Sunday, 19 November 2017

Anti-GM demonstrators use farm vehicles in protest

ACTIVISTS drove a convoy of farm vehicles through Whitchurch in protest at genetically modified crops.

ACTIVISTS drove a convoy of farm vehicles through Whitchurch in protest at genetically modified crops.

The group was led by Sir Julian Rose, who owns the Hardwick Estate in the village and is a critic of GM farming.

The protestors were raising awareness of the plight of farmers in Poland, where international corporations are said to be buying up farmland and farmers have reacted by blockading cities.

Sir Julian, 65, who declared his estate a “GMO-free zone” last year, hit the road on Saturday morning in a tractor daubed with Polish and English slogans.

He was followed by about 25 supporters in a Land Rover, another tractor and two cars. They waved banners designed by Sir Julian’s 26-year-old son Lawrence, who is a graffiti artist.

Among those taking part were James Norman, who grows crops at Path Hill Farm on Sir Julian’s estate, and Jadwiga Lopata, the founder of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside.

The protesters crossed Whitchurch Bridge and set up camp outside the Garlands farm shop in Pangbourne, where they handed out leaflets to passers-by. They had planned to drive to Reading but feared it might cause too much disruption.

Sir Julian said: “We had a really good day — it was very well supported. This issue affects us all — it’s happening on such an international scale that distinctions between countries are irrelevant.”

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