Farmers in three Australian States are seeking public support for a Senate inquiry into the post-commercialisation impacts of existing regulated GM crops – as a Western Australian (WA) farmer who lost much of livelihood due to GM contamination seeks to crowd-source legal costs for his landmark trial.
Steve Marsh, an organic farmer from Kojonup, south of Perth, lost organic certification for most of his farm when GM canola contaminated his crop. He is suing his neighbour in the Supreme Court of WA, in a landmark world’s first trial beginning on February 10 2014.
Yesterday independent South Australia Senator Nick Xenophon launched the farmers www.change.org/contamination petition, and videos and a website for the Safe Food Foundation, which is coordinating fundraising for Steve’s case which is already attracting global interest as the first of its kind.
The www.change.org/contamination petition in 24 hours has attracted more than 21,000 signatures.
While law firm Slater & Gordon is providing legal work on a pro bono basis under their public interest policy, other substantial costs, for barristers and experts, requires significant further fundraising for the fast approaching trial.
SUPPORT STEVE MARSH, DONATE, SEE VIDEOS, LEARN MORE: www.safefoodfoundation.org
Steve is supported by many, including TV celebrities, but he hopes that his battle will get broad public support. Steve’s stand on being allowed to choose what he wants to grow – organic, non-GM crops – is the same as our right to choose what we want to eat.
Or as ABC TV’s Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis put it: “Steve Marsh is one person, but Steve Marsh is everyone.”
Masterchef celebrity Matt Preston has praised Steve Marsh’s courage in risking his farm for his beliefs. “For Steve to take this stand, it’s very easy for us to sit back and ‘That’s great, Steve. Good luck, mate, and hope it goes well.’ But it’s also a matter of us providing support for Steve and what Steve’s doing is fighting that one big battle for everyone. And everyone has an interest in this case.”
Chef and TV presenter Kylie Kwong is also backing the campaign: “I support Steve Marsh’s case to ensure that farmers have the right to grow GM-free food for all of us.”
A separate but critical part of the campaign to stop GM crops taking over Australian food is the petition at www.change.org/contamination
This is the initiative of farmers Bob Mackley from Western Victoria, Fred Haskins from New South Wales, and Janette Liddelow from WA. Bob Mackley, a fourth-generation grain farmer, was hit hard in January 2011 when floods washed GM canola from his neighbour’s paddocks onto his property. He was unable to sell his crop.