Modern technology is changing the way food is grown, but some people in Rockford want our farming methods to go back to the basics.
To get their point across, more than 200 protesters gathered outside of Rockford's City Hall earlier this afternoon. Picketers feel their rights have been taken away when it comes to buying produce, and demand that genetically modified foods be labeled at grocery stores.
Todd Thomas brought his two young daughters with him to the march. He says, "I want to know what's in the food before I buy it a lot of times for my diet and their diet. Right now we don't have the right to know that for some reason.'
The march targets the company 'Monsanto,' prominent producer of genetically modified seeds.
The idea began as a Facebook page, and quickly went viral. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country, as well as more than 30 other countries held 'March Against Monsanto' protests, just like the one here in Rockford.
Protest organizer Melissa Francis says the event also calls on people to consider buying locally grown produce."The number one things is the biotech industry is really ruining our food source, they're ruining our local economies, we just cant stand for it anymore," she says.
Andrea Hazzard, a local organic farmer, was invited to speak at the march. She explained to protesters how GMO sweet corn has been engineered to biologically fight insects. "Bacillus thuringiensis kills worms which is why they put it in there. but then we eat that, and I think the think is it's a lack of transparency. People want a choice, they want to know 'I want corn was grown without BT in it, or I want corn that's grown with it. But when we don't label it, you just don't have a choice because you just don't know."
According to Monsanto's website, the company claims engineered foods are just as safe as their non-GM counterparts, saying there has not been a single instance of illness or harm caused by GMO foods. The company opposes labeling genetically modified food. It believes the practice would imply their products are inferior to conventionally farmed or organic produce.
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