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Activists prepare for GMO protest on World Food Day

Oct. 10, 2013 |

CHICOPEE – Since the overwhelmingly successful worldwide March Against Monsanto event in May that drew more than 210 demonstrators in the Chicopee area alone, organizers have been gearing up for the next incarnation to raise awareness of the critical need to stop the spread of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food crops. On Oct. 12, people will again take to the streets in honor of World Food Day. More than two million people worldwide participated in the last movement and the groundswell of support continues to gain momentum on social media sites. Marches will take place on six continents, in 52 countries, in more than 400 cities. In the United States, solidarity marches are slated to occur in 47 states. GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or traditional crossbreeding. GMOs are engineered to withstand direct applications of herbicides. A growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and the violation of farmers’ and consumers’ right. What better way to honor World Food Day than to bring awareness to the dangers of GMOs while continuing the push toward mandatory food labeling. An organic vendor fair will take place prior to the march, beginning at noon, at Christ’s Community Church, 103 Springfield St. The event will serve to connect the people in the community with organic farming and the importance of supporting locally-owned natural and organic businesses. Dean’s Beans, Taza Chocolates, Red Fire Farm, River Valley Market and Four Elements Organic Salon are among the 20 confirmed vendors at the fair. According to Cheryl Przezdziecki, organizer of the Chicopee March Against Monsanto and founder of GMO-Free Massachusetts, this is an all-in effort to promote the organic movement. “Protesting Monsanto is important, but our group see the value in advocating for organic food products and services as well,” Przezdziecki said. “These are wonderful companies right here in our own backyard doing great things. Our organization is dedicated to connecting our community to these businesses to create a pro-ogranic shift.” At 2 p.m., immediately following the vendor showcase, participants will march in solidarity to Chicopee City Hall to raise awareness about the GMO issue, and call for our leaders to push for mandatory food labeling. “If you want to change, come join us and let your voice be heard. It starts with us,” Przezdziecki said. For more information and to participate in the event, visit www.facebook.com/events/322150701248770.

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