Saturday's Food Freedom March was the fourth so far in Kelowna, and it coincided with the beginning of the B.C. government's Organic Week. The march was about various issues of food freedom, such as high grocery prices, Monsanto (the leading producer of genetically engineered seed), and GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
However, there were many other issues at stake. Lori Timbol, the organizer of the event, said in her speech, “Food freedom is not just about Monsanto. It's about our seeds, our biodiversity, our food security, our right to grow our own food, protection of our farmland, and our farmers. Our environment and water are toxic. We are toxic.”
Particularly, there were two petitions for participants to sign that were being sent to the House of Commons. One was for all GMOs to be labelled in food products, while the other was for Canada's farmers to have the right to save their seeds. The second referred to Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, which Timbol said will severely limit both the variety of seeds for farmers and the rights of Canadian farmers to save seeds.
One local issue that came up was Okanagan Specialty Fruits' Arctic Apple, an apple that uses enzyme technology to not brown by bruising. The marchers protested against how this apple won't be labelled as GMO in stores, saying that families should know what they're buying.
The company has previously defended its position, saying that such a label would only be “fear inducing” and that the Arctic label itself should lead the customer to the full information.
The participants were lively and enthusiastic as they marched, and they received many honks from cars passing by. Their next march will be March Against Monsanto on May 23, 2015.