Europe is faced with a new wave of GM-crops that could drastically change the way we produce food in Europe – including extensive pesticide spraying. These GM-crops are unnecessary, risky and profit large multinational companies at the expense of small scale and sustainable farming.
The website and film "Stop the Crop" present some of the dangers of GM-crops, and call for people across Europe and beyond to take action to stop them. We need a future of food and farming that benefits people and planet, and not the pockets of big business. We need to stop GM-crops from spreading across Europe.
Visit the website to know more and to get engaged: stopthecrop.org
By Stuart Newman
When scientists first learned in the late 1970s how to sequence DNA and transfer it from one kind of organism to another, improving foods and other crop plants by introducing foreign genes was among the first applications proposed. Given contemporaneous findings in molecular genetics, such as the recognition that a mutation in a single gene could promote a cell's transformation to cancerous state, it was unsurprising that concerns were raised about the capability of the transgenic methods to dramatically change the biochemistry or ecological stability of plants. Some critics suggested that the quality and safety of fruits and vegetables could be impaired, making them allergenic or toxic to humans and nonhumans who consume them, or that "superweeds" might be created which could disrupt wild or farmed ecosystems.
7th European Conference of GMO-Free Regions
Brussels, 4th - 5th September 2012
We are happy to announce the 7th GMO free regions conference which will be held on the 4th and 5th of September in Brussels.
Six years after the first GMO free regions conference in Berlin, the movement is stronger than ever. The entry of the German Länder Thuringia, North-Rhine Westphalia and likely soon Baden Württemberg into the European Network of GMO free regional governments, demonstrate this trend.
Central topics of our conference this year will be the upcoming seed legislation and the right to a national ban of GMO cultivation, the import of GM soy in connection with the approaching European CAP reform and the deficient risk assessment of GMO by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Here you can find the preliminary Program and the registration form.
Krems – Austria – 22nd August 2011
After 5 days of intense, inspired and constructive exchange, the Nyeleni Europe 2011, European Forum for Food Sovereignty, closed yesterday. The Forum adopted the first European Declaration on Food Sovereignty.
Over 400 delegates from European countries committed to strengthening their collective capacity to reclaiming community control over food system, to resisting the agro-industrial system and to expanding and consolidating a strong European movement for Food Sovereignty.
Over 120 organisations and individuals, representing civil society and social movements, discussed the impact of current European and global policies. Together they developed a comprehensive platform and a set of principles to achieve food sovereignty in Europe. The Forum emphasized the contribution of voices of young people, woman and food producers, whose concerns are often overlooked. This diversity and richness of experience enabled the Nyeleni Europe 2011 Forum to identify a common framework, and to define a joint action plan based on a democratic and participatory process.
The Declaration proclaims, “we are convinced that a change to our food system is a first step towards a broader change in our societies”. The Forum delegates strongly committed to taking the food system into their own hands by:
- Working towards an ecologically sustainable and socially just model of food production and consumption based on non-industrial smallholder farming, processing and alternative distribution.
- Decentralizing the food distribution system and shortening the chain between producers and consumers.
- Improving working and social conditions, particularly in field of food and agriculture?
- Democratizing decision-making on the use of the Commons and heritage (land, water, air, traditional knowledge, seeds and livestock).
- Ensuring that public policies at all levels guarantee the vitality of rural areas, fair prices for food producers and safe, GMO-free food for all.
At this time of political volatility, social and economic crisis, the delegates of the Nyeleni Forum for Food Sovereignty reaffirmed their vision of unity that emphasized the right of all peoples to define their own food and agriculture policies and systems, without harming either people or precious natural resources, as Food Sovereignty implies.
That’s why we demand food sovereignty in Europe now.
The No Patents on Seeds coalition was initiated by the Berne Declaration, Greenpeace, Misereor, No Patents on Life, Swissaid and the Norwegian Development Fund. It campaigns for a clear regulation in patent laws
This initiative is supported globally by over 300 NGOs and farmers’ organisations and has collected about 100.000 signatures against patents on plants and animals.
These patents create new dependencies for farmers, breeders, food producers and consumers. These patents have to be regarded as misappropriation of basic resources in farm and food production and as general abuse of patent law. It is necessary an urgent re-think of European patent law in biotechnology and plant breeding and to support clear regulations that exclude from patentability processes for breeding, genetic material, plants and animals and food derived thereof.
Help this cause by signing the open letter to Members of the European Parliament and the European Commissi on.
For more information on this campaign: No Patents on Seeds
GMO Free Europe 2010, Brussels, 16-18 September 2010
300 representatives from 37 countries, representing formal and informal GMO-free regions, GMO-free initiatives and activists on related issues from all over Europe. Breeders and seed exchangers, farmers, bee-keepers, gmo-free traders, processors and retailers as well as consumers, critical scientists and environmental activists have met in Brussels and Ghent from 16 to 18 September 2010.
The participants critically discussed the new GMO policy of the European Union, which was presented to them by EU Commissioner John Dalli. They welcomed the announcement of the environment minister of the Region of Brussels, that the government of the Capital of Europe has just declared itself GMO Free. The agricultural minister of Wallonia, vize-chairmen of the European Parliaments Agricultural Committee, José Bové and Janusz Wojciechowski, presidents and representatives of major farmers unions, from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, Euro-Coop and IFOAM expressed their solidarity with the GMO Free movement. The secretary general of Carrefour and representatives of the German EDEKA and tegut supermarket chains confirmed their commitment to stay GMO free and to build a reliable supply chain of non-GMO animal feed for their milk, meat and egg products. This was especially welcomed by the secretary general of the association of Brasilian GMO Free soybean producers, ABRANGE.
In the evening the conference was welcomed by the vice-major and echevin for the environment, Bertin Mampaka, in the historic City Hall of Brussels at the Grande Place.
Shocking news came from Professor Andres Carrasco, Argentina's leading embryologist, who presented newly published scientific evidence that Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the worlds best selling weedkiller "Roundup", to which about 75% of all GMOs of the world are resistant, cause serious embryonic damage.
For two days the participants then retreated to exchange information and discuss joint strategies for a GMO free Europe. 30 workshops covered a diversity of issues while the final plenary agreed to fight for a moratorium of any releases of GMOs into the environment, to both expand GMO Free Regions at national level and to demand a serious overhaul of the risk assessment procedure at European level.
For more information, visit the conference's website.
More than one million acres of Canadian farmland have glyphosate-resistant weeds growing on them, including 43,000 in Manitoba, according to an online survey of 2,028 farmers conducted by Stratus Agri-Marketing Inc. based in Guelph, Ont. The shockingly high Canadian numbers met with skepticism from some experts who suggest farmers might be mistaking hard-to-kill weeds with glyphosate resistance. But others say the farmers are probably right. Even though there hasn’t been a single documented case of a glyphosate-resistant weed in Manitoba, the 281 Manitoba farmers surveyed said they believe there’s glyphosate-resistant kochia on 23,000 acres in this province.
It is encouraging that USDA will produce an Environmental Impact Statement for crops resistant to 2,4-D or dicamba. These crops, through the herbicides they are designed to use, have potential to cause substantial environmental and human harm, especially due to drift and volatility. Weed scientists have projected dramatically increased use of these herbicides, and herbicides in general, if these crops are approved. Dicamba and 2,4-D herbicides have been known to travel considerable distances from the fields where they are applied, harming fruit, vegetable and other crops, and natural areas that provide pollinators and other beneficial organisms for crops.
I learned from Nature that work continues on genetically modified cassava, an important staple for the poor in tropical regions of the world, and that “Golden Rice” with GM-driven beta carotene enrichment may clear its last regulatory hurdles next year. But rather more excitement seems to surround the work on a new stone-free plum that makes for cheaper processing, and a non-browning apple that can be sold pre-sliced. I would like to hope, with Nature’s editors, that our first 30 years’ experience with GM foods might lead us to redirect our efforts in more helpful and less harmful ways. But making that shift is a social problem, not a scientific one, and it’s hard to see a new way forward from today’s messy middle ground.
It is now four decades since the first experiments with recombinant DNA that led to a brief voluntary moratorium. It is also about two decades since the first genetically modified plant was commercialised. [...] The precautionary measures taken at an early stage in these developments were justified by lack of knowledge about a new technology and our inability to predict its negative consequences for environment and society. In particular in Europe, this is the way biotechnology is often still discussed. We think it is time to dismiss three myths that are common in those discussions.
The U.S. Agency for International Development today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Syngenta International AG to support agriculture and food security activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Under this MOU, USAID and Syngenta will further collaborate in research and development and smallholder capacity building, working with key agriculture and food security partners including scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and other donors. Syngenta and USAID already work together in many countries and will broaden their relationship through this MOU.
U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for overseas lobbying that promotes controversial biotech crops developed by U.S.-based Monsanto Co and other seed makers, a report issued on Tuesday said. A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group. The officials tried to quash public criticism of particular companies and facilitated negotiations between foreign governments and seed companies such as Monsanto over issues like patents and intellectual property, the report said.