As media interest mounts around the GM wheat trial taking place at Rothamsted Research Institute, we at The Gaia Foundation and our partners at the African Biodiversity Network have voiced our support of the challenge being led by campaign group Take the Flour Back.

Later this month we will be launching the film Seeds of Freedom, a 30-minute documentary exploring the corporate takeover of seed, and the impact that this is having on communities across the world. The film that we will be lanched at a private screening in London on 28th May, and then available to watch free online from Tuesday 29th May! We’ll also be providing materials and support for people to hold their own screenings and events on the issue, and the film will be screened at a number of festivals across the summer.

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You can watch the three-minute trailer here.

Read extracts from the release below, and find the full press release here.

“Take the Seed Back” – International Support for Take The Flour Back

The African Biodiversity Network and The Gaia Foundation support the call from Take the Flour Back for Rothamsted Research Institute to remove their GM wheat crop to prevent contamination. Gathuru Mburu, Coordinator of the African Biodiversity Network (ABN) will be speaking at the “Take the Flour Back” rally at Rothamsted on 27th May.

Gathuru Mburu, who will be in the UK at the end of May for the launch of a new film about the corporate takeover of seed through GMOs, has made the following statement:

“It gives us strength to see the British people standing up to the irresponsible release of genetically modified foods into the ecosystem. We have seen the negative effects that crops like this have had in India, where GM cotton crops failed in their claims of pest resistance, and sent farmers into spiraling debt. Experimenting with staple crops is a serious threat to food security. Our resilience comes from diversity not from monocultures of GM. Seed saving is the basis of African farmers’ security and livelihood, but patented GM crops forbid farmers from saving their own seed. This is a violation of Farmers’ Rights. Furthermore, there is always a strong likelihood that GM will cross-pollinate with our crops, and that we will lose our indigenous diversity forever. Indigenous seed is traditionally celebrated in African rites of passage, so GM will further erode Africa’s Rights to indigenous, cultural foods and the knowledge systems which surround these.”

Mburu continues: “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. This story is about controlling seed, and thereby the farmer, his land, and the food system. The globalisation of food markets has led to growing hunger, and the unrelenting greed of corporations who see the huge financial potential in controlling the global food system. Farmers and communities in the areas most affected by food shortages and climate change do not want GM. GM does not support a resilient, nutritious or sustainable food system. Instead it creates dependence on corporations and increased vulnerability to hunger and poverty. Actions against GM, by movements like the African Biodiversity Network, Via Campesina, and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, are happening across Africa and beyond. 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”.

Liz Hosken, Director of The Gaia Foundation has also spoken out in support of the campaign by Take the Flour Back. She says, “The contamination risk that the Rothamsted wheat trial poses cannot be underestimated. But there is also much more to this debate than what we see here in the UK. As things stand today, GM is the tool used to see out a corporate agenda for the takeover and monopoly of the global food system. The potential for profit through controlling something so essential to us all, is what really drives GMO research. Small scale, diversity-rich farming is being eroded and replaced with ever-larger monocultures deserts. This displaces farmers from their land, and huge amounts of traditional agricultural knowledge and diverse indigenous seeds are lost forever. We cannot support any trial which reinforces the myth that GM is there as a benefit to people and planet, when in reality it feeds not humans, but a greedy corporate agenda.

Extracts from the film Seeds of Freedom

“Farmers breed for resilience. And therefore they breed for cooperative arrangements. They don’t breed one crop. They know they must have many crops because the climate changes. They know they must have many crops, because nutritional needs are diverse. Once a company starts to see royalty collections from every seed, it pushes its genetically engineered crops, to replace the native crops that farmers and peasants have grown over millennia.” Dr Vandana Shiva of Navdanya

Henk Hobbelink, Coordinator of GRAIN, who this week published the book ‘The Great Food Robbery’ also features in the film and asks “What are we supposed to do with these GM seeds? Seeds are supposed to be planted, multiplied, exchanged, further adapted, and so on. That’s exactly what is not allowed from the corporate mindset. The corporations sell or license us the seed to use the seed in a specific way – the way that they are interested in. Full stop.”

At the close of Seeds of Freedom, MP Zac Goldsmith asserts that the GM agenda is “nothing to do with feeding the world. It’s nothing to do with tackling some of the huge issues we’re facing today. It’s about control of the food sector, of the food economy. We need to radically change course, and return to diversity”.

More information about Seeds of Freedom will soon be available at