Help This Farmer Stop Monsanto’s GM Canola

You might not have heard of Steve Marsh yet but this man could lose everything to protect your right to eat GM-free food.

Who is Steve Marsh?

Steve Marsh is an Australian farmer who lost his organic certification when Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) canola blew onto his farm from a neighbouring property in 2010. Since then, Steve lost most of his income and has been struggling to get his organic certification back.

Monsanto has a no liability agreement with GM farmers that prevent them from being sued. The only avenue Steve had to protect his livelihood was to take his neighbour to court. It is due to start on the 10th February 2014 in the Western Australian Supreme Court and is scheduled to run for three weeks.

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A landmark case for a GM-free future

This is the world’s first case of an organic farmer using the courts to recover loss and damages from a GM farmer. This case has been described as a landmark case to determine who should take responsibility in case of GM contamination. If Steve wins it will set a precedent to guide the application of common law to GM contamination and will be of interest to lawmakers worldwide.

We don’t want to be part of the global GM experiment underway with barely tested, unlabeled and uncontrolled GM foods infiltrating our food supplies. When people like Steve stand up for their rights in spite of what he may lose, it gives us a chance to stand alongside him.

Take action!

Steve’s neighbour is well supported and well funded by a pro-GM organization and we are helping to raise funds and awareness for Steve’s case.

Have a look at the short video above explaining his story and share it with friends, family and work colleagues. Please make a donation to support this landmark case and protect the future of GM-free food.

Donate Now to Support Steve!


  1. This is severe criminal, and people who try to distroy the ecosystem ought to be put in jail! I know that genmodified seeds are really bad for all living species, and I will fight it as best as I can.

  2. In Virginia there is an invasive species law – if a neighbor’s ‘bamboo’ gets into your yard the neighbor has to pay to remove the invasive species. Invasive is defined as non-native. I don’t see any way that a GM could be called a native. Could this type of defense help?

  3. I am writing from Canada where we had a somewhat similar case some years ago known as Monsanto vs Schmeiser. He lost the case in the Supreme Court of Canada so very precedent setting. This is what Wikipedia says (in part).

    Origin of the patented seed in Schmeiser’s fields[edit]
    As established in the original Federal Court trial decision, Percy Schmeiser, a canola breeder and grower in Bruno, Saskatchewan, first discovered Roundup-resistant canola in his crops in 1997.[4] He had used Roundup herbicide to clear weeds around power poles and in ditches adjacent to a public road running beside one of his fields, and noticed that some of the canola which had been sprayed had survived. Schmeiser then performed a test by applying Roundup to an additional 3 acres (12,000 m2) to 4 acres (16,000 m2) of the same field. He found that 60% of the canola plants survived. At harvest time, Schmeiser instructed a farmhand to harvest the test field. That seed was stored separately from the rest of the harvest, and used the next year to seed approximately 1,000 acres (4 km²) of canola.
    At the time, Roundup Ready canola was in use by several farmers in the area. Schmeiser claimed that he did not plant the initial Roundup Ready canola in 1997, and that his field of custom-bred canola had been accidentally contaminated. While the origin of the plants on Schmeiser’s farm in 1997 remains unclear, the trial judge found that with respect to the 1998 crop, “none of the suggested sources [proposed by Schmeiser] could reasonably explain the concentration or extent of Roundup Ready canola of a commercial quality” ultimately present in Schmeiser’s 1998 crop.[5]
    In 1998, Monsanto learned that Schmeiser was growing a Roundup-resistant crop and approached him to sign a license agreement to their patents and to pay a license fee. Schmeiser refused, maintaining that the 1997 contamination was accidental and that he owned the seed he harvested, and he could use the harvested seed as he wished because it was his physical property. Monsanto then sued Schmeiser for patent infringement, filing its case in Canadian federal court on August 6, 1998.[4] Negotiations to settle the matter collapsed on August 10, 1999, leading Schmeiser to file a countersuit against Monsanto for $10 million for libel, trespass, and contaminating his fields.[6][7]
    Patent rights versus property rights[edit]
    Regarding the question of patent rights and the farmer’s right to use seed taken from his fields, Monsanto said that because they hold a patent on the gene, and on canola cells containing the gene, they have a legal right to control its use, including the intentional replanting of seed collected from plants with the gene which grew accidentally. Schmeiser insisted on his “farmer’s rights” to do anything he wished with seeds harvested from any plants grown on his field – including plants from seeds that were accidentally sown – and that this tangible property right overrides Monsanto’s patent rights.
    Canadian law does not mention any such “farmer’s rights”; the court held that the farmer’s right to save and replant seeds is simply the right of a property owner to use his or her property as he or she wishes, and hence the right to use the seeds is subject to the same legal restrictions on use rights that apply in any case of ownership of property, including restrictions arising from patents in particular. The court wrote: “Thus a farmer whose field contains seed or plants originating from seed spilled into them, or blown as seed, in swaths from a neighbour’s land or even growing from germination by pollen carried into his field from elsewhere by insects, birds, or by the wind, may own the seed or plants on his land even if he did not set about to plant them. He does not, however, own the right to the use of the patented gene, or of the seed or plant containing the patented gene or cell.”[4]

      1. Oh, I see. Penny’s reply was in response to Paul’s comment. Now I understand the context. In that case, I would say that Paul does have a good point. The same ethical principle should apply in farming in Australia (or anywhere) as it does with a neighbor’s plants invading another neighbor’s property in Virginia. The key word is “invasive”- not “invasive” as in non-native, but rather defining “invasive” as unwanted, disruptive, and invading someone’s property nearby. Same principle as with someone’s bamboo invading a neighbor’s yard in Virginia, minus the focus on native vs. non-native. It is the same basic ethical principle. In my view, Paul’s general concept is valid.

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