Currently chemical multinational BASF are testing the water with attempts to introduce GM Potatoes, at two sites, one in Cambridgeshire and the other in Hull. In both places groups are organising against them and calling for a halt to the trials.
On Saturday, 21st April there will be a rally in Hull to highlight the issue by demonstrating there is still considerable strength of feeling against the introduction of GM crops to the UK. It starts at 1pm in the Preston Road Community Centre, Marfleet, Hull, with speakers and music. This will be followed by a stroll to the field (where the potatoes are due to be planted) for a picnic and general harrumphing around. Afterwards there will be further entertainment and refreshments (including tea & cakes) back at the Community Centre.
Speakers include campaigners from the Permaculture Association, Friends of the Earth, GM Freeze and local farmers. Music will be by a variety of people including Seize the Day & Wholesome Fish. Catering is by the renowned Veggies of Nottingham.
Bring - flags, costumes (checkout Mr Potatohead on www.mutatoes.org for our costume theme), banners, kites, frisbees, instruments, outdoor clothing, kids and your favourite potato-based dish. Footwear should be suitable for a country walk. Transport from around the country is being organised. If you can help make costumes, organise in your area, distribute leaflets, offer car-share, etc, please get in touch with the campaign via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0113 262 9365.
BASF has already attempted to introduce its potatoes into Ireland and the Netherlands, but has been rejected from both, partly due to the existence of campaigns there (see http://www.gmfreeireland.org/potato/). The potatoes are engineered for blight resistance, so failing to convince the Irish public was a telling sign that the proponents of GM are far from winning the battle. In 2004 fellow multinational Bayer cancelled GM crop trials in the UK following vigorous campaigning from all directions.
GM crops have struggled to get a toe-hold in the UK and there is no reason why they should be given the space to do it now. But the message needs to be spread far and wide, so that the multinationals and government get the message - GM will always breed resistance from the public.
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Earlier stories on Indymedia:
GM Free Potatoes