On Tuesday, March 29, NOFA Vermont joined dozens of farmers, seed producers, agricultural businesses and non-profit organizations across the country and Canada, as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Monsanto Corporation. The suit challenges the validity of the chemical giant’s patents on a number of its genetically engineered (GE) crops. It also asks the court to prevent Monsanto from continuing its unwarranted and damaging patent infringement lawsuits against farmers and others for alleged patent infringements when their organic and non-GE fields and crops become contaminated by Monsanto’s GE crops. The suit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in federal district court in Manhattan by patent attorney Dan Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation, a not-for-profit legal services organization affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan.NOFA Vermont welcomed the opportunity to join the suit. ‘Monsanto’s patents on GE corn, canola, cotton, soybeans and, most recently, alfalfa, not only give it the power to intimidate Vermont’s non-GE and organic farmers and threaten their markets and livelihoods’, said Dave Rogers, NOFA’s Policy Advisor, ‘but their patents have enabled Monsanto to gain alarming economic and political power to control the development of American and global agricultural and food systems, as well as to influence the opinions and decisions of politicians, government regulators and research institutions. As a result, they have been able to thwart objective investigations of mounting evidence of serious negative environmental, agricultural, economic and public health effects of their GE crops.’ Such negative impacts, the lawsuit argues, provide the legal basis under Patent Law for invalidation of Monsanto’s patents. A copy of the suit and related information can be found on NOFA Vermont’s webpage ‘ www.nofavt.org(link is external).About NOFAVermont: NOFA Vermont is member-based organization working to grow local farms, healthy food, and strong communities in Vermont. Our members are farmers, gardeners, educators and food lovers of all sorts ‘ anyone who wants to help us create a future full of local food and local farms. Our programs include farmer and gardener technical assistance, farm to school support, organic certification, advocacy, an online apprentice and farm worker directory, an annual Winter Conference, and programs that work to ensure access to fresh, local food to all Vermonters, regardless of income.