Washington, ME - Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) has re-instituted its Farmer Travel Fund. The FTF previously was used to provide travel reimbursement to plaintiff-farmers from across North America. These family farmers traveled great distances to witness legal proceedings in the OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto lawsuit.
The Farmer Travel Fund is now in immediate need of contributions to ensure that OSGATA may once again defend the interests of the authentic organic community.
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association is the farmer-led membership trade organization which develops, protects, and promotes the organic seed trade and its farmers, and assures the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed, free of genetically engineered (GE) contaminants, and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture.
The re-launching of the Farmer Travel Fund will enable OSGATA farmers and personnel to attend key organic industry events where they will continue OSGATA's advocacy for strong organic integrity. Important developments underway require face-to-face advocacy which supports traditional organic principles and elevates the inadequately represented perspectives of organic consumers and organic family farmers.
One upcoming event illustrates the type of activity OSGATA will support through its Farmer Travel Fund.
In October, OSGATA will send a voting delegate to the IFOAM Organic World Congress and General Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey. OSGATA is a member organization of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and has submitted an important proposal which seeks to provide clarity and unequivocally eliminate GE-contaminated seed from the organic seed trade.
OSGATA's motion for adoption by the IFOAM World Board echoes its longstanding policy, approved by the full membership, on GE contamination of organic seed.
OSGATA Policy on Organic Seed Contaminated by Genetically Engineered Seed:
GE contamination of organic seed constitutes irreparable harm to the organic seed industry and undermines the integrity of organic seed. Any detectable level is unacceptable.
"Seed that is contaminated with unwanted GE transgenes will without question produce an organic crop which is contaminated," said OSGATA President and Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen. "Such contamination is unacceptable. It fails to meet the expectation of the organic consumer. We would like IFOAM to adopt our policy and immediately support transparency and clarity in the world marketplace. Bona fide organic seed should be free of GE contamination."
|Jim Gerritsen, OSGATA President & Organic Seed Farmer|
The IFOAM Congress and General Assembly is held just once every three years. This important IFOAM gathering represents a significant opportunity for OSGATA to lobby and network with colleagues in the world organic seed community, build international relationships and promote organic seed issues of a global concern. Building global solidarity is of particular importance at this time due to the recent attempts at manipulating organic leaders by the corporate press and the backlash and vilification of world organic seed leader, Dr. Vandana Shiva.
OSGATA's determination to influence world organic concepts which pertain to organic seed and integrity issues is consistent with its overarching mission to nurture the organic seed trade and the organic community. To this same end, earlier this year OSGATA published its landmark peer-reviewed handbook, Protecting Organic Seed Integrity:The Organic Farmers Handbook to GE Avoidance and Testing. A hard copy of the book is available for order online for a nominal fee. In addition, a free digital download is available to everyone on the OSGATA website
OSGATA's Farmer Travel Fund is now up and running. Donations are urgently needed to enable OSGATA to keep fighting to protect the best interests of the organic community. Concerned citizens are asked to donate generously at this time.