Seeds of Doubt
An activist’s controversial crusade against genetically modified crops.
Early this spring, the Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva led an unusual pilgrimage across southern Europe. Beginning in Greece, with the international Pan-Hellenic Exchange of Local Seed Varieties Festival, which celebrated the virtues of traditional agriculture, Shiva and an entourage of followers crossed the Adriatic and travelled by bus up the boot of Italy, to Florence, where she spoke at the Seed, Food and Earth Democracy Festival. After a short planning meeting in Genoa, the caravan rolled on to the South of France, ending in Le Mas d’Azil, just in time to celebrate International Days of the Seed.
Welcome to Andernach, Germany’s edible city
Forget flowers – carrots and herbs grow in the parks of Andernach in Germany
Walking down a busy street in downtown Kyoto a few years ago, I remember seeing a vacant plot between two buildings that was covered in row upon row of cabbages, kales and carrots, all looking ordered, huge and healthy. It was an amazing sight.
I was slightly puzzled by the economics of this vegetable patch – the return on the adjacent plots which housed bustling, smart shops with offices stacked almost to the sky might yield a little more, perhaps? – but apparently it was all due to a tax on redevelopment. In the UK, some towns here have started growing fruit and veg and fruit on odd bits of land, too. Edible bus stops are popping up in London and the appetite for growing food in urban spaces is hotting up. But when I heard about Andernach, a town in Germany which has ripped out its municipal plantings of berberis, mahonia and cotoneaster in the central green space and replaced them with fruit and veg, I thought I should send Boris Johnson a return plane ticket.