HOLLYWOOD – On Saturday May 24th, people from the Los Angeles area responded to the global call to action for a “March Against Monsanto” by collaborating to produce an urban gardening festival with the theme “It’s time to take back our food!”
The day started at 10 AM at vegan café Elderberries (7564 Sunset Blvd), where 3,000 edible, organic seedlings were on hand for distribution during the “Plant Against Monsanto” portion of the day. Kale and tomatoes were just a few of the open-pollinated non-genetically engineered (GE) varieties given away. Welcoming lavender tables and chairs dotted the sidewalk outside the café, where compost was on hand for transplanting seedlings to carry in the march.
A sign bearing the message “Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees,” referred to the concerns citizens have with GE items in our food supply. GE foods did not undergo long-term, independent, peer-reviewed studies before introduction to the human and animal food supply. Many countries have banned or restricted GE foods entirely, which are often also referred to as GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
Inside Elderberries, volunteer Morgan Peters was one of the people to address the crowd, “There is a lot you can do on a daily basis. There’s a lot going on right now in California. There’s a bill in the senate that will be voted on next week (looks like it will be Wednesday), and it’s for labeling GMOs. It’s called SB 1381 and it’s just like Prop 37 except it’s a little cleaner, streamlined, a little fresher.
“What we’re asking everyone to do is call every single senator you can. Every time we call these senators, they’re listening, and they are so grateful to hear from us.”
Morgan Peters announced that her mother decided three years ago to get GMOs labeled in CA. The Proposition 37 initiative (mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food) failed in large part due to immense corporate spending and lobbying by corporations like Monsanto, Dupont, Dow, Bayer, and Syngenta.
The original March Against Monsanto Los Angeles was organized by Proposition 37 proponents in the aftermath of the defeat of the ballot initiative. The inaugural event marched from Pershing Square to Los Angeles City Hall a year ago, in May 2013.
Another woman announced that today’s march would occur on the sidewalks; it would not be a permitted march in which the police close the streets, because if the streets are closed, the march isn’t visible.
In the back parking lot of the café, friendly people met to decorate brightly colored signs. Clothing items were screenprinted for free by the People’s Print Lab. Printed “Muck Fonsanto” and “Save the Bees” cotton shirts were available for a suggested $5 donation.
As people arrived, small groups were organized to walk to Plummer Park (7377 Santa Monica Blvd) for the start of the food freedom rally. Word spread that the hashtag #FarmLA would be used throughout the day to alert people to the current march location.
In Plummer Park, dozens of donated garden boxes and compost were used in planting demonstrations and then given away to interested participants. People were encouraged to take a baby tomato plant and wrap it in tissue for holding while marching, and then planting at home. Waving a tray of donated tomato plants, a woman announced, “Today, we are going to walk with food. Real good, non-GMO food!” and then encouraged other people to take the impromptu podium by standing on a park bench.
The Los Angeles native dance group Danza Azteca drummed and chanted to begin the event in the artistic and cultural spirit of the native people of this land. A woman holding a conch shell surrounded by a circle of dancers in colorful headdresses led a ceremony facing the four cardinal directions, the stars, and, finally, touching Mother Earth. As the drums shook the earth, the dancers’ seed pod and shell accessories joined in the rhythmic sound.
The actual march included spontaneous stops for teach-ins and speak-outs at McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, and the Armed Forces Recruiting Center, among other locations. After occupying both sides of the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside the Dolby Theater at near Hollywood & Highland, the march picked up additional people, including Wolverine, and continued down Hollywood Blvd to the Gateway to Hollywood sculpture for a public seedling planting.
At the Hollywood & La Brea gateway, the war crimes of the United States in Vietnam, including poisoning their soil and food supply with Monsanto-produced Agent Orange, were a subject of the food freedom speeches. One man revealed that not just human children are born with a variety of birth defects; animals are also deformed and damaged by the extensive chemical poisoning of the landscape with Monsanto chemicals.
While the march was traveling through Hollywood, Elderberries was open to anyone preferred to stay inside or seated in the shade, participating in screenprinting, live art, mural creation, urban gardening demonstrations, and eating vegan food and drink. The march concluded back at Elderberries with a vegan potluck that served hundreds. Crowd size estimates for the day ranged from 500 to 800; determining the exact number is difficult due to the distributed all-day nature of the event.
People's Print Lab and Really, Really Free Market outside Elderberies vegan cafe for #MAMLA March Against Monsanto Los Angeles. The day started at 10 AM at vegan café Elderberries (7564 Sunset Blvd), where 3,000 edible, organic seedlings were on hand for distribution during the “Plant Against Monsanto” portion of the day. Kale and tomatoes were just a few of the open-pollinated non-genetically engineered (GE) varieties given away.
3,000 edible, organic seedlings were on hand for distribution during the “Plant Against Monsanto” portion of the day. Kale and tomatoes were just a few of the open-pollinated non-genetically engineered (GE) varieties given away. #MAM #MAMLA #FarmLA #EndMonsanto
The Azteca Dancers opened March Against Monsanto Los Angeles #MAMLA in Plummer Park (West Hollywood, CA) on 5/24/2014 with a ceremony facing the four cardinal directions, the stars, and, finally, touching Mother Earth.
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