This month a controversial experimental genetically modified potato crop is due to be planted in the UK by the German chemical giant BASF (offshoot of the infamous AG Farben). DEFRA initially gave approval in December for BASF to undertake trials at two sites, one in Cambridgeshire (at the National Institute of Agriculture and Botany) and the other initially in Derbyshire - until the farmer pulled out.
The trials are the first GM crops to enter British soil in nearly 3 years, after public opposition forced a u-turn in government and corporate plans for patented crops. Although presented as an R&D trial into the effectiveness of an anti blight gene, they are widely considered to be trial of public opinion.
On 14th April in Cambridge a protest walk took place [photos 1, 2]. This was followed on the 21st by a rally in Hull. This event ended with the proposed trial being effectively sabotaged even before it had began when over a hundred people entered the site and planted several varieties of seed potatoes in the field making it impossible for a scientifically valid trial to take place there.
Setting off to work