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Non GM Potatoes planted at Hedon test site

spud planter | 21.04.2007 14:24 | Bio-technology | Ecology | Cambridge | Sheffield

Protesters are planting non-GM potatoes in the field near Hull where BASF intend to trial their GM potato variety. About 100 protesters are spread across the large (several acre) field, with two mounted police and 2 foot police standing by watching - not even filming, for once.

Update: 2 cops on off road motorcycles have entered the field.

150 people attended the protest in Hull to listen to speeches and enjoy a GM free potato picnic - some food provided by Veggies of Nottingham and music provided by Seize the Day (among others).

People are attending from around the country, including Cambridge (where the other trial is) and from as far as Brighton and Bristol.

Photos will follow.

spud planter
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First pictures from the action

21.04.2007 19:08

Setting off to work
Setting off to work

more pictures:


More photos...

21.04.2007 19:58

The march on its way to the field
The march on its way to the field

The demands
The demands

In a surprise move, demonstrators start planting non-GM potatoes
In a surprise move, demonstrators start planting non-GM potatoes

Juggling hot potatoes
Juggling hot potatoes

We put them in the ground...
We put them in the ground...

... and the police dig them up again (but soon give up)
... and the police dig them up again (but soon give up)


Platypus Bill

Dancing Potato Heads

22.04.2007 19:08



Hide the following 7 comments

Police recruitment in Hull

21.04.2007 18:35

they must be desperate to allow such short coppers.

Well done to all who made it.


Chips anyone?

22.04.2007 01:12

Maybe Humberside Police should open up a new chip shop in Hull, using the spuds they took from the field. It might help raise a few needed pennies to buy themselves a camera and a few more plastic cops.


magic beans

22.04.2007 17:01

there was a bit of concern that beans had already been planted, does anyone know anything about that?

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tragic beans

22.04.2007 18:41

Indeed, those on the field were dismayed to discover that the field had been planted with beans within the last month. However, research indicated that these field beans were a nitrogen fixing crop (green manure) that would be ploughed in when the potatoes were planted. There was certainly no other possible field in the area signified by the grid reference provided by the government unless the farmer was planning on harvesting one of the winter rape fields before planting the potato crop and that would mean a really late start which would be totally non representative in terms of the trial and totally unscientific. We shall see soon enough.

Good work everyone.


on the beans...

23.04.2007 13:06

sorry but if as you say the beans had been planted in the last month then they were not sown as a nitrogen fixing crop. green manures are typically planted very late summer/early autumn to be dug up in the spring.


Wrong field

23.04.2007 16:36

BASF is today saying that the wrong field was targeted by the protests and that the actual field intended for the trial is a set-aside field. However, photo graphic evidence shows that the field they claim they plan to plant the trial in is currently being used to grow another crop.

The plot thickens.


wrong field, right result

23.04.2007 17:22

Given a 4-figure map reference which only has one clear unplanted field, it's an understandable mistake.

Even if it's the wrong field, it doesn't make much difference. The pea crop is mostly still underground, only a few shoots have broken through the soil. This means the people walking around the field did no appreciable damage to the crop.

The real test is not potatoes for blight resistance; it's about testing the UK public for GM resistance. By having over 100 people taking direct action on the site in broad daylight in front of the cops has given a clear result to the test.

The pea farmer isn't going to be out of pocket, and the prospective GM farmer and the BASF directors are going to have the clear message that wherever they plant it, it will be ripped up.

Well done to everyone involved.