More than a dozen Langley residents rallied outside MP Mark Warawa's office April 9 to oppose the planting of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada.
April 9 was a day of action organized by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN).
Bobbie Blair, the organizer of the loose group of local activists taking part in Tuesday's event, said she wants to raise awareness.
If more people knew about the issues around genetically modified foods, they would be more engaged with the issue, she said.
The concerns the local protestors, and CBAN, has with genetically modified alfalfa are twofold.
First, they worry that it will make its way into the organic farming food chain by being eaten by cattle.
Manure from those cows would then be unsuitable for organic farming, which must be GMO free.
Another reason for the issue is the fear that GM alfalfa will cross-fertilize with organic alfalfa in nearby fields.
Arnold Taylor, a farmer from Kennaston, Sask. was at the protest. A decade ago he was part of a group of farmers that tried unsuccessfully to sue Monsanto over the same issue with regards to canola.
"There's no organic canola anymore, not in the Prairies," Taylor said. "We're concerned the same thing's going to happen in alfalfa."
Warawa spoke to Blair outside the office about her concerns.
Blair met many of the other local protestors through screenings of environmentally themed movies, and through the website of the Society for a G.E. Free B.C.
The modified Roundup Ready alfalfa was developed by Monsanto, maker of the weedkiller Roundup, in 2005. A series of challenges to its use, and court injunctions, kept it out of farmers' fields in the United States until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Monsanto's favour in 2010. The crop has been widely planted south of the border since 2011.
Roundup Ready crops allow heavier use of weed-killer and require less use of mechanical weed removal.
Protestors argue that alfalfa does not have a significant weed problem and doesn't need additional Roundup.
In Canada, the modified alfalfa has been approved since 2005, but there is no distributor for the seed as yet.
While many protestors raise concerns about the effects of modified foods on human health, studies have yet to find evidence of physical harm.
@ Copyright 2013