Workshop B3: Organic agriculture and diversity of nutrition

The world gets poorer with and wealthier without genetic engineering!, Case Studies
What will the world miss if it pins its hopes on genetic engineering?

Saturday, 25th April 2009, 9:00 – 11:30

Chair and moderation:

Markus Arbenz, Bio Suisse


1: Peter Zipser, Arche Noah, Austria
2: Markus Arbenz, Bio Suisse, Switzerland
3: Carlo Bogliotti, Slow Food, Italy
4: Bernward Geier, former IFOAM director, Germany


We often discuss the dangers of genetic engineering. In this workshop we will, for once, be turning the tables and examining the opportunities offered by a GMO-free world. We will debate and try to prove the following thesis: The world will be poorer with GMOs and richer without them. We will exchange examples that illustrate how the plates and wallets of the general public are being enriched thanks to grassroots initiatives that bring about a GMO-free world, organic agriculture, slow food and genetic diversity. An inspiration for us all!


Minutes of the Workshop (pdf, 100 KB, English)

(1) Input speech Peter Zipser, Austria
Presentation: Thanks to a GMO-free world: How genetic diversity enriches us (pdf, 100 KB, English)
about: Agrobiodiversity. Peter is concerned about seed/varieties, about farmers’ awareness (including organic) for diversity, about supermarket and agriculture structure, about knowledge systems and adaptation of varieties and breeding. He asks for participatory seed breeding and its funding and for money for grassroots action and not just for campaigns. He pleads for 0.0 GMO, 0.3 is too much. (;;

(2) Input speech Carlo Bogliotti, Italy
Thanks to GMO-free: Richness on the plate thanks Slow Food
advocates for pleasure of food in his network covering more than 80 countries. His movie shows impressively the variety of foods and of people at their Terra Madre world gathering in Torino, which included farmers, cooks, scientists musicians and young people. Their products follow the principles of being good (taste, for mind), clean (sustainability) and fair (for farmers and their culture, for the dignity of the south). and;

(3) Input speech Bernward Geier
Presentation: Thanks to a GMO-free world: Richness of organic farming worldwide (pdf, 1,4 MB, English) Trailers of the films „Leben ausser Kontrolle“ and „Percy Schmeiser, David gegen Monsanto“
Bernward Geier shows that the fate of nature is different than just production of calories. We need clever solutions for the benefit of all. E.g to fight the stemborer in Africa or to use bees “to spray” or to use biodiversity for providing vitamins to people or to breed ducks in paddy fields. He states that scientists/industry “crossed the boarders” and that “we need to rescue the cow”. Organic food keeps the diversity on the plates! It’s so logic, Bio Logic!

(4) Input speech Markus Arbenz, Switzerland
Presentation: Thanks to a GMO-free world: How organic agriculture enriches Swiss farmers. (pdf, 1,2 MB, English)
shows how successful Bio Suisse works with its Bud label (Knospe) in Switzerland. The bud has a holistic approach. If Switzerland stays GMO free as a whole it will have a big advantage in marketing its farmers products, since consumer are strongly asking. They don’t want GM food and are ready to pay for it. ;

(5) The trailer of the new film: “Percy Schmeiser, David against Monsanto” shows that it is worth fighting for the wealth of people. The film will be available in the next few weeks.

(6) Participants emphasize the need of networking with the GMO free world and the important role of the internet. It is recognised, that organic agriculture can feed the world. Hunger is a problem of poverty. Organic agriculture is a unique system that manages to provide solutions to global challenges. And it isn’t a matter of size, but of local adaptation to the reality of people their ecosystems and their knowledge.

Background and references

Gene Food and Designerbabies Trailer, Production Company, Germany,

Percy Schmeiser, David versus Monsanto Trailer, Production Company, Germany,