The SOD Organic Agriculture Protection Fund Committee
Organic farmers in Saskatchewan have already suffered the adverse consequences of genetically engineered canola, which was first marketed by Monsanto (RoundUp Ready canola) and Aventis (Liberty Link canola) in 1996. By 1998 virtually every organic farmer who had been growing canola had taken it out of their crop rotations because they could not guarantee their crop had not been contaminated by the genetically engineered varieties. Losing canola was bad enough, but losing wheat would be a mortal blow.
So, in the fall of 2001 the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate decided to prepare for a class action lawsuit against Monsanto and Aventis. On October 12, SOD launched the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund (SOD OAPF) to pay the expenses for the class action lawsuit on behalf of all certified organic grain farmers in Saskatchewan.
The fund will also pay for OAPF administration and lobbying, office and committee time, travel, meetings, banking, communication, stationary and postage. Contributions to the SOD OAPF are not used to run the regular office and other functions of the SOD; SOD members' fees and other funding sources and donations support these activities.
The OAPF Committee consists of plaintiff Larry Hoffman, Arnold Taylor, President of SOD and Chair of the Committee, organic farmers Marc Loiselle, Mike Kasper, Norm Bromm and Doug Bone, and environmentalist Cathy Holtslander. Key people in the organic community are advisors to the Committee. Lester Wyatt is the Fund's administrator.
The OAPF Committee has articulated its Vision, Mission and Goals, and has established a strategy, budget and a timeline for fundraising - in effect, a business plan for the class action suit. We expect that this action will take a minimum of three years, will cost over $300,000 and require hundreds of hours of volunteer time. Thus we need to reach out to all players in the organic industry in order to pay for the legal, lobbying and administrative costs associated with this major undertaking.
The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) is the umbrella organisation that unites the province's producers, processors, buyers, traders, certifiers and consumers of certified organic food and fibre. It is incorporated as a non-profit membership organisation. SOD's mission is "To champion the development of organic agriculture in a democratic manner." Our vision is "Food for Life."
SOD is not a registered charity but receipts will be issued for every donation. A complete accounting of contributions received and expenses incurred is maintained. Any surplus monies remaining in the fund at the end of the court action will be given to a recognised charity selected by SOD.
- Arnold Taylor, Kenaston, SK
- Larry Hoffman, Spalding, SK
- Marc Loiselle, Vonda, SK
- Doug Bone, Elrose, SK
- Michael Kasper, Colonsay, SK
- Norm Bromm, Tisdale, SK
- Jennifer Bromm, Tisdale, SK
- Cathy Holtslander, Saskatoon, SK
Advisors to the Committee
- Mary Beckie, Saskatoon, SK
- Neil Strayer, Belle Plaine, SK
- Gary Smith, Saskatoon, SK
- Wally Hamm, Saskatoon, SK