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My First Shareholder Resolution
|| 12/9/2013 || 2:57 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

In the summer of 2013 I drafted my first shareholder resolution:


Proxy Item No. 4: Shareowner Proposal One

This proposal was submitted by Adam Eidinger, Washington, D.C. As of July 30, 2013, Mr. Eidinger indicated that he held 75 shares of Monsanto common stock. The proposal has been carefully considered by the board of directors, which has concluded that its adoption would not be in the best interests of the company or its shareowners. For the reasons stated after the proposal, the board recommends a vote “Against” the shareowner proposal.

The proposal and supporting statement are presented as received from the shareowner proponent in accordance with the rules of the SEC, and the board of directors and the company disclaim any responsibility for its content. We will furnish, orally or in writing as requested, the address of the proponent of this shareowner proposal promptly upon written or oral request directed to the company’s Secretary.

Information regarding the inclusion of proposals in Monsanto’s proxy statement can be found on page 82 under Shareowner Proposals for 2015 Annual Meeting.


Shareowner Statement
WHEREAS:

  • Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology.
  • For thousands of years, mankind has modified plants through grafting, artificial selection, and without the use of genetic engineering.
  • Transgenic DNA produced through modern genetic engineering is not found in natural foods and was not in the food supply of previous generations of mankind.
  • Americans have the right to know what they are eating.
  • U.S. law does not require the labeling of patented biotechnology in foods sold in grocery stores.
  • Company stands by its products and believes they are safe.
  • Due to the uncertainty regarding the potential negative side effects of genetic engineering on humans, animals, and the environment, it is imperative that the Company be transparent with customers concerning our labeling efforts.
  • The Company’s Pledge [1] says that we will ensure that “information is available, accessible, and understandable.”
  • Transparency provides consumers the power to decide what kind of foods are grown on farms and served on dinner tables.
  • Over 60 countries around the world have regulations concerning the labeling of foods produced using genetic engineering.
  • In 2002, the Company said “Food Labeling. It has Monsanto’s Full Backing” in regards to the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the United Kingdom.
  • In 2013, there was legislation introduced in over two dozen U.S. state legislatures concerning the labeling of foods created using genetic engineering.
  • The state legislatures of Connecticut and Maine have passed legislation requiring foods sold in those states to be labeled if they were produced using genetic engineering, but only 4 or more other New England states pass similar legislation.
  • The Company spent $8,112,866.55 in 2012 to prevent California residents from voting to increase transparency in their state’s food labels.
  • As of July 2013, the Company has spent $242,156.25 to prevent Washington state residents from voting to increase transparency in their state’s food labels.
  • The money spent by the Company to prevent legislation that discloses whether food produced using genetic engineering dilutes shareowners earnings per share.
  • The Company believes that nationwide regulations are needed to prevent 56 different state & territory food labeling laws.

RESOLVED: The Monsanto Board shall prepare a report, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, assessing any material financial risks or operational potential impacts on the Company in order to:

  • Work with the FDA to develop food labeling guidelines for American consumers that discloses whether genetic engineering was used to produce the food;
  • Work with the FDA to develop standard threshold of 0.9% or higher for foods created with genetic engineering
  • Analyze the inclusion of U.S. patent numbers on American food labels where patented biotechnology was used to produce the food;

The report shall be available by July 1, 2014 and be posted online on our Company’s website. In order to ensure that our Company upholds its pledge of transparency, we urge a vote FOR this resolution.
[1] “Our Pledge” – Transparency: https://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/Pages/monsanto-pledge.aspx



SOURCE: Page 76, Monsanto Company Proxy Statement, Securities and Exchange Commission



E&E News: ‘Fishy food’ cars attract stares, promote GMO labeling
|| 8/1/2013 || 2:07 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

‘Fishy food’ cars attract stares, promote GMO labeling

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporterPhoto by Amanda Peterka
Greenwire: Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nikolas Schiller is used to receiving odd looks as he drives through the streets of Washington, D.C.

In fact, he can’t commute to and from work without pedestrians whipping out their smartphones to take pictures, drivers leaning out of their windows at traffic lights to ogle and children’s eyes opening wide.

That’s because a huge, brightly colored sculpture fusing a golden delicious apple and a goldfish with eyes is bolted to the top of his used black Ford Escort — which itself has bright pink stripes down its side.

“It’s been an interesting experience,” said Schiller, a 32-year-old St. Louis native sporting a ponytail, T-shirt and cutoff jeans. “I have a lot of fun driving it around. It brings a lot of joy. I see people’s faces smile, light up, point, kids laugh, giggle, people take photos — it’s not like a normal car.”

Nicknamed “Goldie,” it is one of five “fishy food” cars driving around Washington in recent weeks to promote the labeling of genetically modified food. Others carry sculptures of a corn cob, soybean, sugar beet and tomato.

+ MORE



Washington Post: Mobile protest art draws gawkers in D.C.
|| 6/12/2013 || 2:36 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post

Mobile protest art draws gawkers in D.C.

By Robert Samuels June 12, 2013

What is that thing?

Parked near the U Street Metro station is a junky Ford Escort with a fiberglass whatchamacallit on top. The red structure is shaped like an apple, except for the fins jutting from its sides. It has googly eyes, a goofy smile and a face more Muppet than man.

For weeks, it has befuddled neighbors. No one knows who owns it. No one knows what it means. And yet, it’s been spotted throughout Northwest. It has been parked at the new Costco. It has made weekend revelers in Adams Morgan question their sobriety.

“I’ve been trying to figure it out for days,’’ said a man walking near the 1800 block of Vermont Avenue. Then he sighted a second structure, this one atop a Volvo. Same googly eyes, but shaped like a green bean — with fins.

A breakthrough came Tuesday morning when 32-year-old Rica Madrid was seen getting into the car with the finned green thing. Its name is “Soyna,” modeled after a soybean, Madrid said. She pointed to the apple atop the Escort: “That is Goldie.’’

Madrid and her co-workers at Mintwood Media Collective (“Communication Strategies for Social Change”) helped create the two structures to convey the message that food sprayed with toxic chemicals is, in a word, “fishy.” Hence, the fins.

The two vehicles will be part of a caravan of activists that will depart in August on a coast-to-coast trip to Seattle, making stops along the way to lobby for legislation to label genetically modified food.

Right now, the connection between the cartoonish cartop produce and the cause is a little confusing. Mock labels will be added to explain it all, Madrid admits.

Meanwhile, 300-pound structures can’t fit inside rowhouses, so Madrid and her colleagues mounted them on the cars early.

These are the toils of creating protest art. It’s hardly an unusual activity in Washington, a magnet for protesters of all sorts. But it’s jarring to see the art without the context, as Madrid and her colleagues use the cars for routine daily errands — going to work, picking people up from the airport and bulk-buying groceries.

Nikolas Schiller, 32, who drives Goldie the Apple, doesn’t mind the baffled stares. No one fully understands what’s going in their food anymore either, he says.

“That [confusion] is kind of what we’re going for,” he said.

The kids smile when they see Goldie the Apple, because Goldie the Apple is smiling at them. It’s not unusual for someone to come up to Schiller or Madrid during lunchtime, asking whether the cars are new food trucks.

As Madrid climbed into the Volvo to head to work from Shaw, a neighbor walking with her 3-year-old approached:

“What is this all about?” Sandrea Ballestero asked. “We never see you!”

“We are protesting GMOs,” she said, using the acronym for genetically modified organisms.

“Do you have a Web site?”

They do, but it’s not ready yet.

Madrid drove past the suit-and-tie set downtown, some of whom, caught up in their smartphones, paid the car no mind. A man in a blue oxford shirt and khakis pulled out his smartphone for a quick pic. A window-washer scaling the low floors of a building saw the large soybean in the reflection of the windows and cheered. A baby in a stroller near Farragut Square looked into those googly eyes and started to bawl.

Occasionally, someone will ask what she’s doing, and she’ll tell them about genetically modified food. Sometimes the person will start sharing what he or she knows about the history of hybridization or genetic engineering or selective breeding — pretty sophisticated stuff that reminds Madrid that driving the vehicle has a serious purpose.

“Some people are really knowledgeable about the subject,’’ Madrid said. “You just have to be ready for people to debate you. I mean, this is Washington.”


This article was published on the front page of the Metro Section on June 13, 2013 and obtained online from Washington Post. The article is not in the public domain but is being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to document my advocacy for honest food labeling.





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