LOS ANGELES -- Marches and rallies against seed giant Monsanto were held in cities across the U.S., including Charleston, and in dozens of other countries Saturday.
"March Against Monsanto" protesters say they want to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it. Marches are planned for more than 250 cities around the globe, according to organizers.
Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States today have been genetically modified. But some say genetically modified organisms can lead to serious health conditions and harm the environment.
In Charleston, protesters gathered at Haddad Riverfront Park and marched to the Capitol Complex, where they rallied. Protesters estimated their number to be between 150 and 200, though by mid-afternoon 100 or fewer remained.
Lisa, who asked to be identified only by a first name because of potential conflict with her employer, gathered 80 signatures for a petition asking that genetically modified food be labeled. The petition, which is also circulating online, will be sent to members of Congress.
"I personally like my food as it comes from the earth," Lisa said. She added that she doesn't want meat from cows with hormones or genetically modified vegetables. "I prefer to have it the way it was intended."
Jillian Hargis, of Charleston, said she is concerned for the health of her 19-month-old son Michael and another son that she's due to have in August.
"I'm worried about giving my baby Similac (formula) because it's full of crap," Hargis said. Most cereals are genetically modified, she said.
At the same time, she said she can't afford to buy organic food.