SPORTING bakers' hats, aprons and wooden spoons, a coach-load of Totnes residents joined a national protest in Harpenden, Hertsfordshire, against a field trial of genetically modified wheat. They joined more than 400 growers, bakers and families. They swapped bread, plants and seeds, and marched against the return of open-air GM field trials to the UK.
Sylvia Harrop, a retired Devon hotelier and keen baker, who attended the 'Take the Flour Back' event said: "I thought that we had seen off genetically engineered foods last time around. But GM is steadily coming back onto the UK menu, and when the event was announced, we knew that staying at home wasn't an option.
"On the day we heard speakers from Africa, Argentina, and France explaining the worldwide impacts of the last 10 years of GM farming. Nobody I've talked to wants to eat GM bread, and yet GM is being ushered into the UK. If this continues we'll become like other countries where non-GM farms are being contaminated by GM crops, and consumers lose the choice to eat non-GM. There was a great turn-out, and it was a chance to show our continued determination to keep GM food out of our fields and off our shelves. We returned to Totnes buoyant and re-inspired to re-double our efforts."
The climax of the event was a march, with UK demonstrators linking arms with their European counterparts, notably France's 'Volunteer Reapers', as the crowd walked towards the field of GM wheat before being stopped by police lines.
The Totnes Genetics Group meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 7pm in the Kingsbridge Inn, Totnes.