Sunday 9 April 2000

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A party to celebrate the failure of the GM crop of winter oilseed rape at Piccotts End, Hemel Hempstead is being staged near the site on Sunday 9 April. Piccotts End, however, is now listed as the site for a spring planting of GM rape, and so the event will also mark the start of a renewed campaign against GMO releases into the Hertfordshire countryside.

As the GM winter crop flopped, the twenty-five acre farm-scale trial was reduced to brown mud. The tiny shoots were attacked by beetles and pigeons. (How far do pigeons fly, spreading GMOs?) Most of the site has now been ploughed up but an area of GM rape remains. It is obviously healthier than it was but big questions remain about continuing genetic pollution when the "scientific" test of which it was once a part has ended. (Government attempts to justify genetic pollution resulting from GM trial crops is based on the need for scientific tests. Since this test has failed, those grounds do not apply to the present pollution which is therefore wholly gratuitous.)

The local campaign has been gathering strength (7000 signatures handed in recently to sympathetic Labour MP, Tony McWalter) in readiness for the new planting.

The Crop’s A Flop Party is to replace a rally planned by The Hemel Hempstead GM Action Group (HHGMAC). Martin Humphrey from HHGMAC said "The campaign was to culminate in a rally at the GM site on Sunday 9th April. We had planned a major event. However, now that there is no crop to see we are planning an informal celebration in Gaddesden Row near the field, entitled the "Crop’s A Flop Party". All are welcome to come and join in from 1 pm on the 9th April and toast the failure of the genetically modified
plants to grow. It should be a happy occasion. As the farmer is to grow further GM crops soon we are expecting to hold a big Garden Party in the summer."

Bring an organic picnic - there will be costumes, music, poetry, performance and speakers.

For further information:

Local Group: HHGMAG, contact Martin Humphrey

Tel: 01442 264766

web site:

GMO Campaign, Oxford: contact Sarah Brown

Tel: 01865 513224

Fax: 01865 310773