‘Occupy’ movement to take on World Food Prize
By Dan Piller on June 18, 2012
The Occupy Iowa movement, fresh off the visibility it achieved during the Iowa caucus campaign through January, is setting its sights on the annual World Food Prize held in Des Moines in October.
Occupy leader Frank Cordaro said the group’s plans during the weeklong Food Prize event are still being put together, but “there will be opportunities for arrest.”
The Occupy movement will target what Cordaro called “the corporate ownership of the World Food Prize, especially its dominance by genetically modified seed interests.”
“Our goal is to get rid of GMOs,” said Cordaro, referencing the term for genetically-modified corn and soybean seeds now in widespread use in Iowa and elsewhere in the U.S.
Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize, didn’t take issue with the fact that the Prize is comfortable with biotechnology.
“Dr. Borlaug was a supporter of biotechnology and we have focused on it in some of our sessions,” said Quinn, who added, “both Dr. Borlaug and the Prize are all about feeding hungry people.”
Quinn noted that an annual feature of the World Food Prize week is the Hunger Summit, which features discussions on global hunger topics.
The weeklong World Food Prize attracts corporate leaders, farm interests, economists and academicians and scientists from all over the world who mostly discuss the latest issues in world agriculture.
The events are held primarily at the downtown Marriott Hotel, but some events this year are likely to be moved to the new World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in the former Des Moines Public Library on the west bank of the Des Moines River.
The finale, at which this year’s laureate Dr. Daniel Hillel of Israel will receive his honors, is held at the Iowa House of Representatives Chamber in the State Capitol followed by a dinner in the rotunda.
This year’s World Food Prize will run the week of October 15.