Take The Flour Back: An attempted field decontamination

hand with wheat

The campaign Take The Flour Back was publicly calling for a GM field decontamination at Rothamsted, UK. Massiv police presence prevented them from actually pulling out any plants last Sunday.  Nevertheless activists consider the campaign as a success because it was bringing open-air GM-crop-testing back into public debate.


European activists link up to draw the line against GM

More than 400 growers, bakers and families from across England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Belgium marched against the return of open air GM field testing today. Take the Flour Back linked arms with their European counterparts, notably France’s Volunteer Reapers1 and walked calmly towards the site, before being stopped by police lines.


Kate Bell from Take the Flour Back stated that “In the past, kids, grannies, and everyone in between has decontaminated GM trial sites together. Here at the beginning of a new resistance to this obsolete technology, we see GM hidden behind a fortress. We wanted to do the responsible thing and remove the threat of GM contamination, sadly it wasn’t possible to do that effectively today. However, we stand arm in arm with farmers and growers from around the world, who are prepared to risk their freedom to stop the imposition of GM crops.”


People enjoyed a GM free picnic whilst listening to a range of speakers opposing the trial, including Graciela Romero, International Programmes Director of UK development charity War on Want. Lawrence Woodward, previously Director of Elm Farm Organic Research Centre, former head of standards at the Soil Association, and now involved in Citizens concerned about GM. Plus several British farmers including Peter Lundgren, a conventional wheat farmer from Lincolnshire.


Gathuru Mburu, co-ordinator of the African Biodiversity Network, spoke on the global fight for control of our food supply. Mburu explained that:

“Experimenting with staple crops is a serious threat to food security. Our resilience comes from diversity, not the monocultures of GM. Beneath the rhetoric that GM is the key to feeding a hungry world, there is a very different story – a story of control and profit. The fact is that we need a diversity of genetic traits in food crops in order to survive worsening climates. Above all, people need to have control over their seeds”

This statement is released amongst growing calls for the scientists to demonstrate sensitivity to public concern by harvesting the crop before pollination, removing any risk of contamination with non-GM plants.


Notes to Editors

  1.  The Voluntary Reapers (les Faucheurs Volontaires) are a non-violent civil disobedient movement who have decontaminated several GM crops on the European continent. They said in a statement of support for the day of action “The ‘Faucheurs Volontaires’ support the international anti-GMO struggle. Both our food and its sovereignty are threatened by the development and commercialisation of GM wheat. The open-air GM trials and crops in the UK or anywhere, endanger our environment, our health and the rights of farmers. The European citizens don’t want GMOs either in the fields or in their food!”