Earlier this year, the USDA approved the planting of genetically modified alfalfa—that normally nutrient-rich sprout loved by healthy types across the land. Canada responded in lackluster fashion by promptly dragging its heels in a proposed ban of the Roundup Ready Herbicide tolerant product created in the labs at Monsanto.

Can anyone tell me why we need to make alfalfa GM? Last time I checked, it was a “health food”, eaten by health food lovers –- the same people who tend to avoid genetically modified anything because of the risks involved.

In response to our country’s lack of response, the Canadian Organic Growers signed legal action against Monsanto in March. The lawsuit is led by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) based in New York. PUBPAT is known for standing up to corporate greed against patents that are not in the public interest.
This particular suit is against Monsanto’s practice of defending its patent rights through legal action against farmers.

Any farmer who has the audacity of having the wind or wildlife (and their droppings) transfer GM seeds onto their land can face fines of up to $200 per acre.

The case against Monsanto rests on four main points:

1. that Monsanto’s GM seed patents are invalid for a variety of reasons, including the facts that they do not meet the tests of novelty and of usefulness
2. that Monsanto’s GM seed patents cannot be infringed if the plaintiffs’ fields become contaminated through no fault of their own
3. that Monsanto’s GM seed patents are unenforceable
4. and that Monsanto would not be entitled to any remedy against the plaintiffs

Monsanto responded by calling the lawsuit a publicity stunt, and has filed a letter asking the court in New York to dismiss the case. If this is denied, they’ve asked to move the case to a “friendlier” court in St. Louis, where Monsanto is located.

Last month, the Monsanto was granted permission to file a motion to dismiss the case. PUBNAT one month to file an opposition to Monsanto’s motion to dismiss.

Feels down to the wire. And depressing. And high time to start growing our own sprouts at home, or getting them from some reliable local growers like Kind Organics.

If you can, please support COG’s campaign.


  1. Kat says:

    August 18th, 2011 at 1:23 pm (#)

    Hi! I believe alfalfa is used for animal feed as well as a green manure, not just for sprouts. It’s a pretty big crop. We’d have to ask a large-scale farmer for why they would need an “upgrade” but I’m sure it’s not a real need.

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