Oral Argument and Citizens’ Assembly

Photo by Loren Hart

Family farmers from around North America filled Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald’s courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday, January 31 to hear the oral arguments regarding the pre-trial motions to dismiss OSGATA et al v. Monsanto.

1/31/12 Citizen’s Assembly. Courtesy of Simran Sethi.

Outside the courthouse in Foley Square, hundreds turned out for the Citizens’ Assembly of support for family farmers,
an action organized by severalgroups including Occupy Food Justice. After the conclusion of the courtroom oral argument, plaintiff farmers and their legal team from the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) provided details and comments on the courtroom proceedings, to supporters at the Citizens’ Assembly.

OSGATA President and Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen was in the courtroom and witnessed the oral argument. Gerritsen says, “Our lawyer did a good job explaining the current injustice farmers face. We have a right to be secure on our farms and to be free from Monsanto’s GMO trespass. If we become contaminated by Monsanto, not only is the value of our organic seed crop extinguished but we could also be sued by Monsanto for patent infringement because their contamination results in our ‘possession’ of their GMO technology. We have farmers who have stopped growing organic corn, organic canola and organic soybeans because they can’t risk being sued by Monsanto. It’s not fair and it’s not right. Family farmers need justice and we deserve the protection of the court.”

Foley Square. Courtesy of Simran Sethi.

Read the full press release. Further information on OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto is available here and also via PUBPAT. A complete 36 page transcript of the Oral Argument is available here.

8 comments on “Oral Argument and Citizens’ Assembly

  1. It’s amazing that a precious seed,a gift from our Earth that was here long before Monsanto and not even theirs in the beginning, can be GM, patented as theirs, then sue farmers that do not want any part of this toxic seed. Everyday I purchase organic food and seeds is my votes to all the organic farms that I stand behind and support 100%

  2. I am behind the farmers! If they lose i will not be able to sell my fruit at the farmers market!
    Nobody will be able to sell at the farmers market.

    • Greetings. So grateful to you for iursupng the lawsuit. It’s unconscionable that the GMO market is allowed to physically destroy the existence of organic products for which there is a real, substantial, and growing demand. This is not comparable to becoming a market monopoly (which is bad enough); it is destroying the commons and replacing it with something that’s privately owned and we will have to ingest. Today I heard an excellent discussion of GMOs on Your Call with Rose Aguilar on KALW in the S.F. Bay Area. Jim Gerritsen was briefly a guest; he spoke and interacted really effectively. Great work Jim! You clearly stated and described that Monsanto paradoxically forces organic farmers to unwittingly infringe on M’s patent and intellectual property through the inherently uncontrollable nature of that product. This is a good time to flip the perspective around and point out that in fact it is Monsanto who is committing the property crime. Monstanto is purposely disseminating their invasive product known to destroy your organic property. I think this approach would get through to many people unswayed by other facts or concepts. I also think this is one of the approaches that would work in court. The Supremes are protective of property rights even of individuals. I usually take action through on this type of issue via Food Democracy, but I’ll follow your case closely and talk it up with my urban permaculture pals. Best Wishes and Sincere Appreciation, Annie

      • .I feel we have to group together for a mass raeistsnce something like the civil rights movement. We can’t continue to let them steamroll us into submission.Thanks for being an independant thinker and not be swayed by the industry guys. By the way, why couldn’t Greenpeace volunteers, or other volunteers from the organic movement state their cases in these meetings to balance out their views. Is there a need for those kind of folks?All the best to you

        • It’s about time that people (lawyers) spopted being afraid to take on Monsanto. They have been bullying HONEST people for far too long. I’m glad that the lawyer had the courage to make its case. We need to spread the word so it can gain coverage like major celebrity events. The government didn’t want undue general public panic, well, that is what we need. When the mass populous stands united, then, and only then can Monsanto go down. This is a major door opener. Food Inc. was a great start. That momentum needs to keep going. Way to go farmers!We are here for you!

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