When the U.S. Supreme Court held last year that farmers can be liable for damages if they use patented seeds for more than one planting, the decision highlighted a debate over growers’ rights, intellectual property and agricultural sustainability. Ruling in an Indiana case, the high court upheld an $84,456 verdict in favor of agri-giant Monsanto Co. over farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman in what NPR described as a David vs. Goliath battle.
In its Supreme Court brief, Monsanto argued that letting Bowman – and other farmers – to use regenerated, genetically modified seed without the company’s permission would ” devastate innovation in biotechnology.”
But farmers’ rights to save, exchange and sell seeds are also fundamentally a distributive justice issue regarding equitable rights to seeds as resources, to biodiversity as an environmental good, to jobs and income as socioeconomic goods and the peasant way of life as a cultural good.
Read the full, original article: From Indiana to Latvia, connecting the seeds of environmental justice, agricultural biodiversity