Jim Gerritsen: Organic Food Champion

Utne Reader visionary

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    Image courtesy of Jim Gerritsen

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Jim Gerritsen was chosen as an Utne Reader visionary in 2011. Each year Utne Reader puts forward its selection of world visionaries—people who don’t just concoct great ideas but also act on them.

Jim Gerritsen Online Extras | 2011 Visionaries Home Page 

Jim Gerritsen runs a small organic farm in Maine. In addition to doing his daily chores, he spearheads a lawsuit against corporate agriculture giant Monsanto, filed last spring on behalf of 270,000 family farmers, gardeners, and consumers who are suing to keep some food crops free of genetic modification.

“The stakes are so high,” says Gerritsen, president of the lead plaintiff, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. “We have a right not to be invaded by something that would be catastrophic to our businesses and our families.” Without the lawsuit, Gerritsen prophesies a world food supply devoid of organic crops.

Monsanto has a well-documented history of aggressively defending its genetically modified seeds—including, ironically, claiming patent infringement by organic farmers whose produce becomes contaminated from modified seed that drifts onto their fields. Indeed, accidental pollution has already turned some heirloom crops into extinct species. The lawsuit has two stated goals: to challenge the constitutionality of Monsanto’s seed patents and to protect farmers accused of stealing patented seed.

“You can’t help but do what needs to be done,” says Gerritsen. “Either we stand up and fight now for the right to an alternative or we will lose that option forever.”

Jim Gerritsen Online Extras | 2011 Visionaries Home Page 

4/13/2012 2:33:13 PM

Really some first-class fear mongering here. With this level of quality journalism, I expect Mr. Ketcham will release his brilliant expose on alien abductions before long. Case studies and personal opinions do not make for a convincing case about this sort of thing...they make for conspiracy theories. Where's the evidence?

Carolyn Rashti
10/27/2011 2:53:32 AM

Bravo Mr Gerritsen! You are the personification of idealism and courage! My and our country's grandchildren's health and body NEED you! How can we produce an OCCUPY MONSANTO and get those corrupt robber barons out of nature's kingdom?

Robin Birkland
10/26/2011 10:42:43 PM

Where are the comments?! This is super and not an easy task to take on or a cheap one at that. I've seen documentaries where Monsanto was legally challeged but as we all know whose pockets the politicians and judicial systems Monsanto and this corporate oligarchy are in. Way to go Mr. Gerritsen! It is time for Americans to stop allowing this whoring out of ALL our natural resources for corporate greed! It will take a collective effort to gain back what the Corporate oligarchy has stripped from REAL people who America must be about. A good place to start is helping in your State to get a petition going or sign one that is already, that changes this corporate personhood status Constitutionally back to real people being the only personhood status. We are being usurped folks. Don't let them win! THEY worry most about our boycott powers but worry more about our collective powers. We must unite on this to end this destruction of our good food sources. Thanks for the chance to share my rant, UTNE! Thank you Mr. Gerritsen for your bravery. May the Force be with you!

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