March Against Monsanto Miami: More Than 1,300 Protestors, Senator Maria Lorts Sachs Attended (Photos)
As part of a global day of action, over 1,300 protestors turned up to Miami's Omni/ Adrienne Arscht Metro station to take part in the worldwide March Against Monsanto.
Organizers say more than two million people took part in rallies across more than 400 cities spread throughout 52 countries -- much higher numbers than initially expected.
Miami's march involved a varied array of individuals from all over South Florida and included a speech by Senator Maria Lorts Sachs, who sponsored the Senate mandatory labeling initiative in the last legislative session.
In the US most corn and soybean crops are genetically modified. Those two ingredients are included in a large portion of the countries processed foods.
After the failure of California's Proposition 37, a bill which required mandatory labeling of such genetically modified material in foods, failed last November activists began making bigger pushes to get mandatory labeling initiatives on other state ballots.
Passage of the Farmer's Assurance Provision, frequently referred to as the 'Monsanto Protection Act,' a bill which was hidden in the unrelated Continuing Resolution Act -- the bill in which Congress finally agreed to pay its debts -- only rallied activists further.
Florida had mandatory labeling initiatives in both the House and Senate in the last session. Neither bill made it to committee.
Trish Sheldon founded GMO Free Florida. She has been working tirelessly on Florida's mandatory labeling campaign.
"With the passing of the Monsanto rider and now the King Amendment [part of the current farm bill that would limit state's rights in terms of agriculture law] placing Monsanto 'above the law' to plant whatever new, old, previously banned gmo crop they wish, our communities are outraged," said Sheldon, "We as consumers have a right to know the truth about our food and whats in it, if Monsanto doesn't want to label it, won't listen to peer-reviewed studies showing cancerous lesions in rats, then we, as consumers will have to do it for you."
Protestors came from a wide variety of backgrounds of healthcare providers, IT professionals, concerned parents, and even former Marines.
Stephanie Barriga drove down from Delray Beach with her 5 year old son Sami.
"I became vegetarian last year when I heard about Monsanto," she said, "I buy all organic now. I get him involved by letting him pick out all the produce at the Farmer's Market; he loves it. He says, 'Ban the bee killers.'"
Senator Sachs has agreed to rewrite the Senate version of Florida's Mandatory labeling bill. She called on individuals to take the issue to Governor Rick Scott's office.
"I want you to tell Governor Rick Scott that the people of Florida need to be heard," said Sachs,"And all the 23,00 farms that we have in this state. This state is the number 2 producer of agriculture in the country. We are the number 1 producer of citrus, in the winter, in the world. Our Florida producers need to be clean."
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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