OSGATA President Joins Panel with Vandana Shiva at 2015 National Heirloom Exposition

OSGATA President and Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen joins world-renowned activist and author Vandana Shiva for a panel presentation on the impact of seed patents on farmers at The 2015 National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, CA. On Thursday, Sept. 10, Gerritsen, Shiva, and Food Democracy Now! co-founders, Dave Murphy and Lisa Stokke, will present “Reclaim your Seed Heritage, Reclaim your Democracy: Monsanto Seed Patents and Farmers, Where are We Now?”

Shiva’s Navdanya and Food Democracy Now!, were  both plaintiffs in the landmark Federal lawsuit, OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, which sought to protect farmers from potential suit of patent infringement if they became contaminated by Monsanto’s patented genetically engineered (GE) seed.

In a May 2015 Acres U.S.A. interview, Gerritsen summarizes the importance of this organic community lawsuit:

“…Organic and non-GMO farmers were not only under economic threat should they become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented technology, but because of the patent laws they also risked being accused of patent infringement should Monsanto’s genes end up on their farm. If anything is clear it’s that Monsanto is a patent bully, probably the most aggressive patent bully in the history of the world. Any farmer at risk of contamination takes a great risk of being pursued by Monsanto, and we didn’t think that was fair. We identified an existing law called the Declaratory Judgment Act that, in fact, was established exactly for a situation like our own. We hoped we could get a determination by the Federal Court that, not being customers of Monsanto, not wanting their technology, we would not be infringing upon their patent should they fail to control their patented technology and let it end up on our farms. We wanted to do two things with this lawsuit. Under the Declaratory Judgment Act, we wanted to establish protection for family farmers that should they, through no fault of their own, become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented technology— prevent Monsanto from suing these family farmers for patent infringement.”

Earlier on Thursday, Sept. 10, Gerritsen will also be presenting “How Real Organic is at Risk, Strong Standards under Threat.”

Access the full speaker schedule for The 2015 National Heirloom Exposition.

Learn more about Monsanto’s corporate control of seed, in relation to elevated farmer suicides, here, and get full background on OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto here.

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