As the ink on the Monsanto/Bayer deal dries, Monsanto is still actively expanding in the United States, even in the face of protests. (In Argentina, protesters recently shut down a Monsanto seed plant after months of activism and marches through the streets.) But this time they are gunning for one of the most sacred and historically rich native agricultural areas in the United States, to build a GMO seed development greenhouse. That idea has been described as, “like putting a factory in a nature sanctuary.”

Many (the area is full of mostly small farmers and they wonder why the county would choose to invest in a massive multinational company, rather than the people) are worried that the company will get their way yet again, and turn one of the United States’ most hallowed farming areas into a GMO testing ground. It is said that the city and its surrounding area have the longest agricultural history of any in North America, going back more than 4,000 years.

Jonathan Mabry, the historic preservation officer for the City of Tucson:

“Three thousand years after the first farmers of the Sonoran Desert settled in the Santa Cruz River valley, missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino traveled on horseback from Mexico to an O’odham (Native tribal) village called Schookshon—meaning “below the black hill”—and found a community of 750 people thriving on cactus and mesquite, tepary beans and sunflowers, corn and squash. In 2000, archeologists dug below the surface of a decidedly modern city and “found evidence of habitation preserved in every layer, going back 4,000 years.’”

Their plan involves a greenhouse for 400,000 to 500,000 GMO and conventional corn plants, something they expect to bring between 40 to 60 jobs and $105 million in investments to the area. And that last part is the kicker: as they are investing so much at question is whether or not to extend a special tax zone to build its plant on 155 acres near Saguaro National Park.

More from the article:

“A smaller contingent including Tucson Metro Chamber CEO Michael Vrney spoke in favor of the approval, citing Monsanto’s “demonstrated history of innovation.”

But when a company’s full history also includes widespread destruction to human health and the environment it’s fair to wonder whether Varney and other officials know exactly what they’re getting themselves into.”

There is a lot at stake here. A final decision was delayed until February 21 after a unanimous 5-0 vote.

Source: Alt Health Works