Who we are

In 1999, European NGOs and concerned scientists met in Brussels to discuss about how to prevent an uncontrolled contamination of fields and seeds in Europe with genetically modified organisms (GMO). For the first time, commercial cultivation of GMOs seemed to become an option also within the European Union. Inspired by the nuclear-free zone movement, the idea to spread GMO-free zones and regions, declared by citizens and their local and regional governments, started to sprout. After several discussions and small meetings, NGOs and the concerned scientists met in 2003 in Vienna, for the first GMO-Free-Zones strategy meeting.

The first GMO-Free Regions Conference was then held in Berlin in 2005, bringing together more than 200 people from all over Europe. Participants were not only from NGOs, but from the regional assembly of Brittany, a representative of the first GMO-free community in Hungary, regional ministers of agriculture from Salzburg, Carinthia (Austria) and Tuscany, delegates from Europe's biggest national farmers union, Coldiretti (Italy), the Union of Greek Prefectures, as well as farmers, seed savers, scientists, nature protection experts and environmental activists, and also the vice-president of the European Parliament's agricultural committee were joined the conference.

Since then, the GMO-Free-Regions movement continued to grow. What had started as an European movement spread beyond the continent. At our meetings today, participants from Japan and Korea, from Australia and New Zealand, Africa and the Americas are welcome guests and speakers.

The regular conferences (usually every 2 years) are made possible by co-organisers, supporters and participants. See the list of past conferences here

The European GMO-Free Regions Conference is not a formal entity but has a secretariat, based in Berlin at the Foundation on Future Farming (Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft) and is maintained by Benedikt Haerlin (Berlin, Germany) and Akiko Frid (Osby, Sweden).