Select Committee on Agriculture Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Anna Appelmelk (F65)

  This is my submission, which I ask to be considered by the Select Committee on Agriculture in the enquiry into organic farming.

  I am a member of the Stroud Campaign for Safe Food and enclose our document of principles [not printed], and a "Time to Choose", which was presented by one of our members at the recent hearing into the proposed decision to add GM Chardon LL maize to the National Seeds List held under the auspices of MAFF. This, if allowed, would open the doorway to commercial planting of GM seeds. This document has been widely distributed in this country and is also available on Iceland's Website.

  I feel the environmental and community aspects of organic farming need to be given far more publicity and especially financial support by the present Government. I refer to the recent organic debate in Parliament on 5 July 2000, which David Drew sent me.

  The interactions between GM test-trials and organic farming and the threat from cross-pollination that these sites pose is, for me, one of the main concerns, that the organic sector needs a considered place in this debate, where the choice for these farmers and of course the consumer is under threat.

  The enclosed article (not printed) on crop pesticide sprays (Independent 5 October 2000) gives one clear reason against proliferation of non-organic, larger scale farming to the detriment of organic production and the general public. The dramatic increase of food-poisoning bacteria, especially E.Coli 0157, which are highly resistant to antibiotics, begs the question of pesticide application. As a trained nurse and social worker my concerns are evident, both medical, social and within the community. I have been involved in environmental issues since the 1970's, on a voluntary basis.

  I feel the rapid demise of small-scale farms, and the government failure to recognise these farmers, their hardships, depression and often suicides and the loss to the community and environment of this way of life, is being given insufficient consideration to the detriment of all of us, both the urban and rural population. A possible future of large scale farming and theme parks, whereby the natural habitat, often managed for centuries by these small scale farmers would be tragically lost is there to be seen.

  I enclose this beautiful picture of a honey bee (not printed) and the beekeepers prayer, as the whole issue of GM crops and test-trial sites and their affect on bees is an issue which I hope you will consider very carefully.

  Beekeepers are slowly recovering from the disastrous effects of Varroa and now GM trial-sites pose a further threat which organic farming could come a long way to hold in balance.

  Thank you for giving consideration to these points and reading a "Time to Choose".

24 October 2000

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