After last year's tour, a new caravan hits the road this summer!
The swiss national research program "Utility and risks of dissemination of genetically modified plants"(NRP 59) continues, and so does our struggle, because we refuse having the real issues of this program occulted. Under this program, tests are being conducted on outdoor fields, in Reckenholz and in Pully (EPFZ, Zürich University, Agroscope Changins). They conduct several studies on a genetically modified wheat in order to make it resistant to powdery mildew. However, powdery mildew isn't really a problem when the wheat is grown following other agricultural practices and techniques. For instance, some GMO-free wheat and some seeds from organic agriculture are already tolerating powdery mildew.
The PNR59 research program aims at introducing GMOs in Switzerland, and we reject it as a whole!
This year, the 5-year moratorium passed in 2005, prohibiting the introduction of GMOs in Switzerland, will expire but has been extended till 2013. What can we expect from a moratorium, knowing that those are often used by authorities to neutralize and freeze people-led struggles, as it was the case with the anti-nuclear movement? While the entire world is being used as a laboratory for the deployment of mass exploitation and consumption of GMOs, Switzerland serves as a political laboratory. The extension of the moratorium opens the possibility for policy makers to lead their sociological studies in order to make the public opinion “evolve”. But soil depletion, accidental disseminations, irreversible damages caused to biodiversity, water pollution and so on, are the real issues posed by GMO's. Same as the enslavement of farmers by agribusiness multinationals, loss of peasant heritage (knowledge and seeds), patenting of life and the common wealth, this for the sole purpose of making profits. These patented clones exclusively serves an agro-chemical industry which is eager to sell pesticides.
For an agriculture that respects soil, water, biodiversity, climate and those who work the land!
An ecological agriculture is only possible if it remains local. It is essential to understand that GMOs belong to a really particular kind of agriculture: a totally industrialized agriculture; there, it is all about huge farms, entirely mechanized, cultivating intensively, and using irresponsible quantities of pesticides. A system that takes us right to the wall. To this kind of agriculture, faces the smallholder agriculture which did not wait the invention of GMOs to feed mankind for millennium! Many farmers are struggling to preserve their independence. An increasing number of farming projects are being developed in the context of the Agriculture Contractuelle de Proximité (Proximity Farming Contracts), allowing people to recover their control over food supplying, while protecting producers. Direct sales, use of non-hybrid seeds, organic or biodynamic productions are also ways to preserve peasant-oriented approach of agriculture. Our tour is meant to express our solidarity with those initiatives.
For an autonomous agriculture, for the freedom to grow, sow and exchange seeds without restrictions!
The use of GMOs raises the question of the patenting of living organisms. Any modified organism, were it only be one single gene, may be patented: this carries a clear commercial interest. Once an organism becomes a patented one, nobody may grow it without authorization. No need to search hard to discover to who that patentabilitybenefits. Monsanto, for example, systematically sues farmers who sow seeds unwittingly contaminated by patented seeds, accusing them of “illegally using their technology”. Each patent restricts the free access to a genetic heritage that belongs to the entire humanity.
Against all patenting on seeds and the living, against capitalism that wants to turn everything into commodities to make profits!
This year the Bike Caravan links Pully (VD) to Reckenholz (ZH) from 19th to 27th of June. It is open to anyone willing to participate, support sustainable agriculture and reject all the patented pesticide clones the GMOs represent. Jump on your bike and join the caravan! Or integrate the Tour on it's way in one of the stage near your home! Participate actively (spread flyer's and posters, make banners and info points, debates, street theater, food, drinks, presentations, films…). Spread the word; connect with farmers and other people willing to fight GMOs!
We are for any kind of resistance against GMO's, and for a diversity of means of action!
See you soon on the road or on the fields!