As part of the global March Against Monsanto, South Floridians came out in droves to rally support for mandatory labeling Saturday.
Across the world, more than 2 million protesters attended rallies in more than 400 cities, across 52 countries--a much larger turnout than initially expected.
In Miami more than 1,300 protesters showed up to the Omni/ Adrienne Arsht Metro station to march. State Senator Maria Sachs came out to speak.
In the US most corn and soybean crops are genetically modified. Those two ingredients are included in a large portion of the countries' processed foods, which is responsible for the majority of most individual's diets.
After California's Proposition 37, a bill which would have required mandatory labeling of much genetically modified material in foods, failed last November activists, began making bigger pushes on other state ballots.
Activist were further motivated by Congress's passage of the Farmer's Assurance Provision, frequently referred to as the 'Monsanto Protection Act,' It was hidden in the Continuing Resolution --a bill in which Congress agreed to pay its debts.
Florida's legislature considered mandatory labeling initiatives in both the House and Senate in the last session. Neither bill made it to committee.
Aaron Spence has been actively organizing against genetically modified organisms in Miami. "Our community has the greatest opportunity to take a stand for humanity, the world, and all living things that exist on it," he said, "Through March Against Monsanto we're beginning to create a world that really works for us on a larger scale than we have ever seen before in our food supply. Everyone eats. Everyone can affect change."
Protestors came from a wide variety of backgrounds of healthcare providers, IT professionals, concerned parents, and even former Marines.
Mental health care provider Pat Milone drove to downtown Miami from the Redland.
"This is my first time getting involved in the GMO protests," said Milone, "I just joined the Audobon society; I didn't know much about bee collapse [colony collapse syndrome]. I've learned about colony collapse and that its been linked to systemic pesticide poisoning. There's bans all over Europe and look at us: the EPA doesn't even do their own studies. They're not protecting us. This is the only way we can take back democracy."
Senator Sachs has agreed to rewrite the Senate version of Florida's Mandatory labeling bill. She called on individuals to take the issue to Governor Rick Scott's office.
"I want you to tell Governor Rick Scott that the people of Florida need to be heard," said Sachs,"And all the 23,000 farms that we have in this state. This state is the number 2 producer of agriculture in the country. We are the number 1 producer of citrus, in the winter, in the world. Our Florida producers need to be clean."
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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