"The soil accuses Monsanto"
07-11-2016From 14th to 16th October, the Monsanto Tribunal took place in The Hague. Bernward Geier, former long-time director of IFOAM and a well-known consultant in the field of sustainable agriculture, was there on behalf of Save Our Soils and gave a workshop on soil and the True Cost of Food. True Cost Accounting turned out to be a hot topic.
Despite the fact that the workshop "The soil accuses Monsanto" took place on Sunday morning and had to compete with five other workshops, this workshop was well attended with about 50 people. Credits for this certainly also go to the panelist keynote speakers Vandana Shiva and the people's assembly ambassador Renate Künast. The workshop was made possible and supported by the International Save Our Soils campaign, specifically the Dutch organic trader Nature & More.
The organizer and moderator of the workshop, Bernward Geier, started with an introduction which showed impressive pictures of extremely eroded and terribly degradated Roundup Ready GMO Monsanto soil in Argentina. These photo's were taken in the immediate vicinity of the world's most beautiful (organic) farm Laguna Blanca which served as a contrast. Geier emphasized the importance and relevance to not only criticise Monsanto as a destroyer of soil and soil fertility, but to also offer positive counter strategies.
Organic agriculture already includes True Cost Accounting to a certain extent in its "premium" price, which encompasses a beneficial impact on soil. Geier illustrated this with examples from the True Cost of Food campaign which builds consumer awareness, e. g. in a supermarket where a huge pile of soil was brought to the produce section to show how much soil is saved by organic agriculture. The panel guests picked up on these important issues and highlighted their opinions and support for organic agriculture as a solution to Monsanto's soil and earth destroying (GMO & toxic chemical) package.
With this workshop we reached an audience well beyond the 50 participants, as all 700 tribunal and assembly participants read about it in the program and thousands all over the world followed the live stream. In the closing session Vandana Shiva and Renate Künast made references to TCA in their final speeches. The tribunal organizers also picked it up in their official and final press release as follows:
"This Tribunal and People’s Assembly are about showing the tremendous costs of industrial farming for humans, for health, and for nature. They are also about standing up to Monsanto and their likes, and stopping them from poisoning our world and controlling our food supply. One way to do this is by showing the true cost of the current global food system, and the very real alternatives that exist."