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Protesters hit BIO and the World Food Prize

1.Protesters Occupy Entrance of International BIO Convention
2.Protests set for Food Prize events

NOTE: There are also protest photos at the first link. And check out the Occupy Monsanto site, which is "dedicated to empowering citizens of the world to take action against Monsanto during the week of September 17 2012."
1.Protesters Occupy Entrance of Boston’s 2012 International BIO Convention
BostInno, 18 June 2012

Dressed in contamination suits and waving around boxes of children's cereal they say are pumped with Genetically Modified Organisms, protesters planted themselves outside of the International BIO Convention Monday to fight against a week-long meeting of mega-companies and biotechnology firms.

According to the group of activists, some of whom traveled all the way from Washington, D.C., while the "1 percent discusses industry strategies that compromise”¦biological heritage" inside the convention, protesters planned on educating the public, hosting sidewalk sessions, about pesticides, organic foods and anti-biotech initiatives.

"We are here to tell them to stop using GMOs. Stop contaminating our foodwe want organic farms, not giant industrial farms poisoning our people," said Rica Madrid.

Madrid is a member of Occupy Monsato, a group fighting against the multinational agricultural company and producer of genetically engineered seeds.

The group, which banded with members of Occupy Boston and others during Monday’s protests, will be holding larger rallies against the company in the future.

Madrid said the Genetically Modified Organisms used in food produced by Monsato could have long term adverse health effects.

"We have no idea what the impacts will be in 10 or 15 years," she said. "We can avoid these foods."

Chris Rotten, who held a box of Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles while wearing a HAZMAT suit, asked people coming into the convention if they had their daily dose of "GMOs."

"It should be 'UnLucky Charms.' We have been duped by the FDA," said Rotten. "People don't intend to be part of a corporate experiment. We are just guinea pigs."

The convention, which runs from June 18 through the 21, is slated to bring thousands of biotech firms and businesses to the Bay State and pump close to $26.8 million into the local economy, according to officials from Mayor Thomas Menino’s office.

To attract some of those global businesses to the Hub, Menino and staff form the city's Boston Redevelopment Authority have implemented a plan to "pitch hot prospects," including tours of Boston's life sciences clusters and meetups with CEOs.

“Boston is a global life sciences hub a super cluster it is innovation, collaboration and success. I’m pleased to invite the world to our city,” Menino said in a statement.

Governor Deval Patrick kicked off the week long event, welcoming businesses to Boston, during a speech this morning.

“Hosting all this talent from all around the world is a great opportunity for us to showcase our super-cluster here, build on relationships we already have and create some new ones,” said Patrick. “I look forward to meeting with top executives and government leaders to explore opportunities for collaboration and I encourage all BIO participants to do the same.”

Protesters did not go inside the event because the amount it cost to attend. They said they didn't want to give additional money to the large corporations.
2.Protests set for Food Prize events
Des Moines Register, June 19 2012

*Corporate agribusiness, biotech seeds to be targets of Occupy Des Moines

The Occupy Des Moines movement, fresh off the visibility it achieved during the Iowa caucuses campaign, is setting its sights on the annual World Food Prize events to be held in Des Moines in October.

Occupy leader Frank Cordaro said the group’s plans for the events were still being put together, but “there will be opportunities for arrest.”

The Occupy movement will target what Cordaro called “the corporate ownership of the World Food Prize, especially its dominance by genetically modified seed interests.”

“Our goal is to get rid of GMOs,” or genetically modified organisms, said Cordaro, referring to the corn and soybean seeds now in widespread use in Iowa and elsewhere in the U.S.

Cordaro stopped short of saying that the Occupy movement would try to stop the World Food Prize events. The group gained publicity in Des Moines for protesting at Republican presidential candidates’ final events but didn’t try to block the caucuses.

The Occupy group argues that Western agricultural methods and use of genetically modified seeds enrich corporate agribusiness while harming small farmers. The protesters have criticized the work of World Food Prize founder Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for launching the Green Revolution research initiatives aimed at increasing agricultural output and saving as many as 1 billion lives worldwide.

Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize, didn’t take issue with the fact that the prize is comfortable with biotechnology.

“Dr. Borlaug was a supporter of biotechnology, and we have focused on it in some of our sessions,” said Quinn, who added, “Both Dr. Borlaug and the prize are all about feeding hungry people.”

Quinn noted that an annual feature of the World Food Prize week is the Hunger Summit, which features discussions on global hunger topics.

The World Food Prize events, set for the week of Oct. 15, attract corporate and government leaders, farm interests, economists and scientists from all over the world who discuss the latest issues in global agriculture.

The events are held primarily at the downtown Marriott Hotel, but some events this year are likely to be moved to the new World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in the former Des Moines Public Library on the west bank of the Des Moines River.

The finale, at which this year’s laureate, Daniel Hillel of Israel, will receive his honor, will be held in the Iowa House of Representatives chamber in the Capitol, followed by a dinner in the rotunda.