Even as we celebrated a historic Guilty as Charged verdict at the close of the tribunal last week, we move forward with what's next. We know that it's up to us to expose the harms that corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta have done, including their undue influence on science and government.
It's up to us to use this verdict to hold them accountable. Several recent pieces of news fuel me with hope.
For the first time, Syngenta AG, the Swiss-based agrichemical giant, is being held subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. A southern Illinois court has ordered Syngenta to appear in court to defend the water contamination lawsuit brought by 22 Midwest public water providers from 6 states due to high levels of the dangerous chemical, atrazine.
Late last week, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a $50million verdict for rice farmers harmed by pesticide & GMO seed giant Bayer. Farmers showed that their rice was illegally contaminated with Bayer's genetically altered variety. According to an Arkansas business journal, Scott Powell, attorney for the farmers said, "These farmers have struggled mightily over the last five years after their crops were contaminated and the market crashed. They still struggle. The jury found Bayer's conduct in this whole rice fiasco to be egregious."
Maine farmer Jim Gerritsen, who spoke at a recent Occupy Wall Street event, is suing Monsanto. As Bangor Daily News reports, “'Monsanto is trying to achieve seed control based on aggressive assertion of patent infringement,' Gerritsen said, explaining that the farmers’ lawsuit has two goals: to protect organic farmers against patent infringement lawsuits and to challenge the validity of patents issued to Monsanto."
We are on a long journey to wrestle food and farming back into our hands from Big 6 control. And indeed, PAN members and supporters stand among those who have begun.