In certain traditions, eclipses were seen as ill omens and portents of tragic events: of crop failures and famines, of civil unrest and injustice, of slaughter and foreign occupation. We’re not so sure about last night’s eclipse, but we’re sure that the U.S. Senate’s resolution 200 which declared this month “National Biotechnology Month” is a sign of some perilous times on the horizon. We, the Fragaria Freedom Farmers, will only stoop low enough in observance of this heinous resolution to pull up the genetically mutilated organisms celebrated by the U.S. Senate. In the wee hours of a moon-lit morning, we made a visit upon Plant Sciences, Inc., a Watsonville, CA based biotechnology research facility. By pulling, digging and chopping, we destroyed a small research field of GE Strawberries at the company’s headquarters. We also left behind a variety of organic seeds to see to it that not only is GE material destroyed, but sustainable agriculture is left in its destructive wake. Through their website ( www.plantsciences.com), Plant Sciences makes it obvious that their research contributes to the proliferation of biotechnology and genetic mutilation. The City of Watsonville prides itself on its strawberries, but there is nothing to be proud of with genetic engineering research. Across the street from Plant Sciences is Amesti Elementary School, whose students and staff have already suffered from the greed of the local strawberry industry due to the nearby spraying of methyl bromide. Thankfully, restrictions on methyl bromide applications are growing and the toxic fumagant is scheduled for complete phase-out by 2005. Unfortunately, Plant Sciences, Inc. undoubtedly hopes to replace the chemical pollution of the environment with its own genetic pollutants. Still more unfortunately, unlike the effects of methyl bromide which dissipate after some time, the spread (through cross-pollination) of mutant genes to wild and conventional species will last an eternity. Even if the certified organic crops adjacent to Plant Sciences are never affected directly, the actions of genetic research such as that performed by Plant Sciences! will undermine organic certification generally.
There is an interesting belief in certain cultures that the strawberry is the fruit of the devil because one must stoop so low in order to pick them. To be sure this designation is well deserved here on California’s Central Coast where so many are being forced to stoop so low to provide so much wealth and profit to so few. By depending upon genetically engineered crops, large strawberry growers, processors and distributors hope to further increase those profits (at further expense to their workers), failing to recognize the dangerous and unintended effects inherent in this artificial and imprecise technology. We are convinced, by the recent surge in runaway industrial biotechnology, that the drive for colonization has moved to the genetic level. While the biological warfare of the conquistadors was incidental–a function of different immune systems that made the common cold and other common ailments the most effective technology of massive genocide–we are convinced that the technology now being produced deliberately by companies such as Plant Sciences (with their strawberries spliced with e. coli) will have similar unintended impacts, as GE plant pollens invade and ravage the autonomy of the untampered species.
We take it as our duty to defend that autonomy through strategic economic sabotage.