Gathering More Momentum
Sunday 13th November 10am-5pm
2) introductions to
3) Planning sessions on those areas where there's most enthusiasm.
The Spuds Don't Work rally
The Forum, Norwich, 12 noon, Saturday 23rd July 2011
British trials of genetically modified blight resistant spuds have been failing for the last ten years. But a conventionally bred variety of blight resistant potatoes has been available for 3 years. So why are we still paying for their dangerous experiment?
Camping is available at the Norfolk Showground on the 22nd and 23rd July. Camping will be in the Red Car Park (note the Country Music Festival is taking part in the main showground). There will be access to toilets and drinking water. Arrive after 4pm on Friday 22nd. Red car park is to the east of the Park and Ride.
Bus: you can catch the Costessey Park and Ride to the Park and Ride itself (Mon-Fri). This service takes 20 mins and runs approx. every 20 mins from the bus station running via the university. Alternatively catch Konnect bus 4 from the bus station and ask for the Showground. This service runs approx. every 25 minutes. Buses run regularly between the train and bus station in Norwich.
Countering the GM come back summer camp
Sunday 24th July, 2011
What we need...
...for both events...
You, and the people you know, and anyone you think might be interested.
A tale of two spuds...
For the last 10 years, researchers at the Sainsbury laboratory at the John Innes Centre in Norwich have spent 1.7 million pounds of public money failing to develop a genetically modified potato resistant to the fungal disease blight. This project is so secretive and unaccountable that the laboratory has refused to even confirm if a trial has been planted this season, or if they've been forced to abandon any hopes of making the technology work. Public rejection of the risks associated with eating genetically modified food means that even if the engineering involved was successful, there would be no market for the crop.
The campaign against GM crops ten years ago was so successful that GM almost completely vanished from our fields and supermarkets, and many people have forgotten the issues associated with the technology. But in many other parts of the world peasant farmers have been desperately fighting its spread, and laws are changing in Europe that would make it much easier for GM to be grown in Britain. Despite pre-election promises to the contrary the coalition claims it intends to be 'the most pro GM this country has ever seen'.
With the renewed threat of GM on the horizon campaigners need to get together again to show the rest of the country (and each other) that we're still here, and we've got an even better case than ever. This is a chance to take the initiative with the media, to tell a story which explains clearly and practically why the pro GM lobby is wrong. That it's us, and not the corporations that have the answers to the food crisis.
Anti-GM update, networking and strategy session for NGO grassroots and campaigners
Saturday 22nd January 10am - 6pm, London
GM: Gathering Momentum saw the re-sprouting of the grassroots anti GM crop movement in the UK. The gathering was booked out to capacity. Over 110 participants travelled from as far afield as Cornwall, Derby and Dublin to attend the day long strategy session. The group ranged from radical community food projects like Organic Lea, Landmatters and Spittlefields Farm, Reclaim the Fields activists and Earth Firsters to Transition Town campaigners, Islamic eco groups, beekeepers, permaculturists and conventional farmers. Speakers included scientists, aid NGOs, 2 UN agricultural policy advisers, the Independents campaigner of the year, and a broad sweep of researchers and authors.
Links to some of the briefings from the conference
GM and global hunger - (Teresa Anderson (Gaia Foundation) and Kate Blagojevic (World Development Movement)
Winning campaigns - John Stewart (HACAN)
GM and the threat to bees and sustainable agriculture - Caroline van Issum (Beekeeper, London's Buzzing)
GM biofuels and animal feed - Helena Paul (Econexus) and Dr Ricarda Steinbrecher (Etc Group)
New developments in GM crop science - hype and reality - Dr Helen Wallace (Genewatch)
GM mosquitoes Dr Helen Wallace (Genewatch) and Dr Ricarda Steinbrecher (Etc group)
The morning was packed with extremes. The full horrors of seed patenting, industrial agriculture and food commodities trading were illustrated with descriptions of land grabs, corporate lawyers suing contaminated farmers, the spraying of herbicide across whole communities, and the starvation caused by rocketing food prices.
The presence of over 3% of GM biofuels in all UK petrol and diesel shocked many, while the world's only GM mosquito production unit in Oxford, and the development of GM chickens, fish and bacteria left others reeling. But there was some genuinely good news too. Many were inspired to learn that much of what we are told about food and land is simply untrue. Africa is more than capable of feeding itself through 'agro ecology' small scale sustainable models that mounting research shows provide year on year yield increases. Indeed in many places it is already doing so - 70% of the world's food is produced by these methods. The UN itself has recognised that organic farming provides the most practical solutions to the food crisis. Research into traditional seed varieties is already providing drought resistant, disease resistant and high yielding varieties, cheep and fast, while gm technology still only dreams of achieving similar products.
Lunch was a fitting celebration of this abundance. Dishes were stacked high with local vegan organic seasonal salads and soups, including traditionally bred blight resistant potatoes from a farm worked by Community Supported Agriculture, with five different kinds of cake to follow.
The afternoon generated a huge number of ideas and plans on the best way to tackle what we'd learnt, from innovative new materials to spread awareness, to campaigns to get GM oil out of takeaways. We wound up with the premier of the Farmer to Farmer film - a documentary investigation by a conventional British farmer who travelled across North America interviewing his US counterparts about their experiences of GM crops.
The gathering also saw the launch of 'Standing Our Ground- the science and politics behind the resistance to Genetically Modified Crops'- the print version of the Stop GM website. Contact us to receive a copy.
Enthusiasm for a similar event again soon and working groups was high. Please get in touch with Stop GM if you'd like support for organising a meeting about GM crops in your area.