Big Gene Gathering +20 – London – 2nd December 2017


All Day


LARC (London Action Resource Centre)
62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London, E1 1ES

Event Type

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Celebrate 20 Years of Defeating Corporate GM Food!
December 2, 2017, (9.30am to 6pm)

(With socialising/celebrating in the evening of Dec 2nd and follow-up campaign planning on Dec 3rd, 10am to 3pm)


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Are you eating GM food?

The fact that you are mostly* not is down to 20 years of inspiring direct action and pressure by anti-GM activists. In 1997, sparked by the threatened invasion of Monsanto’s GM soya, the anti-GM food campaign erupted into the fields and streets of Britain. Five years of frenetic campaigning persuaded the British public that GM crops were an unacceptable threat to nature, farming and health. The supermarkets were forced to ban GM ingredients and repeated ‘decontamination’ of trial sites blocked GM crop development. By 2003 trials had stopped and there was a Europe-wide de-facto moratorium on growing new GM crops.  The myth that ‘you can’t stop technology’ was dead.

The Big Gene Gathering +20 is a chance to learn lessons about how to win on food and environment issues, and how to keep going for the long haul after the initial success and excitement fade.  Despite our victories, scientists and corporations are threatening a comeback with much more powerful new technologies that they claim are not GM and so don’t need regulating. Brexit may force GM crops and imported GM foods on us, while the new ‘synthetic biology’ aims at completely rewriting nature and even creating GM babies. So come and meet some of the hero(in)es of the anti-GM food campaign and discuss ways forward to combat the new threats to nature and people.

Speakers from: GM Freeze, Genetic Engineering Network, Beyond GM, GM Watch, Biofuel Watch, Econexus, Breaking the Frame, Human Genetics Alert and others.


10.00 – Introduction

10:15 – Panel on anti-GM campaign 1997-2003 – Jim McNulty, Olaf Bayer, Dave King

11.00 – Break

11:15 – 2004-2017

  • Liz O’Neill – EU De facto moratorium and Brexit
  • Lawrence Woodward – co-existence/contamination, the organic movement
  • Claire Robinson – scientific evidence on food safety and pest resistance
  • Linda Kaucher – GM and trade treaties

12.30 – Panel with all above speakers on 20 years of anti-GM campaigning

1.00 – Small groups on current and future campaigns

1.30 – Lunch

2.15 – Introduction to new technologies – Michael Antoniou

2:45 – Synbio biofuels and other products – Pete Deane

3:15 – Regulatory issues with new technologies – Helena Paul

3:45 – Break

4.00 – Gene drives – Jim Thomas

4:30 – GM babies – Dave King

5.00 – Break into small groups on campaign plans

5:30 – Closing, decision on further meetings on Sunday 3rd

We’re encouraging everyone to stay for the evening of Saturday Dec 2nd for socialising and celebrating, after the main event has finished.

Dec 3rd (10am to 3pm) will be devoted to planning new and existing campaigns.


Book now

Please help us publicise the event by sharing this on social media and within your networks.

*Products from animals fed on GM crops are still not banned or labelled.

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3 Responses to Big Gene Gathering +20 – London – 2nd December 2017

  1. Peter Brenton says:

    I will try to attend one or both events

  2. I feel I dare not miss this, even after 20+ years in my mini-campaigner slot… Sorry I can’t manage the second day but will be fully equipped to absorb the first one.

  3. Ursula stubbings says:

    Hope to come sat pm and Sun.

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