REPORT ON GM FREEZE AGM
held on 27th October, 2011 at ActionAid (London)
CEL is a member of GM Freeze
After a warm welcome by Helena Paul, GM Freeze's Chair, the minutes of last year's AGM were read and approved by those present. The Secretary then outlined key issues for campaigning and development throughout 2011-2012: the possibility of forthcoming GM wheat trials, GM feed imports, GM Oil, the stalled EU policy on GM, the ban on Glyphosate, GM in the Global South [highlighting DFID's close involvement with the Gates Foundation, which is pushing GM and mechanically intensive farming on small and family farmers] and GM test sites in the UK.
During the next 12 months GM Freeze looks to increase the number of people actively working on GM and related issues through the newly-designed website. Given the prospect of GM wheat trials next year, it is particularly concerned about the need to stop GM wheat in its tracks. The group will continue to support the APPG on agroecology and also work in alliance with other groups to ''campaign for reforms in the CAP, research and development funding, and on-farm management toward building a farm system based on agroecology which is capable of producing while enhancing the soil, biodiversity and water quality by ending the destructive nature of modern intensive farming epitomised by GM.''
Another matter discussed was the attitude of the BBC's Science Review. Its coverage on agricultural issues appears to be increasingly slanted towards orthodox science and seems no longer prepared to cover ''minority issues'' such as GMOs. There was general consensus among AGM members that such a position ran counter to the BBC's charter of balanced presentation.
The meeting ended with three excellent presentations on different aspects of organic farming and pest control in wheat. A GM Freeze member, Jane O'Meara, who writes articles on GM for her local paper, generously offered to share them with anyone in the group who wishes to draw attention to the issue in her or his local media.