Excerpt from the book “Unstoppable Love” by Zen Honeycutt to be released in 2015
Note: The following account and conversations are conveyed to my best recollection without having listened to the recording. Those who have listened to it and read my blog say my account is "very accurate". Please feel free to listen for yourself and help transcribe it. Email me at [email protected] I speak once at 27:00 minutes on the proxy and three other times for Q&A, at 52:00 minutes, 1:14, and 1:27. Here is the link for the recording.
Scientific studies can be found at www.momsacrossamerica.com/data
This is from the rally before speaking inside the shareholder meeting.
The sounds of the boisterous rally crowd faded behind me in the distance as I walked toward building A of Monsanto Headquarters in St. Louis Missouri for the shareholder meeting. The security stationed on the perimeter of the property, without a word between us, relayed my pending arrival to the headquarters, “Ms. Honeycutt approaching building A”. The staff inside also knew me by name and greeted me cordially. After a thorough security check and receiving my “Shareowner” sticker, I was escorted to a conference room where Lisa from SumofUs was also sitting. Why I was being sequestered in a room instead of being brought to the conference room? As if reading my mind, the security person explained that the conference room wasn’t ready yet. Still I thought it odd that I was not able to be in a hallway or near other shareholders.
Several minutes later, a woman walked in and said “I am Zen’s host”, looking right at me. I soon learned that “handler” would have been a better term for her. The staff were prepared. Around 12:50, we were joined by a few other shareholders, (apparently the room really was not ready). There was another “host” for Lisa who made sure to steer the conversation cheerily to where people are from.
My host was a Mom of a 14 and 10 year old boys, a 19 year employee and a “Monsanto brat”. Her father worked at Monsanto for 35 years. At 1:00 we were escorted to the conference room and along the way she made a concerted effort to engage in conversation. As we passed the cafeteria however, I stopped the chit chat about our son’s sports and asked her if the cafeteria serves organic food. She seemed to expect the question and immediately answered, “Only if no other source is available. For instance sometimes the only mixed greens or spinach available is organic. Otherwise it is all conventional, and when Sweet Corn is in season we have GMO Sweet Corn and it is fabulous.” As much as I wanted to, I did not comment.
We had entered the shareholder meeting room. It was a huge room with a small stage at front, columns along the edges, media along the sides and refreshments in the back. Approximately 800 people were in the room and when it came time to start, every seat was filled. I was brought to the middle of the room where there was a wide aisle. I chose to sit directly in line with Hugh Grant’s chair on the stage and behind the microphone. I was assuming she would leave me there with Lisa but no, she sat down beside me, and as she did so, my hopes of leaving my phone on and turning on the recording or video disappeared. We had received a notice as we drove in explaining exactly what would be allowed and not allowed in the room and that recording, including with our cell phones, was forbidden. I was reminded again before the meeting and again as the meeting started. So as much as I wanted to share this experience with our supporters, I chose not to invite a lawsuit or further trouble. Later, with great disappointment, I turned my phone off when requested and I could sense my handler relax beside me.
As we waited, Dan a pediatrician, introduced himself to me. He shared he has left comments on my Facebook page and we had a lively exchange about how glyphosate being a chelator is not of concern to him. He even insisted that glyphosate does not harm us because we don't have a shikimate pathway. I replied, "but our gut bacteria does, and without our gut bacteria we don't have an immune system" He said something about having plenty of gut bacteria... and then said we had to agree to disagree. Another gentleman, who ended up being the only other person on stage with Hugh Grant, introduced himself. I noticed that these men were curious and seemed to be looking for some sort of fear from me. I would not comply. I was clear and glad to be there.
Before the meeting began my host let me know that Hugh Grant would likely come introduce himself to me. He did. I stood and automatically reached my hand out to shake the hand of the CEO of the “Most Evil Company in the World” and said “Nice to meet you, ” with a small smile. The look in my eye however said something completely different. My eyes said, “I am not afraid of you. I am here to do business and you will listen to me. Bring it on.”
I felt a shift of energy in the room and I sensed many of the eyes in the room were watching us. They knew who I was and they were wondering what we were saying This is how it feels, I thought, when two generals meet in the center of field and talk before battle.
He was slightly taller than I, staunch stature, not very good skin (a clear sign of compromised health) and of calm but commanding presence. He said, “Thank you for coming, we are glad you are here.” The look in his eye was very distant and cool, almost nonexistent, but I read his gaze as, “I am putting up with you.”
I said “I am glad to be here, and I am thankful for the opportunity, especially to John Harrington. “ He said “You know after all these years I have never met Mr. Harrington.”
"Interesting." I thought…. enough of the small talk. I will not be charmed by your heavy Scottish accent.
I said, “You know Mr. Grant, I look forward to the future where Monsanto moves in a new direction, one that does not involve toxic chemicals and hurting our children.” He said something like “Well, we will take strides to move forward and it will always be based on science. And I think we have done a good job in engaging in conversation. ”
Ha! I thought, you mean your TV commercials about having a conversation that invaded my living room and made me want to punch the TV?
I looked him straight in the eye and said firmly, “We have science to show that Monsanto’s products are hurting our children, sound science. If you are wrong, think about the consequences, they are huge.”
He said “And if you are wrong you are scaring an awful lot of people.”
I responded “And the consequences for them are that they are eating organic, like food used to be. There was nothing wrong with how food used to be.”
Then I lowered my voice just a bit and looked deeper into his eyes. “You know it takes a big man to make such a big and powerful company but it takes and even bigger man to acknowledge when it is not working and change direction. “
He looked taken aback for the tiniest moment. I said, “I implore you, mothers implore you to change direction.” He shifted his eyes away from me. “We appreciate you being here” and he nodded at his assistant who was beckoning him away.
Many will call me naïve for thinking that speaking with him will change anything. Many might be outright angered. But I was raised by a mother who chooses to see the good in everything. Now I am not saying there is good in Hugh Grant, but there is a desire to appear good. He is extremely brilliant and strategic and he knows it does not look good to appear to not care about doing good. So if one can speak to him on the level of finding a way to appear to be doing good, he will be interested. In fact people can be compelled to do good simply because it looks bad to not do good and they never have to actually be interested in doing good. So, if you follow me, please know that I intended to appeal to the concept of goodness being done. I do not expect Hugh Grant to be good. I do expect him to do what is right for the sake of the future of his company and their profits. I planned to share with the shareholders a myriad of ways in which Monsanto’s products were hurting children and people and therefore were not a method of business which should continue. The goodness in the shareholders will pressure Monsanto to change ways. I am sure of this in my bones.
The meeting started at 1:30 with the expected video about how great Monsanto is. “Working with farmers to provide sustainable agriculture, helping to nourish an ever growing world…” it took everything I had not to stand up and yell “YOU LIE!”
As I listened to Hugh Grant introduce several farmers from the Midwest that they had flown in for a visit, I wished I could talk to each and everyone of them personally and share what I know. Then I realized I would be able to. This was an opportunity to speak directly to some of the largest farmers in the country, not just shareholders, and my excitement increased ten fold. I could not believe I had actually made it in the room and was going to speak. I was so grateful to John Harrington!
Before I spoke there was other business to attend to. They re elected the same board of directors, they discussed electing Deloitte and Touche as their accounting firm and someone talked about how great Monsanto was doing, then it was time to address the referendums. Lisa from SumOfUs got up and asked a question about conflict of interest. Hugh Grant is on the board of PG&E and members of PG&E are on the committee that helps to decide his salary. Surely this is a conflict of interest? He replied that the salaries are recommended by a third party of professionals and so no there was no conflict. Next, a ninety something year old woman with stark white hair and a red suit spoke on behalf of a referendum to disclose Monsanto’s lobbying efforts. I admired her commitment. There were no comments after she spoke and Hugh Grant advised the shareholders to vote no because “we are leaders of transparency in the field.” I imagined a chorus of laughter from our supporters. He told them which page to turn to vote and they did.
I was next. Hugh Grant introduced me. This is it, I thought. I went to the microphone took a breath and began:
“My name is Zen Honeycutt and I am representing John Harrington of Harrington Investments. We are asking for shareholder support for Item No. 5, Shareowner Proxy Access—an essential mechanism for accountability supported by institutional investors and the SEC.
As the founder of Moms Across America, I speak on behalf of millions of mothers.
1 out of 2 children in America today have a chronic illness such as asthma, allergies, autism, autoimmune disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. All of these conditions and more can be directly linked to GMOs and Glyphosate--to Monsanto’s products.
I am here to say on behalf of struggling parents, STOP POISONING our children! Glyphosate—a patented antibiotic—has been detected in the air, water, food, our children’s urine, our breast milk, Fruit Loops and in nutrients fed to children with cancer, at levels THOUSANDS of times higher than what has been shown to destroy GUT BACTERIA—where 70% of the immune system lies.
Shareholder’s must know that: Without proper gut bacteria our bodies cannot make Tryptophan, Melatonin or Serotonin. Serotonin regulates insulin—and therefore diabetes, which is on course to bankrupt US Healthcare in 13 years.
Without serotonin and melatonin, our bodies cannot prevent insomnia, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. 57.7 million American have mental illness today.
When the gut bacteria is destroyed, food particles and pathogens escape through the intestines, causing allergies and autoimmune diseases. Allergy ER visits have increased 265% since GMOs.
Glyphosate is a:
DNA mutagen and cell disintegrator allowing toxins into the brain,
A chelator, causing mineral deficiency and the inability to fight cancer,
An endocrine disruptor, causing infertility, sterility, miscarriages and birth defects.
I am submitting hundreds of testimonials from mothers describing what Monsanto products are doing to their children and showing our children get better when they get off GMOs and glyphosate.
I submit studies and papers today showing how glyphosate impacts the gut brain connection, leading to Parkinson’s, Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Alzheimer's, Celiac’s and Autism and more. Based on our current diagnosis, we can expect that in 20 years, 50% of our children born will get autism.
I understand no one wants to believe this is true, but has anyone on this Board seen and read the newest studies and reports?
What if the very investments shareholders are making to BUILD a foundation of security for our children and grandchildren are the same investments which are DESTROYING their future? What if instead of creating health and prosperity, you are causing ECONOMIC RUIN?
What if instead trying to help feed millions of people with GMOs, you are in fact hurting GENERATIONS TO COME?
Mothers say, STOP IT. STOP IT NOW.
You can make a difference that will alter the future of YOUR family and OUR Country. Access and vote a pediatrician onto this board. Have the courage to create a new future for Monsanto and America. Thank you.”
As I turned to sit I looked around. I felt all eyes on me. I felt my face looked serious and maybe slightly angry, slightly emotional. I was aware that other presentors might be able to look cool and detached. I was not. I was in it full throttle. I am passionate. I will allow my concern and commitment to show. I think it is one of my greatest strengths. I love my kids and I want all kids to be able to be well. My emotion fuels me.
Hugh Grant said exactly what I thought he would say, that the issues I raised were not actually pertaining to the Shareholder Access Proxy and that the shareholders would be advised to turn to the proxy description and vote according to the topic of the referendum. He said that he would address my concerns later in the Q&A. He advised the shareholders to vote no, because basically things are fine as they are, everyone voted and we moved on. I did not expect it to pass. Tracy from Harrington Investment had shared that it had support and it had a chance of passing, but I have to admit I didn’t expect that it would pass at all. My body was buzzing with energy as I wondered what I would ask next. I knew this was my one chance to cover some topics that I had not covered in the previous three minutes.
Lisa from SumOfUs got up and made her presentation about separating the position of CEO and Chairman of the Board as two separate people, not one, not Hugh Grant as both. It was of course totally rational and clearly should be adopted. Hugh Grant advised the shareholders not pass the referendum, because basically things are fine as they are. The shareholders voted.
Next an employee shared about how great Monsanto is doing. He and Hugh Grant repeatedly mentioned their commitment to feed people and I knew that I needed to address that in the form of a question.
I had not prepared questions because my husband said I had a habit of over preparing. “Be in the moment” he said. “Your preparation for that part should be to not prepare. Listen to what is being said and ask questions based on what needs to be put in.”
Before Q&A however it was time to hear the results of the vote.
Hugh Grant read the results of the referendums…the accounting referendum passed with 97% yes, the lobbying one only had 24% yes and did not pass. Then… the Shareholder Access Proxy got a 53% yes and therefore passed. I felt an actual pat on my back and I turned and saw smiling faces. The shareholders had passed it! And they were smiling at me. Amazing! Astounding. I felt myself choke up and tears welled up in my eyes. I put my face in my hands and took a deep breath. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I did not hear the results of the Chairman/CEO referendum, but it did not pass. I looked at Lisa and she said “Great Job.” I knew the credit primarily belonged to the investment group, John Harrington and especially Tracy Geraghty’s work. She made sure it was approved by the SEC and investment institutions To be a small part of the process, to be able to feel like I made a difference, was pure joy in the face of great adversity.
Then it was Q&A time. I rose to my feet as soon as he invited people to come to the microphone. I was nervous. I didn’t know exactly what I would say and I didn’t have a plan for the whole three minutes, but I had to bring up the “feeding the world” issue.
So I asked, from what I can remember, “You have said many times that you are committed to feeding the world. It is a noble cause, I understand that. But there are wonderful farmers like Will Allen in Wisconsin who grows 1 million pounds of food on three acres every year, through Aquaponics, ( fish and veggies) both a protein and vegetables. Without toxic chemicals and without hurting the soil. If Monsanto is truly committed to feeding the world, why aren’t you supporting programs like this?
He responded, basically that Monsanto is implementing all kinds of methods and that they are continually innovating etc. He said that they are also not the only agriculture company, that there are many other systems and we need all of them. He mentioned the soil and their newest research is in microbes in the soil and their benefits. I was aware that they bought a company in 2013 called Novozymes, which focus on soil microbes. This was bad, and I felt it in my gut. Here is a corporation that had damaged the soil with their toxic chemicals and they were now going to try to profit from repairing it. I had heard this was true and wanted to hear it from him. So I asked him “Are you planning on patenting microbes in the soil?”
Without actually saying yes, he basically described that yes, they were researching the soil microbes and how they can alter them to enhance the performance of the soil to benefit the farmers. My head was spinning. I remember him saying something about how many companies have patented the bacteria for instance, in yogurt, that it was quite common and widely accepted. I was so mad I didn’t have an immediate question or comment and he rambled on about my previous comments during the proxy statement about children. He declared that Roundup has been used for 40 years and there is not one linked to harm. I interrupted and said “That’s what they said about DDT and PCB’s” He looked at me firmly, obviously annoyed. I had broken the rule stated on the agenda not to interrupt. He continued without commenting on my comment. He talked about Germany and how they have continually conducted reviews and reapproved glyphosate for 40 years. He claimed over and over again that Roundup was safe.
I said, “Actually the EPA does not have one single safety study showing the safety of Roundup. Not one. It only has 40 year old studies of glyphosate, not of ALL of the chemical ingredients showing harm.”
He interjected that I had jumped topics and that we were addressing the children and that other people needed to ask questions. I could come back and ask another question after we gave them a turn. I was frustrated, there was so much more I could say about the Seralini study that did test for Roundup and showed sex hormone changes, liver and kidney damage at 0.1ppb of Roundup, the fact that all the studies were done by Monsanto, there were no studies funded by independent sources…I silently (and I hope not too obviously) fumed as I sat down. I want to remain in the room and not get hauled off by security, so I contained myself.
The next person at the podium was so obviously a plant I wanted to laugh out loud. He rambled on and on about how Monsanto has saved him money and time and all the benefits has helped his family tremendously. He sounded flat, like a robot. It didn’t sound authentic at all. He got a huge round of applause though, and the next person did basically the same thing. A Jesuit from South America complemented Monsanto for the benefits they brought but also stated that the spraying of Roundup has had a huge detrimental impact to their farmers. Could they “please stop the aerial spraying over the farms? And thank you for the good work.“ There were so many thoughts buzzing around in my head, I do not remember if Hugh Grant responded to him or not.
Lisa from Sum of us got up and addressed the Shareholder Access Proxy that had passed. She pointed out that it was an advisory, not a compulsory proxy and asked if Monsanto planned on actually implementing it. Hugh Grant looked extra thoughtful for a moment and then the baloney rolled off his tongue. He rambled on about how they are always engaged in discussion and increasing the dialogue between shareholders and the board. He said that of course he expected to see Lisa back next year and by then he expected that there would be some modifications. This was brilliant that she asked that question because he was suddenly being held accountable for whether or not he was going to acknowledge the majority vote of the shareholders.
I was in line again. Then it was my turn. I chose to focus on the studies this time. I said, “I want to address the studies you mentioned early showing safety, but first I want to share with you why I personally am here. I have three sons, 12, 9 and 6 and they all have food allergies and my husband and I never did. Two have life threatening nut allergies and one son we almost lost twice, I held his hand in the hospital and prayed to God for his life. But when we went organic his allergies went from a 19 down to a .2. He no longer has life threatening allergies.”
I addressed the shareholders and looked into their eyes.
“And my other son at 8 years old, had a rash around his mouth, a sudden onset of autism symptoms, his grades dropped from A’s to D’s, he was hitting and had erratic behavior. I got him tested and he had c.diff, fungus, clostridia, leaky gut, 19 different food intolerances and gut dysbiosis. These are all things cows have when they are exposed to glyphosate. I got him tested for glyphosate and he had 8.7 ppb in his urine, 8 x higher than was found in anyone in Europe. So we went all organic to avoid glyphosate and within 6 weeks, we tested him again and his levels of glyphosate were undetectable. His autism symptoms were also gone and he has not had a single autism symptom since. And I am not the only one, we have hundreds of testimonials. We see our kids get better from autism, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders.” Then I turned back to Hugh Grant.
“I want to address the EPA studies now. You mentioned there are studies going back for 40 years. Well, I have seen those studies and they don’t all show safety. For instance, one study on oysters, showed that after 4 days the oysters were closed and not feeding. Well, what happened on the fifth day? And closed and not feeding…isn’t that akin to a coma? How is that supposed to prove safety?”
I turn back to look at the shareholders. I am making eye contact and addressing them personally. I want them to get my authenticity. I want them to get that I am not just an angry mother. I am an informed citizen.
“Another study showed that white shrimp died after 4 days at levels that were below what is allowed on our food. A study out this past week showed that glyphosate does not biodegrade as the company once claimed. In fact, it remains viable in dark salt water for 351 days. What is in our womb? Dark salty water. How big is a six week old fetus? The size of a shrimp.” I paused.
I saw the gears turning in their heads, I saw faces change with the realization that I might be saying something relevant. I shared how the pig study in Denmark by Ib Pedersen with 3000 pigs clearly showed how when pigs were fed glyphosate sprayed grains their miscarriages increased to 30%, when they did not eat glyphosate, miscarriages went down to 3%, then back up to 30% with glyphosate sprayed grains…at levels BELOW what we eat on our food. I said that we currently have the highest rate of infertility and sterility in recorded history, 30%.
I turned to Hugh Grant and said “You cannot ignore this. With the widespread contamination of our water, urine, breast milk, Fruit Loops and feeding tube liquid, you must be responsible for ways to cut back exposure to our children. Roundup use increased in 2013 by 73%. Why? Because it’s not working. Farmers are using more to kill the same weeds! Some farmers get it though, one for instance, Amish Farmer John Kempf, said that at his farmers conference of 150 farmers, two years ago when asked if they use Roundup, every single one raised their hands. This year only eight did. They understand that Roundup is not working for their soil. It’s destroys the microbes. Can you not see the correlation between destroying the microbes in the soil and the good bacteria in the gut? Without healthy soil we don’t have healthy plants or gut bacteria or healthy people. In addition, the use of Roundup has increased because of the encouragement to spray Roundup as a drying agent at harvest!”
It was flowing out of my mouth almost without thought. I have spoken so many times about this topic that it was automatic. I was passionately making my case. I felt unstoppable.
“Wheat, peas, dry beans/legumes, sugar and more crops are reportedly being sprayed with glyphosate upon harvest to speed up harvest. So it’s not being sprayed just on GMOs. Unless you are eating organic you are likely exposing yourself and your children to levels of glyphosate far above what has been shown to destroy gut bacteria. So considering the widespread contamination, would you at least advise farmers to stop spraying Roundup as a drying agent?”
To my best recollection he said something about how Roundup has the function of being useful in wet areas where fungus or pathogens grow in the crops when they are damp. But then I heard him say that Roundup is recommended to be used as a weed killer on crops before harvest.
Interesting. “So Roundup is NOT recommended as a drying agent to be sprayed before harvest?”
“As legal would say, the question has been answered. Roundup is recommended be used as a weed killer on crops before harvest.”
I wanted him to say it. “So Roundup is NOT recommended as a drying agent?” I asked again.
He replied that this was the third time we had addressed this and that it was time to move on to the next person who had a question. He said I could of course come back in line after others had a turn. I sat down and two more people got in line.
Apparently a nun got up and spoke about the reduction of water and thanks Monsanto. I don’t remember. I do remember when a pediatrician who is an employee of Monsanto, Dan, the pediatrician who introduced himself to me, got up to speak. He declared all his credentials and how he reviews the studies and knows full well how glyphosate works. He sees not one shred of evidence that glyphosate is harmful. He was emphatic and somewhat angry and I couldn’t help but think, completely brainwashed and or extremely well paid. It is impossible to read the studies I have read and not see harm from glyphosate! Birth defects, miscarriages, tumors, sex hormone changes, allergies, etc… I could go on and on. I was incredulous that this doctor was saying what he was saying, really stupendous. I was compelled and I stood up and got back in line. This time some people chuckled in the crowd. There she goes again they probably thought…and it would not be the first time. I have been told “There goes Zen again about the parades…you’re too pushy…” and it is that very same quality in me that had me stand again.. I could not let the moms struggling with health issues down. I could not let this doctor alter the minds of the shareholders and reassure them to continue to support this toxic farming. I could not let this opportunity go without giving it everything I had.
“Of course, I would not expect a pediatrician who works for Monsanto to say that Monsanto’s products are harmful,” I said when I was once again in front of the microphone. Several people laughed. I could tell they appreciated my willingness to say what needed to be said. “The fact is, however, that even the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that pesticide exposure is harmful to children and that children should avoid pesticides.”
I don’t remember what else I said that that turn at the microphone. I do remember that a farmer got up between one of my turns and he was practically shaking and crying. He was very upset. He said “I cannot sit here and be attacked while Ms. Honeycutt says that wheat is being sprayed with Roundup as a drying agent. I am the Director of the Wheat Growers association in Texas and I assure you that wheat is NOT being sprayed with Roundup as a drying agent. And as far as labor goes…I cannot find labor. If you want to come work on my farm I will give you my card and you can come work on my farm.” He got a round of laughter and some applause. He continued to talk about how many people cannot afford organic, and how they need food on the table. He handed me his card and I was glad to take it. I was especially glad that he was upset that someone would suggest that Roundup is being sprayed as a drying agent…he must see that as an undesirable practice …I wonder why?
Another farmer got up and after discussing how useful Roundup has been how he feeds 6000 families with his corn crops,…and then said “but the thing is, if not Roundup what then?” My heart leapt with joy! They were wondering what else they could use! They were starting the inquiry! My mission had been accomplished.
Another pediatrician employee of Monsanto got up, a mother, and claimed that all of the studies she saw showed safety. She was very stern and very clear and decided right then and there that she was the one who needed to get my binder. I got my host's attention silently and pointed to my binder and to the doctor and my host nodded in consent.
Another woman emphatically declared that “ I want people to know there are good people here in this company and with your leadership Hugh Grant we have been able to provide for our families. There are GOOD people here.” It was interesting that now the people getting up to speak at the microphone were almost all essentially speaking to me.
I got up again. “No one is saying that there aren’t good people here.” I replied. “And there are people who love people who are sick in this room too. I bet if I asked you all to raise your hands if you know someone who has autism, allergies asthma, autoimmune disease and cancer, every single person’s hand would go up. These are people you love. I am imploring Monsanto to go in a new direction. You have the resources. I am asking you, the shareholders, to challenge the Board to go in a new direction. Why not? We need waste management and for the oceans to be cleaned up. We need solar and wind power, areas that do not contaminate our children and pollute the planet. I ask you to try going organic and see for yourselves how you feel. Go all organic for three weeks at least, add raw organic sauerkraut every day to your diet to restore your gut bacteria. See how you feel...”
I turned to the front, “You too Mr, Grant, I invite you to try it. You know, all food used to be organic. We have faith in our farmers to farm as has been done for thousands of years to farm without toxic chemicals. Farmers are ingenious. We are asking you farmers to use your ingenuity. I want to thank everyone for your time and just ask you to please try it, go organic and see how you feel and take Monsanto in a new direction.
I knew it was time for me to sit down. It was after 3:00 pm. I had stated my case. Although I could have talked for hours it was time. Hugh Grant thanks everyone very graciously as he should, for attending, especially emphatically thanking the people who got up to ask Questions, all of us. He said we have had a very lively afternoon and that it was the first time ever that employees got up to speak.
We watched not one, but two commercials for Monsanto at the end. I shook my head with disgust when I saw the second commercial. They actually said “Food is Love” stealing the line from the Prop 37 ad which connected food to our families and nurturing them.
Before leaving the meeting room, my host asked me if I wanted to give the binder of studies to the pediatrician mom. I said yes. Before we got to her, a serious looking, heavy set woman with black hair stepped in between my host and the pediatrician, obviously trying to circumvent communication. My host explained that we were giving her the studies and the woman in black hair pointed out that she probably would not be able to hold it, so my host should probably hang on to it. I sensed the woman with black hair intensely wanted me out of the room. I stayed, looked the doctor in the eye and asked her to please study the report from Cordoba and birth defects. She said that she specialized in teratogenic effects and so this would be of great interest to her. The way she said it was like a display. It was acting. My host steered me out of the room and on my way out several people caught my eye and smiled. I was acutely aware of being herded. I told my host I needed to use the restroom. In the restroom a woman immediately stopped me and said quietly, “Thank you for your courage. There are many, many, of us that are with you. Thank you so much for doing what you are doing.” I couldn’t help it. I started crying from joy. The intensity of the day overflowed. It felt so good to hear someone say that, for her to look me in the eye and to know it makes a difference. I thank her repeatedly and hugged her and she left.
Before I left I requested the card of my host so I could follow up and she instructed a security guard in not so many words to keep an eye on me. I realized they didn’t want me running off into their offices and seeing evidence of God knows what. I actually considered it for a moment when the security guard turned away, but decided not to get arrested today. I wanted to go tell the supporters what happened. I felt like I was going to burst. I asked my host before I left, would the shareholders be able to see these studies? “I don’t know what will happen to these studies.” she answered honestly….neither did I. For all we know they are sitting on shelf gathering dust or in an incinerator. I worked for days assembling that binder, testimonials and images. A mom supporter Nanette worked for a week gathering the studies, and the scientists have worked for life times on the work in the binder. Lives have been lost while those studies were being researched. Children have died from cancer in Cordoba and here in the US. mother have lost babies. People exposing the truth have been beaten, threatened and they have lost their jobs. I have lost a life growing inside me and I have feared for the life of my eldest son from a nut allergy. I have faced my greatest loss and worst fear. Nothing will deter me. I had done my job of speaking up for the moms, who cannot be fired, and who will not stop, who will not give up, because the love for our children will never end.
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All scientific studies are noted on this press release:
Wall Street Journal coverage
Zen and Alexis discuss the outcome minutes after the meeting.
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You hit so many nails DEAD ON the head in your addresses that day; I gave you a standing ovation from my desk! I’ve shared this, via the ecologist, where I first saw it, with my CSA and facebook followers.
It takes a lot of gusto to follow your heart’s words without abandon. I applaud you. I thank you. There are soooo many fronts to fight in the war on safe, nutritious, affordable food. I’m glad someone with the tenacity you have is leading the one on GMO’s. What a golden opportunity – seized!
I truly hope, as an eater as well as a small, organic farm owner, that Monsanto indeed finds a much different way to “feed the world”, than testing it with it’s experiments. They could start with fixing the massive food DISTRIBUTION problem. THAT would do much more to feed any starving country – than sending them seeds they can not collect and re-sow, than eventually lose yield increases, and send them into debts they can’t recover from. Keep up the GREAT work, Zen!!
Thank you from my heart, for a job well done, for your passion, your generosity and your persistence in educating about the presence of pesticide delivery systems in our foods.
You have shown that the emperor has no clothes. That corporate front groups promote unfounded frankenfoods which have never been independently tested, and that the EPA considers these poisons safe or (GRAS) generally recognized as safe, and has deregulated them. The glyphosate and bT toxins (breaks down into formaldehyde etc) now has invaded our soil, water, and children’s bodies.
We appreciate you going the extra mile for our children and generations to come, in posting evidence of harm from these genetically engineered foods and their associated poisons, and taking the message to the source, Monsanto Stockholders meeting, and speaking to the CEO about changing to a new direction.
Not in our bodies. Not in our waters. Not on our soils or anywhere else in the world. Contamination is forever.
Now is the time to go in a new direction.
Cheryl Levie, RN and mother of a childhood cancer survivor.
I truly appreciate your efforts; I have a grandchild who suffers from all sorts of allergies and physical issues that I believe have their origins in what she eats.
It is immensely important that on your side you had many supporters wishing you well and you had your passion and commitment to drive you on, but sat there in that room just before you stood up to speak for the first time must have seemed like a lonely and frightening place. It is to your eternal credit that you faced that and triumphed.
I’m sure there will be knockers but what you did was a triumph and an inspiration. Some of the reactions from people there were predictable but others were interesting – the responses from the farmers – and other responses give grounds for some optimism. We all sometimes think that corporate interests are monolithic and all-powerful but they are not completely so and maybe your engagement at this shareholder meeting will have opened up cracks and vulnerabilities in Monsanto’s psyche.
Grant and his gang are smug and glory in the label of “the most evil company in the world” – its a bit like a costume they can wear and a script they can use to stir up their supporters. I would have loved to have seen his face as you discomforted him in his very own arena as he realized that some of his starstruck fans were actually listening to you and his legendary control of such meetings was slipping.
Thank you for your commitment and perseverance.
Words simply are not enough to show my gratitude.
I can’t express how much it means to have access to organic, clean food. Our family makes adjustments in our budget to afford organics. Cutting out processed GMO food has actually allowed us to afford more organic foods. I will be trying to have another baby this summer and keeping Glyphosate out of my body is my number one priority.