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South Florida’s Battle Against Monsanto

Anti-Monsanto mural in Wynwood, South Florida. Photo: Mario DIaz

The battle against greedy, power-hungry corporations and their choke-hold on the foods we eat continues in one of the reddest states in the country: Florida. The good news is that there is a new, progressive awakening happening in Miami that is birthing a new wave of resistance through information and activism.

Meet Nicole Sauvageau, a Miami progressive who has been organizing the 5th annual March Against Monsanto that is taking place this Saturday, May 20, 2017 in Miami. Though she has attended all the other past marches as a participant, this is the first time she has ever organized for it.

Activist Nicole Sauvageau working on a sign for this weekend’s March Against Monsanto. Photo: Mario Diaz

Nicole, who was involved in the Bernie Sanders campaign here in South Florida, says she is compelled to always seek justice. And what initially inspired her to follow Bernie’s movement, which she invested quite a bit of time and money into (she went to Philadelphia twice), led her to getting involved with the South Florida Green Party, which is not only a political party, but an activist group deeply entrenched in many environmental issues in Florida, including the Sabal Pipeline and the privatization of North Miami Beach’s water utility, among others.

Activist Nicole Sauvageau. Photo: Mario Diaz

“I’ve also been involved in the food and beverage industry for over 26 years,” said Nicole. “And when I first started, I never noticed so many food allergies. But as time went on, I’ve noticed more and more cases of food sensitivities to wheats and nuts. So when I started doing research, it led me to the source of our food, and I noticed that what has changed in the past 20 years is how we approach agriculture.”

And that’s no coincidence. Specifically in Florida, there are quite a few farms, many of which use Monsanto seeds, and use Roundup as their pesticide of choice.

Want a quick review of the history of Monsanto? Check this video:

You see, it’s not really the gene manipulation technology Monsanto uses that is inherently harmful. It’s the fact that the manipulated gene specifically makes the crop immune to Roundup, which is a Monsanto-produced pesticide that not only kills insects that might eat the crops, but weeds as well. This allows farmers and Monsanto to make a large profit in savings from space and fewer pest-damaged products, simply by spraying the fuck out of their crops with Roundup.

You know what’s NOT immune to Roundup? Humans.

That’s right, while this combination sounds like an innovative solution on paper, the effects of Roundup on human beings is not only devastating, it’s also a main focus of Monsanto’s legal teams as they try to fight against lawsuits from people who allege that they got CANCER from to exposure of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup. In 2015, the World Health Organization deemed glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, but alarmingly, it is still used with GMO crops and used as a ripening agent on wheat, nuts, seeds etc.

According to EcoWatch and CommonDreams.org, there has been a large effort from Monsanto to make sure that no scientific study of Roundup ever gets used against them in some of these cases (Monsanto is currently facing more than 700 lawsuits in regards to Roundup health issues). For example:

  • Field worker Enrique Rubio developed bone cancer after being exposed to Roundup (Case No. 2:15-cv-7426)
  • Aaron Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after Roundup exposure on a macadamia farm and his own property (Case 1:16-cv-00075-ACK-RLP)
  • Anthony McCall died of complications of lymphoma after Roundup exposure (Case 2:16-cv-01609)
  • Yolanda Mendoza was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup once a week on her property

But how was Monsanto even allowed to use that shit in the first place? BECAUSE MONEY IN POLITICS, that’s why. More specifically, COLLUSION between them and the EPA. They have the money to buy power and influence. Not only that, but Monsanto has invested quite a lot of money in anti-labeling campaigns for GMO products. Here’s just a few examples:

Monsanto Anti-Labeling Contributions:

NO ON 92 COALITION$5,958,750
NO ON 522$5,374,484

That way, people like you and me won’t be able to make INFORMED DECISIONS ON THE FOOD WE FEED TO OUR FAMILIES.

And their oppressive power chokehold doesn’t end there. You know how I mentioned that a lot of farmers use Monsanto GMO seeds for their crops? Guess what happens when the wind or a bee accidentally pollinates one of your ORGANIC crops with a Monsanto crop: your ass gets sued to hell.

Anti-Monsanto mural, Wynwood, South Florida.

That’s right, Monsanto’s modified seeds have legal patents. If you get caught growing some accidental hybrid with a Monsanto strain, you might as well burn your entire crop down or face the wrath of Monsanto’s multi-million dollar legal team. Why? Well, in 2013 they got the thumbs up from the Supreme Court to do it because, like I said before, MONEY IN POLITICS.

But, in my opinion, the award for most corrupt arm of Monsanto goes to its propaganda team. The most recent example being Bill Nye The Science Guy’s new Netflix show, in which he conveniently fails to mention ANY of the above concerns. Instead, he has some guy make a segment about people not knowing what the ‘O’ in GMO stands for, because what better way to push back concerns than to make some dumb ass gotcha’ joke?

“Bill Nye is the Rachel Maddow of science,” added Nicole Sauvageau, who doesn’t watch TV, but is very familiar with Monsanto’s straw-grasping spins and propaganda. “For him to be in denial of the effects of the GMO industry, must mean he has some deep ties to his pockets. Frankly, it is anti-science to pay your own ‘in-house scientists’ to tell the world their products are safe!”

Nye, who was originally anti-GMO, made a complete 180 on the matter after he “went to Monsanto and spent a lot of time with the scientists there.” The original copy of his book, Undeniable, even emphasized that, “if you’re asking me, we should stop introducing genes from one species into another,” because “we just can’t know what will happen to other species in that modified species’ ecosystem.” Guess not even science is immune to the temptation of money.

Robert Farley, EVP & CTO of Monsanto, with Bill Nye. Source: Monsanto

Bill Nye, seen here chilling with his good buddy Robert Falley, Monsanto EVP and CTO, thinks that poking fun at some people who don’t know the ‘O’ in GMO will make you minimize the real concerns people have with Monsanto, and how they strong-arm the agricultural industry while giving people CANCER for their own profits. They pass off the narrative that only irrational hippies have problems with GMOs and that any rebuttal to that is simply anti-science.

However, what people DEMAND is the LABELING of these products so that human beings and their families have the liberty to CHOOSE the food they ingest. Wouldn’t that be nice? Having the ability to decide whether or not to feed your family something that DIDN’T give people cancer?

“Knowing the dangers of glyphosate, we need to BAN glyphosate from being sprayed in schools, parks, public spaces!” added Nicole.

That’s what the March Against Monsanto is all about. Nicole told me they are expecting about 600+ people in Miami to march in solidarity against the misery inflicted by Monsanto, its agricultural practices and its legal bullying.

And because activists not only work hard, they PARTY hard too, a whole range of music groups, organizations and artists have come together to host an after-party in Wynwood after the march. Promising a night of good music, food and speakers; including Reverend Billy Talen, a radical performance artist.

Murals in Wynwood, South Florida

I’m urging all progressives to stand up, reject the faux-science pivot and join your LOCAL March Against Monsanto for the sake of our health. And if you can’t make it, you can still vote with your wallet (and fork), by supporting local farmers, support organic and non-GMO project labels, avoid at-risk crops or even grow your own food. But most importantly, SHARE this with your friends!


  1. Great article! So glad you highlighted Nicole. She has worked hard on this for months. Wanted to add that Monsanto’s Jerry Crawford worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She took money from Monsanto, Big Oil and Coal, the prison Lobby, Big Sugar…could make an interesting follow up.

  2. Glad you called out the Bill Nye Netflix show. When I started watching, it had a feeling distinctly reminiscent of Penn & Teller’s BS as far as snarky bias, but by episode 2 it was clear he was going the all-or-nothing route to make specific points without any real discussion or nuance of the issues as a whole. That’s not science, that’s how snake oil salesmen work. It’s how politicians and lobbyists and our corporate overlords work. It was frelling gross to see Bill Nye doing for Monsanto what Obama did in Flint – it’s fine, it’s fine, go back to sleep. Ugh.

  3. You very consistently tied the media, legislative, and regulatory support for GMO’s to money. Thanks for showing how institutionally Monsanto gets away with harming our health and our planet.

    I can’t help but add that Clinton pushed GMO’s (and fracking) while she was Secretary of State. There is no doubt a long history of collusion between Monsanto and the Democratic Party as Monsanto executives contaminate Democratic administrations before heading back to Monsanto.

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