Jim Gerritsen: The Price of Democracy From Seed Patents to the TPP

 Jim Gerritsen, Owner of Wood Prairie Farm and President of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (“OSGATA”), understands much about the law and how democracy is supposed to work. He shares with us today the process that he, as lead plaintiff, and others experienced during a three-year lawsuit where he and 280,000 other plaintiffs sued one of the most distrusted corporations in the world, Monsanto! Jim articulates how the laws SHOULD work in a society that is SUPPOSED  to have a democratic system. Democracy was not experienced in the OSGATA, et al. vs. Monsanto Corporation lawsuit. He explained the partial victory that was achieved through this lawsuit and what it means to organic farmers and what could have been had the Supreme Court heard the case.

Gerritsen shared important information on the Public Trust Doctrine which goes all the way back to 1215 and the Magna Carta and how the patenting of the commons (seeds) is in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine. He recommends an important book which details information about this Doctrine by Mary Wood called Nature’s Trust.

 We talked about GMOs and the substantial equivalence policy  (which was adopted in 1992 during President George Herbert Walker Bush and Vice-President Dan Quayle’s term) where it was decided that GMOs were substantially equivalent to their non-GMO counterparts–which was not based on any science or testing, but clearly just a political ploy to introduce the untested GMOs into the marketplace. It basically amounted to GMOs and their counterpart Non-GMOs looking the same!

 Gerristen explained the urgency for all Americans to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”)  and strongly encouraged individuals to contact their representatives about the TPP to advise them to reject this secret trade agreement. He states:

“The secret trade agreement reeks of the sink of political corruption and corporate intimidation. I can’t argue strongly enough what a terrible idea this is and I strongly encourage people to contact their representative in Congress and tell them to oppose the TPP”

 He further shared his thoughts on the Dark Act Pompeo Bill (H.R. 4432) that if passed, would pre-empt any State labeling initiatives for mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Gerritsen is articulate and passionate about democracy in this country and explains how that democracy is being denied through corporate greed and influence. You won’t want to miss this powerful and insightful interview! Click on the link at the bottom of the page to listen:


Learn more about the TPP
Sign the Petition to Oppose the TPP
Find your State Representative
Sign the Petition to Oppose the Dark Act
Wood Prairie Farm

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  1. Thank you, Carol and Jim Gerristen.

    For those interested, see active work by FLOW Flow for Love of Water http://www.flowforwater.org on a number of real world applications of the public trust doctrine. In its broadest sense, as a special branch of commons custom and legal principles, the public trust doctrine acts as a limitation on those things that are beyond the reach of privatization or exclusive private control The principles in public trust law operate as an umbrella, whether it’s patents, water privatization, or trade laws. One of our projects has involved using public trust principles as background to NAFTA to insulate water and the Great Lakes from NAFTA or trade law claims. See our website for research and law review articles. And, yes, see Professor Woods Nature’s Trust. Jim Olson

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