GMO 2.0 - can local food chains survive the threat of gene editing?

GMO 2.0 - can local food chains survive the threat of gene editing?

GMOs in food and farming have fallen off the public agenda. Potential deregulation of gene editing means we must get them back on.


CSA Network UK webinar: Wed, 23 June 2021 19:00 to 20:30 BST

For many years now the issue of GMOs in food and farming has fallen off the public agenda in the UK.

But with the recent government consultation on deregulating a new kind of genetic engineering called ‘gene editing’, there is an opportunity to look afresh at an experimental technology which is now at the heart of government agricultural and economic policy - and funding.

People working in local and community farming initiatives may be particularly affected by deregulation since seeds and produce created with genetic engineering would no longer be labelled and could easily slip into local supply chains.

This session aims to bring those involved in local and regional food production up to speed on the latest developments in genetic engineering, to examine claims that we need it to make farming sustainable and ‘feed the world’ - and to provide an agroecological framework for thinking and talking about the ‘new GMOs,’ and insulating local food chains from their potential impacts.


Pat Thomas is an author campaigner and co-founder and director of Beyond GM/A Bigger Conversation in the UK. She is a former editor of the Ecologist magazine, has run campaigns for Compassion in World Farming and Paul McCartney’s Meat Free Monday. She has sat on the boards of the Soil Association, the Organic Research Centre and GMO Free USA.

Liz O’Neill is the Director of UK umbrella campaign GM Freeze. A campaigner and communications specialist, she has focused on environmental and food-related causes for many years but first encountered genetic engineering in the lab as a Biochemistry undergraduate.

Lawrence Woodward is a director of Whole Health Agriculture and a co-founder and former Director of the Organic Research Centre. He advises on the principles and methods of holistic and organic agriculture to a wide range of organisations. He is also a founding director of Beyond GM.


This webinar is a partnership between the CSA Network UK, the Seed Sovereignty Programme run by the Gaia Foundation, the Landworkers’ Alliance, and the Organic Growers Alliance and forms part of a webinar series funded by Farming the Future.

The webinar programme focuses on practical teaching and farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchanges from farmers and growers from around the UK. The series is designed to increase knowledge exchange and learning on both the politics and practice of agroecology, seed sovereignty and food sovereignty.

If you would like to be involved in running a webinar, a theme or practice you would would like to know more about, or have a specific topic you would like to present on please get in touch with us at

Go to Eventbrite


If you aren’t part of any of the organisations running this programme but would like to sign as a member up please check us out at:


Seed Sovereignty Programme (for growers interested in saving and producing seed)

Landworkers’ Alliance: (for all types of farming and sectors)

Organic Growers Alliance: (for market gardens and vegetable farms)

CSA Network UK: (For community support agriculture schemes)

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