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Monsanto march draws crowd

Activists, organizers and members of the public gathered at Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna today to march against Monsanto, the corporation responsible for many genetically modified foods and seeds.

The march is calling for the permanent boycott of genetically modified organisms, genetically engineered foods and other chemicals used in food production, which they say could be harmful to human health today and in future generations.

At the very least, this group wants to see these foods labelled in grocery stores, which Canada does not currently require.

Organizers held signs and took turns speaking to the crowd of more than 100 people before they began their march down Harvey Avenue. 

Shirley Olson who has supported the movement for several years said she hopes everybody comes out for the march.

"If you care about your earth, get out there," she said. "People like Monsanto pay millions to the government so they don't have to label their foods. It should be labelled so you have a choice about what you're eating."

Amy Wilson said the march is about raising awareness and educating people.

"People are going to start questioning," she said. "Things like organic, local, non-GMO foods - we want them to be more available."

"Ban the bad, bring in the good."

Rob Wager is a biology professor at Vancouver Island University. He calls this event the 'March against Reason' and claims the anti-Monsanto march only "propagates fear" and that organizers are misinformed.

"Over 25 years of research has failed to find any harm from GM (genetically modified) technology. Even the GMO skeptical European science agrees on the safety of these crops and food," he said in an email to Castanet.

However, for some locals, they would rather control their food and be safe than sorry.

Deana Steele who is studying natural nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition said having control of her food is more important than a government or corporate message.

"I want to know my food is non-contaminated," she said. "I don't think we've had enough time to really see what changes happen on that cellular level in the body. Cancer doesn't show up overnight, it takes time to develop, do you feel it coming? No."

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