David "Ziggy" Marley, the oldest son of reggae musician Bob Marley, will perform in a benefit concert for GMO Free Boulder on Saturday, Jan. 21, in Boulder, Colo. Boulder County Commissioners recently voted to allow local farmers to grow genetically engineered sugar beets on public open space land.
As advocates against GMOs, newhope360 recently spoke with Ziggy Marley to hear about his motivation for the cause. Marley will also perform as the live musical guest at Natural Products Expo West on March 9, 2012.
newhope360: How did you first learn about and become interested in GMOs?
Ziggy Marley: A long time ago I was talking with a friend about a company that was patenting seeds, and farmers were being sued because some of the seeds from this company, Monsanto, were being blown over to their farms. And that was the first time I'd ever heard of GMOs and what was going on. I've been hearing stuff about it since then, and looking into it. And now I've been invited to show support for what is happening in Boulder, Colorado.
newhope360: A big discussion in Boulder and around the United States right now is whether or not genetically engineered foods should be labeled as such. What are your thoughts?
ZM: I believe nature is made for us. The food we put in our bodies is a very serious thing. Nature has already perfected what we need as human beings. We are a part of nature, and part of the ecosystem, and nature has already set everything up for us. For me personally, if I had to choose between genetically modified food and nature, I would choose nature every time.
And I think this benefit concert is for a good cause. The main thing for me is the idea of freedom. Even when you go to a gas station to put gas in your car, you can choose what level of octane you want to put in your car. So when I go to a supermarket why shouldn't I know what is genetically modified or not? Why shouldn't I know that? This is my freedom! This is a freedom issue—a basic freedom of human beings, over the basic substance for human life. If we don't want to put something in our bodies that is genetically modified we should know. I'm in favor of knowing!
newhope360: Are you seeing other artists become aware of the implications of GMOs?
ZM: We're trying to spread the word. I can't name any artists specifically who are aware of GMOs, but in terms of public awareness it's been under the radar. It's not an issue until we bring it into public view.
newhope360: So your motivation in participating in the benefit concert is mainly for public awareness?
ZM: Yes, absolutely. Public awareness and to show support for the idea of a GMO Free Boulder.
newhope360: You're launching a new line of organic coconut oils and hemp seeds at Natural Products Expo West in March. We looked for your company website, but it looks like it hasn't been launched yet.
ZM: No, we're trying to get everything together properly first. All of that will come in March.
newhope360: As a product manufacturer, how might GE seeds impact your products?
ZM: They won't impact my products because my products are organic… unless some type of accident happens like wind blowing [GE] seeds onto an organic farm. We're growing organic and doing things the way nature intended it to be. That's the best way. If we talk about these things, we have to stand up for them, and we have to express them even in the products we make. If I put my name on a product I want it to be in line with my beliefs. Until GMOs take over the world, we still have a choice. We should still have the freedom to choose.