Originally published: Modern Times Magazine
Multinational Corporation Drops Request For A Tax Break From Pima County, But As The Permitting Process Progresses, Activists Begin To Push Back
A group opposed to Monsanto’s plan to build a 7-acre, glass-enclosed greenhouse to grow corn in Marana will hold a protest Tuesday morning in front of the Pima County Administration Building.
The director of GMO Free Arizona, Rachel Linden, says those plans are not about saving the planet or feeding more people, but instead comes down to selling chemicals.
“Nobody wants to live near it – nobody does,” Linden said.
Linden said about 75 to 200 people will attend on the 21st, and other prominent anti-Monsanto activists are slated to attend. “We’re not letting Monsanto open shop,” she added “We’re only just getting started.”
Marana, she added, “is a microcosm of what’s going in the country, in terms of pushback against such projects.”
A Monsanto spokesperson said her company is “committed to being a good neighbor in the community.”
Further, Charla Lord of Monsanto said the greenhouse combines, “Arizona’s climate with our sustainable practices to help produce corn seeds that will help farmers around the world.”
Previously, Monsanto had asked the county for a tax break, which the county Board of Supervisors were to vote on during their meeting next week.
However, as of Thursday, Monsanto pulled a request from the agenda, said Mark Evans, public communication manager with Pima County. Monsanto still needs the county to grant several lighting-related and flood control permits, Evans said.
On his Facebook page, county Supervisor Richard Elias called Monsanto’s decision “a big win for taxpayers,” but added the work to hold the company accountable will continue.
Located northwest of Tucson, Marana has a population of nearly 35,000, and is noted for its farming and ranching.
It’s also home to numerous hiking trails and is in the vicinity of Saguaro National Park.
Monsanto has a website devoted to the plans for the Marana facility, proposing a greenhouse on 7 acres, 2 acres for a warehouse and processing, a composting site and one office building. A timeline for project construction was not available.
Monsanto describes the site as “key hub for seed production and innovation,” featuring automating technology, water recycling, state-of-the-art climate systems and minimal environmental impact. An October report in the Western Farm Press said the facility will, “house GMO corn breeding and ‘trait integration’ that combines genetic and biotech traits.” The publication also said the greenhouse location formerly was a segment of farmland held by the Kai family, which is well known in southern Arizona agriculture circles.