On Friday September 7th, Bob Burns, ex-marine turned Buddhist organic farmer and sustainability activist, came to Connecticut College to share his knowledge with the class of Cultivating Change, an Anthropology seminar taught by Professor Cole. He invited the class, and anyone who wanted to come, to join him for a rally against Monsanto, a company selling genetically modified seeds around the world and doing their best to cover up their trail.
On Saturday September 15th, members of the class and members of Sprout journeyed to the Monsanto headquarters in Mystic, CT to rally along side Bob and his crew of organic farmers, organic food vendors, and supporters of the fight against Monsanto. The cry of the people was for truth. Monsanto has been hiding the truth by not including the poisons they’re putting into our bodies on their labels. We need to be informed about the food choices we’re making. The group motto was: “Label today, ban tomorrow!”
There was an impressive turnout for the rally of up to 72 at its peak and about 40 steady. The group consisted of people of all ages, including toddler organic farmers-to-be helping by coloring in the letters of signs (See photo above). Bob pointed out that education of the next generation is what will make a difference in the future of farming. A number of people, including Bob, spoke about the truth and what we can do to add to the fight. According to Bob, “The most radical thing you can do is to start your own organic garden.” Well Sprout is already on it!
An additional speaker was former congressman, Rob Simmons. He observed that, “We label everything in this country. We even label ourselves! Why not label our food? We deserve truth in advertising and the right to know what’s in our food so we can make the choice.” He encouraged us to become “smiling pests” to government officials and the press and urged us to all write letters to the editors of local papers, then “There you go. You’re an activist!”
After the rally, we were all invited to come back to Bob’s farm, Aiki Farms in Ledyard, CT, for a sprouting seminar, tour of the farm, a Zen tea ceremony and an organic feast. What a gracious farmer! After a reception in his living room, a beautiful open space with thick wooden beams and a swing in the center of the room, we headed down to the basement for a detailed demonstration of how to grow sprouts (See photo below). We each got to bring home a sample of the pea sprouts, which are a delicious snack!
As we were thanking Bob, he expressed that he wants his connection with our Sprout Garden to be a permanent relationship. He wants to help us in any way he can with sharing knowledge, supplies, and support. He even said he would come double dig and plow our land! We look forward to the growing relationship with Bob.