The justice and human rights group Action from Ireland (Afri) held a protest action at the Department of the Environment on Easter Monday to express its opposition to the proposed introduction of genetically modified (GM) potatoes into Ireland. Protesters wearing potato masks, and carrying a banner with the slogan “hands off our genes”, called on the Environmental Protection Agency to reject Teagasc’s recent application to introduce GM potatoes to County Carlow.
Afri spokesperson Lisa Patten described the Teagasc application as “contaminating” Ireland’s green reputation. Ms Patten said “this move would be a serious blow to our food sovereignty and undermine this indigenous and flourishing part of the Irish economy which is part of the fabric of our social and cultural heritage. Introducing genetically modified food into our food sector is a cul de sac for the Irish people and seriously damaging to our reputation as a green, clean island. Our government should be doing everything they can to develop our proven potential to become the hub for GM-free food which the European market in particular is demanding, as well as safeguarding the safety and food security of the Irish people.”
Afri would like to thank the hundreds of people who joined us on a wonderful sunny day for our 22nd Annual Famine Walk from Doolough to Louisburgh on Saturday, 22 May.
The walk leaders Justin Kilcullen of Trócaire, Felicity Lawrence, writer and journalist for the Guardian, and Jo Newton of the Irish Seed Savers Association opened the event with short reflections on the walk theme: Hunger in a World of Plenty: Sowing Seeds of Hope.
The various speakers outlined how the injustices that led to the Irish Great Famine continue today in terms of unequal global food distribution and the way in which multinational companies increasingly control agriculture and the food processing system, while small farmers and food producers struggle to survive. A linking thread was that food insecurity will continue and intensify today unless we tackle issues such as loss of biodiversity, global warming, corporate control of food production, and the patenting and aggressive marketing of genetically modified seeds.
‘Hunger in a World of Plenty – Sowing Seeds of Hope’
Afri’s second of three ‘ Education for Liberation’ events, on the theme of ‘Hunger in a World of Plenty – Sowing Seeds of Hope’ took place on Thursday, 18 March 2010, in Kildare town. About 100 students aged 15-16 years old from 4 different schools in the Kildare/Laois region participated in the event.
Food and hunger have been issues of central concern for Afri since its inception 35 years ago. Afri was founded to respond to the scandal of hunger in a world of plenty, a situation which, unfortunately, has worsened rather than improved in the intervening period.
Afri believes in tackling the causes of hunger rather than merely responding to the symptoms. Those causes include the arms trade (costing a staggering €1400 billion annually); the neo-liberal economic system, which concentrates large amounts of resources, including food, in the hands of a small number of people; climate change and global warming; and the corporate takeover of food production, resulting in food being treated as a purely commercial product, thus denying access to the people who are most vulnerable. Continue reading “Education for Liberation in Kildare town”
Despite the snow and frost, over a hundred people made their way to the Derby House Hotel in Kildare for Afri’s annual Féile Bríde Conference on February 8th.
The theme ‘seeds of hope…seeds of change’ was reflected in the snowdrops peeping through the snow, as we gathered for the annual festival of words, music, dance and cooking! Frida Berrigan and Denis Halliday looked at our addiction to war and the cost to humanity and the planet while Chef Richard Corrigan and members of Irish Seed Savers Association together showed how to preserve our natural seed heritage, grow our own food and cook it in the most mouth watering way imaginable!