Tuesday April 9, 2013
12 noon to 1 pm
Outside MP offices
GM alfalfa is an urgent threat now - companies want to introduce GM alfalfa
What is Alfalfa?
Alfalfa, popularly called the “Queen of Forages,” is an extremely important and widely grown crop in farming systems in Canada. It is perennial, and is pollinated by insects, mostly bees. Alfalfa is grown - usually as a mix with other grass species - to produce high-quality hay for livestock, and is a critical ingredient for the organic dairy sector. The hay bales we see across our rural landscape often include alfalfa. Farmers include alfalfa in crop rotations to fix nitrogen in the soil, and to build soil fertility and organic matter. It also helps stop soil erosion, controls weeds, and is an important export crop.
What is GM alfalfa?
A company called Forage Genetics International has applied Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready (herbicide resistant) technology to alfalfa. Canadian regulatory authorities have approved GM alfalfa for eating and growing, but the company needs to complete one more step, called variety registration, before it can sell GM alfalfa. This last step could be completed as soon as this April.
The GM Alfalfa Threat
Since alfalfa is a perennial plant that is pollinated by bees, GM alfalfa will inevitably cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic alfalfa, threatening the livelihoods of family farmers across Canada. Prairie farmers have already rejected GM alfalfa for these reasons, and now the industry is trying to introduce GM alfalfa in Eastern Canada. If it is introduced, GM alfalfa will ruin export markets for alfalfa products, contaminate family farms, make it more difficult for farmers to control weeds, and threaten the future of organic food and farming in Canada.
What will the Day of Action Include?
Rallies outside local MP offices across Ontario and in other provinces. The day can also include meetings with your Members of Parliament in their constituency offices. Bring your banners. Bring your voices. Together we can stop the release of GM alfalfa in Canada.
What Else Can I Do to Help?
For further details please contact Lucy Sharratt at the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN): 613 241 2267 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org More information at www.cban.ca/alfalfa.
This call for action was issued by the National Farmers Union-Ontario