We meet on the first Sunday of each month between 8.30am - 10.00am. Venue: 145 Ilkley Road, Ilkley, Sunshine Coast.
All welcome to come along for a chat, cuppa, local organic gardening tips, seed saving and plant swap! Gold coin donation.
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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Outcome of GM Case to Affect Food Safety

As a seed saver and food grower, you are likely worried about the effects of genetically modified crops on your health and the environment. GM is a major threat to food safety world wide and should be of major concern to everyone interested in eating and growing safe food.

The long awaited outcome of the landmark GM Case with Steve Marsh in Western Australia was announced on Wednesday 28 May, 2014. The Guardian summarises the outcome in their article.

This is a brief video with the background on this case:

There is also an interesting article on the history of how the contamination occurred and some of the issues from both sides via Steve Marsh and the Bad Seeds.

True Food Network reports on the impact we will all feel in the safety of our future food system:

GM Farmer's Win is a Loss for all Organic and Non GM Farmers

"Today we are deeply disappointed to inform you that Steve Marsh lost his case to stop GM canola coming on to his farm. The future of organic and non GM food in Australia is uncertain after a WA farmer today lost his legal battle with a neighbouring farmer.

Steve Marsh lost organic certification on his Kojonup farm - and most of his livelihood - when his farm was contaminated by GM canola. He sued his neighbour in the WA Supreme Court for his losses, and to protect his farm into the future.

The court in its summary and judgment stated the decision by NASAA (National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia) to decertify Steve was erroneous. Given the extent of the contamination of Steve's farm we fail to see how NASAA could have taken any other decision. Certainly 100% of organic consumers would support the NASAA decision.

Because the court did not recognise the NASAA decertification, the court did not recognise the economic loss Steve suffered, and dismissed the case that Steve had brought for negligence and nuisance.

Scott Kinnear, director of the Safe Food Foundation, says he is very disappointed and gravely concerned for Steve Marsh and his family and their farm and for the future of organic and non GM food in Australia remaining GM free.

"This is a huge setback for organic and Non GM farmers and their choice to remain GM Free."

"This has been an important test case, of interest to many parties, locally and globally.

"If Steve on legal advice chooses to take this case further, the Safe Food Foundation will continue to work to legally protect the rights of Australian consumers to buy organic produce free of GM."

"We also call on our legislators to work on finding a solution to this vexed issue. State and Federal governments have continuously stated that the solution to any GM contamination events is common law. This has clearly failed today and demonstrates that the law has not kept up with new technologies such as GM."

"We thank Steve Marsh who has risked his farm to make a stand for all of us, a move that demonstrated his courage, tenacity and integrity."

Mr Kinnear also thanked Slater & Gordon and the many people and businesses in more than 30 countries who contributed amounts large and small to this landmark case, but warned them that the battle may not be over.

You can follow the story and support Steve via Safe Food Foundation.

While law firm Slater & Gordon donated its legal services, other costs were provided through a unique crowd-sourced funding campaign organised by the Safe Food Foundation.

Prospects of an Appeal: Steve's lawyers will study the judgment and advise Steve of his legal options. We will get back to you if Steve decides to appeal.

Your support to assist us to repay the last of our loans is gratefully appreciated so that we can leap into action to further support Steve if the need arises."

The Safe Food Foundation has a lot of information online about GM and you may find it worth spending time to learn more. Here are some of their resources:

What can you do?

  • Saving and sourcing GM free seed has never been more important than now. Continue to share this information and be diligent about the exact source of the seed you buy and grow in your garden.

  • Ensure you ask questions from suppliers and that especially includes buying seedlings from nurseries and retailers who may be selling GM seed raised crops. Even if you raise seedlings organically, you could still be inadvertently contaminating your garden with GM crops.
  • There are many local certified organic seed sources - make sure you support these businesses and suppliers so you grow safe food and protect the integrity of our seed bank. This is a constantly updated list of seed suppliers you can refer to and share to buy safe seed.

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