In 2004 Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth – Netherlands) made an attempt to move Dutch provinces and munipalities to declare themselves a GMO-free Zone. All munipalities received a letter but after that Milieudefensie lacked time and resources to continue its campaign. In response the local council of Culemborg decided to become a GMO free municipality. The local authorities are investigating whether this decision can be integrated into the municipal spacial planning policy.
A SEED Europe is now trying to pick up where Milieudefensie left off. To raise awareness of the issue we organised a boat tour on the Wadden sea in the summer of 2005. In each landing place we did actions to promote GMO-free Zones and conversations with farmers, politicians and local organisations took place. In February 2009 A SEED, Greenpeace and Biologica organised a study day about GMO free zones, GE regulations and policies, GMO free agriculture & rural development etc. The very informative Dutch report can be ordered from A SEED.
By now A SEED also adapted its approach a little and will contact farmers and consumers to convince them to declare their own land or household a GM Free Zone. Taking the Nijmegen GMO free food citizens initiative as an example we will also provide workshops on request on how to make a GMO free zone out of your own town. This campaign has its own section on the A SEED website, reachable via www.gentechvrijezones.nl. We will use e.g. the documentaries The Future of Food, TranXgenia (about the problems with cultivation of GE-maize in Spain), and The Farmer and the Gene (farmers’ perspectives on the introduction of GE cultivation in The Netherlands) to inform people about potential risks of introducing GE crops. Furthermore we will continue organising activities to point out the presence of GM fields and corporations in the Netherlands .
So if you’re interested in starting up a local GMO free zone initiative or you want to helpout individually with A SEEDs GMO free zone campaign, contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 (0)20 6682236. There is lots to do: follow up local initiatives, update the website and other promotion/info materials, organise and visit information gatherings.