Updated: Nearly 100 attend protest of GMOs

Wendy Elliott
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By Wendy Elliott



A protest rally against the release of genetically modified alfalfa in eastern Canada attracted close to 100 people of all ages on April 9 in Wolfville.

The Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa took place at Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison’s constituency office at Railtown, but Brison was unavailable due to a previous meeting set for Halifax.

He indicated in a letter, read to the those in attendance, that, “it is absolutely vital that we must place a moratorium on the approval of Roundup Ready Alfalfa until the government completes a comprehensive study into its impact, including, but not limited to, the seed’s genetics, production, preservation and transportation, as well as the determination of an appropriate audit mechanism and verification systems.”

Local resident Holly Stewart organized the rally with a variety of local farmers and consumers. The Raging Grannies sang, then protestors paraded through the downtown, banging on drums and carrying signs featuring slogans such as, Protect Family Farms, No GMOs and GM alfalfa is genetic pollution. Many of the people chanted, “GM hay, no way!”

One of those in attendance, Owen Bridge of Annapolis Seeds, commented that home gardeners probably don’t have to worry about GMO seeds, but that hybrid seeds can’t be saved and used another year.

Stewart said she was pleased with the turn out.

“We had almost 90 people in attendance, and I have 83 signatures on the petition,” she added.

Similar actions happened in a number of other communities in Ontario and in eastern Canada.

Stewart received support from the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. The Day of Action was called by the National Farmers Union in Ontario. 


Canada approved GM alfalfa for health and environmental release in 2005, according to the network, but there is one more step before GM alfalfa can be commercially released in Canada. A variety registration is necessary from the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency.

This step could be completed as early as this spring.
 As prairie alfalfa seed growers and farmers have already rejected GM alfalfa, the seed industry now says they only want to introduce GM alfalfa into Eastern Canada.

If released, GM alfalfa would be the first GM perennial crop introduced in Canada. 

Organizations: GMO, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, National Farmers Union in Ontario Canadian Food and Inspection Agency

Geographic location: Eastern Canada, Wolfville, Ontario

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