On May 26th, 52 countries witnessed “March Against Monsanto” protests. Genetically modified food is sold in the U.S. without labeling, even though 61 countries in the world require labeling and 19 countries (including Italy, Austria, France and the UK) have outright or partial bans against genetically modified foods and crops.
I believe I have the right to know what I’m buying and eating (organic dairy farmer – surprise surprise). As a poli sci geek, I’m not new to being politically active. That said, I’ve never actually taken place in a protest march. I had a host of excuses for why I couldn’t go. But of course I found myself rolling out of bed at 6am on a Saturday morning to drive to Eau Claire and take part.
My mom, my sister Erika, and the little brothers Danny and Baby John went as well. Mom wasn’t sure if we should force Danny and Baby John to take part in a protest march. I pointed out that when you’re only 4-years old and a 1-year you don’t get a choice about anything period. So the poor guys were exploited.
The Facebook group said to meet outside the courthouse in Eau Claire. We did and got a picture with the official banner.
We hung out for a while as we waited for people to show up. Community members made signs, chatted, and ran after crazy little boys (Oh, wait, that was me…). Danny began to enjoy his exploitation and starting posing from a pillar…scaring my mom, and inspiring Baby John and another little boy to try their hand at hurting themselves.
I finally had to join to supervise.
The little boys were getting tired of waiting for the march to start. Then a lady tried to make Baby John be a butterfly and made him cry. She tried to get Danny to be a butterfly but he told her – “NO! I’m a cowboy! See?! I have cowboy boots!” and ran away.
We finally started marching! I was impressed to see over 100 people joined the march. That is lot for a city the size of Eau Claire. It was readily apparent that we were passionate but inexperienced activists. We were not sure how to react to traffic lights. Our parade of people was separated a few times when half stopped at a red light and the other half did not. On the whole we were a pretty happy crowd. We tried chanting, but as we seemed to be mostly polite Midwesterners, our chanting died away pretty quickly. We did, however, say hello and good afternoon to all the people we met.
People were pretty creative with their outfits. There were also some tambourines to cheer us along. One young man decided to burn sage the whole way. It was a great creative gesture, but it didn’t smell that great.
We marched around for a bit and then made our way to a park. Almost. Danny had enough of the march early on so Erika had to take him back to the truck. She then made sure to drive past us several times honking encouragingly while Danny waved out the window. Yes, we bring our own crowds.
The finish line was in sight when Baby John decided to throw in the towel. He collapsed on a lawn in a puddle of tears.
Having done our best, we drove to the Just Local Food Co-op and got him a cookie.