The Benton County ( Corvallis area ) group is working to put forth a county level measure adopting a sustainable agriculture "bill of rights". This bill of rights will, among several things, ban the growth and cultivation of GM crops in the open environment. Currently refer to as the "Right to Seed Heritage and Sustainability", this county measure grew out of concern for our Oregon farmers who fear GM contamination of their crops, conventional as well as organic. The measure also reflects the public’s concern for our environment, children, farmland, food safety and public health and reclaiming a communities right to defend and protect those entities of concern rather than caving to corporations false power to exploit those entities.
The practice of saving seeds is fundamental to sustainable agriculture by making agriculture economically viable for farmers, promotes bio-diversity, and potentially leads to higher crop yields without genetic engineering as successive generations of the seed adapt to, or are bread for, the unique qualities of the specific region or site. GMO proprieter Monsanto currently employees a large team of lawyers who's sole purpose is to enforce Monsanto's patent claims on the GM seeds. With pollen drifting from a GM field and contaminating a non-GM field, the patent litigation Monsanto is wielding threatens this very fundamental right of farmers everywhere.
The farming of genetically modified organisms poses a significant threat to a neighboring or near by farmers ability to attain or retain organic certification due to pollen drift or other contamination. USDA Organic guidelines and Oregon Tilth Certification mandate that organic food cannot contain GMOs. So if a farmer chooses to be organic, but a nearby farmer plants the GMO variety of that crop, the organic farmers ability to maintain their organic certification is in doubt. Since organic farming practices dont use chemical pesticides or herbicides, they are higly more sustainable farming practices than those chemical heavy practices in use by GMO farmers. Accordingly defending the right to sustainable agriculture means defending organic farming and banning GMOs.