On Saturday, Edmontonians rallied at the End of Steel Park for the March Against Monsanto, calling for a permanent boycott of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other harmful chemicals.

This year, there were six marches held across the province and more than 400 others in cities around the world. Organizers said about 2,000 people were expected to participate in Saturday’s event, which ran from noon to 3 p.m.

Brandie Harrop, who helped organize the event in Edmonton, said the focus of the march is about more than just protesting against Monsanto, a giant agricultural company.

“This year it’s more about all of the biotech companies and the chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides residues that are in our food,” said Harrop. “We just really want to get to a point where everyone can have clean, safe, healthy food that is going to nourish our bodies instead of causing harm, disease and illness.”

"Poison on our tables should be on the labels"

People at the march are pushing for a ban on GMOs in Canada, as well more comprehensive labels on GMO food products. Some held up signs that read: “Poison on our tables should be on the labels.”

“Everything was snuck into our food system,” said Harrop. “We didn’t get a choice. They won’t label it, they won’t allow us to decide for ourselves.”

For Harrop, the issue is particularly personal. She said she was chronically ill for years until she switched to an all organic diet.

"I cured all three of my chronic illnesses and all of my underlying issues," she said. "I've made a full recovery and get to enjoy this wonderful, happy, full and fun life now." 

Monsanto, an agricultural company, is a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds. The march was founded in 2013 in California by Tami Canal, who was inspired to start the global movement to protect her two daughters and support a sustainable food production system.