Press Release from High Mowing Farms

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2009

Local Seed Company Wins Lawsuit Against Genetically Engineered Crops

High Mowing Organic Seeds, a mail-order organic seed company based in Wolcott, Vermont announced today that it has won its nearly 20 month lawsuit against the USDA for the premature deregulation of Monsanto’s genetically engineered sugar beets. Additional plaintiffs include the Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance and the Sierra Club and were represented in addition, by Earth Justice attorneys. The groups filed the lawsuit in January 2008.

High Mowing’s founder and President, Tom Stearns says, “This ruling is a success not just for organic farmers but for all who have hope for a healthier food system in this country. All wise solutions to our agricultural challenges should serve our physical health, environmental health and the economic viability of farmers and the communities in which they live.”

The U.S. District Court for the northern district of California ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) violated federal law by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement before deregulating genetically altered sugar beets.

Monsanto developed the biotech beets to be resistant to Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide Roundup, and promotes the sugarbeets as "Roundup Ready."

In 2009, 1.1 million acres were planted with GMO sugar beets and almost half of the sugar in the U.S. is made from beets.

Recently, the USDA has shown great signs of progress in support of local and organic food by elevating the National Organic Program to its own division and just yesterday, hiring Miles McEvoy as its head. The USDA, headed by Sec. Vilsack and Deputy Sec. Merrigan have also been making important announcements for the last week as they kick-off their new campaign, Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. Stearns believes that these are critical and substantial changes within the department and “that a tipping point has been reached and that the USDA is now becoming part of the solution to re-building healthy food systems in this country.”

High Mowing is just one of dozens of farms and agricultural businesses in the Hardwick, Vermont region that have been collaborating with each other for many years. The NY Times, Gourmet Magazine, Eating Well Magazine and authors Michael Pollan, Bill McKibben, Sen. Patrick Leahy and many others have declared the region as a national model for healthy food systems and building economic development through value-added agriculture. In mid-September, camera crews and Chef Emeril Legasse and Dan Rather Reports filmed many activities of the region for their upcoming shows on healthy food systems.

For more information contact:
Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds
802-472-6174 ext. 114

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