Pushing back against Monsanto

Protesters will take to the streets of Laguna Beach on Saturday to protest genetically modified organisms in the March Against Monsanto.

The event is being led by the volunteer group GMO Free Orange County. Lead organizer, D'Marie Mulattieri, said the march is family friendly and intended to inform the public about the dangers of GMOs. The group is targeting Monsanto, an international argriculture company that produces genetically modified seeds and other plant products.

"By doing these marches we wake people up to what's going on," Mulattieri said. "We can't fight Monsanto in terms of money. They are so huge … it has to be a grassroots movement. It has to come from us, the consumer."

The march will begin at 1 p.m. at Main Beach and follow the sidewalk south on South Coast Highway to the Neighborhood Congregational Church on St. Ann's Drive.

The church will be the site of the World Food Day Festival celebrating World Food Day. Mulattieri called World Food Day a "United Nations initiative that is supposed to draw attention to world hunger and try to eradicate it by means of sustainable foods."

Laguna Beach police are anticipating a peaceful demonstration, according to Sgt. Louise Callus.

"There will be a police presence to assist in moving the group through the streets and assisting with traffic control," Callus said in an email.

According to a news release, the festival will feature music and educational materials in addition to speeches from Mulattieri, Dr. Mark Filidei of Amen Clinics, which has a location in Newport Beach, Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt, and 7-year-old Alicia Serratos, who has petitioned to remove GMOs from Girl Scout cookies.

"The food system may be broken, but the American people are not," Honeycutt said. "When they come together, when they march together and they stand up to educate people, it is inspiring. It shows how great America really is."

The march is part of a Global Day of Action, and events like the one in Laguna Beach will be taking place in more than 600 cities around the world, Mulattieri said.

More than 1,000 people attended a March Against Monsanto event in May at Main Beach, and organizers are hoping to see similar numbers at the Saturday protest.

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