OAPF Committee Report - October 2002
The last few months have been a very exciting and interesting time for the OAPF Committee. We were pleased to welcome Bob Willick as our newest member. He joins chair Arnold Taylor and committee members Marc Loiselle, Cathy Holtslander, Doug Bone, Larry Hoffman, Norm Bromm and Mike Kasper.
We have had two court dates, on June 26th and again on September 25th when we argued that Monsanto and Aventis (Bayer) should have to produce their defences prior to the Class Action Certification Application. The Court of Appeal has reserved their judgement. Regardless of the ruling, we intend to proceed with the Class Action Application as soon as possible.
We have also been busy fundraising and lobbying. In mid-June Ulrike Brendel of Greenpeace Germany toured Saskatchewan organic operations and joined local organic farmers and OAPF members at a barbeque at the Taylor farm.
Arnold attended a GM wheat panel in Missoula, Montana as part of the counter to the G8 summit. Doug Bone also attended a similar Anti-G8 summit in Calgary. Marc and Anita Loiselle, and Hart Haidn were guests of Greenpeace Germany in an anti-GMO tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The highlight of our summer was our attendance at the IFOAM World Congress in Victoria at the end of August. In addition to a major presentation in a GM wheat panel facilitated by Ann Clark of the University of Guelph, Arnold also took part in a radio talk show on organic production. Arnold and Cathy attended an IFOAM committee meeting to review IFOAM's GMO position. They also had an opportunity to pass the hat at a plenary session chaired and endorsed by Gunnar Rundgren, President of IFOAM.
Another major event of the fall was Arnold's participation as a guest of the British Soil Association in their "Seeds of Doubt" report launch in London, England on September 17th. In addition to sponsoring OAPF member attendance at these events in Europe, the Soils Association and Greenpeace have both committed funds towards the legal action. All of these events were valuable in raising our International profile and credibility.
In October, we hosted visitors working with Oxfam in Nicaragua and with Friends of the Earth International in Brussels.
Marc, Arnold and Debbie have also had numerous interview and information requests.
Financially, we are operating under budget. We would like to thank all those who have already contributed and we would urge everyone to seriously consider donating according to their means. Although we are getting some financial support from International groups and organizations, our ultimate success will depend on the support and contributions of Saskatchewan organic farmers. We would like to especially thank Growers International, OCIA and Bio-Suisse for their generous contributions. We'd also like to thank darWall Consultants Inc. for their work on the statistical analysis as part of their contribution.
We are looking forward in the next few months to reaching our goal of having the organic farmers of Saskatchewan certified as a class.