: making the conference one of the oldest and largest of its kind.
"OSGATA was honored when asked to present at this prestigious environmental law conference," said Jim Gerritsen, President of the national trade group and Maine-based organic seed potato farmer.
"OSGATA et al v. Monsanto represents a historic opportunity to establish significant legal protections for family farmers. We are convinced that our lawsuit against Monsanto is necessary to once and for all establish legal clarity that organic and non-GE farmers do have a right to farm as they choose on their own farms without being subject to threats, trespass and intimidation. When these rights of family farmers are protected, then the people win because they are assured of their right to choice in the marketplace for a future of something besides genetically engineered food," said Gerritsen.
Monsanto has sued, or settled out of court with, more than 844 family farms since 1997 over assertions of patent infringement. The landmark lawsuit OSGATA et al v. Monsanto challenges the validity of Monsanto's genetically engineered seed patents and seeks Court protection for family farmers who, through no fault of their own, may have become contaminated by Monsanto's patented genetically engineered (GE) seed and find themselves accused of patent infringement.
Gerritsen is one of several luminary speakers slated for this year's PIELC- which kicks off on Thursday, February 28, and ends on Sunday, March 3.
Over the course of four days conference participants have access to over 125 panels, workshops, and multi-media presentations addressing a broad spectrum of environmental law and advocacy on topics from genetic engineering and corporate responsibility to environmental justice and international environmental law. The full conference schedule is available here.
Gerritsen will be delivering his 45-minute keynote address at 5:30 pm on Friday, March 1, following his participation in a panel discussion themed "Building a Sustainable, Community-Oriented Food Systems" earlier that day at 10:30-11:45 am.
Registration is free and open to the public. For more information, view the conference brochure.
More information on the OSGATA et al v. Monsanto lawsuit is available here.