Monster tomato tour
From June 20th until the end of July 2007, a Monster Tomato will be touring through Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria to raise awareness on genetically modified food and crops. Passing through 18 cities in all the main regions of the three countries, the Monster Tomato Tour will be the opportunity for citizens, media and politicians to find out more about GMOs. There will be opportunities for local governments and mayors to make GMO-free commitments and join the growing number of GMO-free zones throughout Europe.
The introduction of genetically modified crops (GM or GMOs) poses irreversible risks to farmers and the environment, and their impacts on human health are not known.The biotechnology industry has pushed for commercialisation of GM products before they can prove that people and the environment won't be adversely affected in the long
Biotechnology companies have been particularly active in central and eastern European countries and have exploited a lack of legislation and awareness to push their interests. Whilst awareness of GMOs in the European Union is relatively high there is very little public awareness in the South Eastern Europe and Balkan regions. The aim of the Monster Tomato Tour is to increase people's understanding of the GMOs issue in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania.
What is the tomato?
The Giant Tomato is a 6-metre high inflatable frowning tomato to illustrate the threat from GMOs and the need to resist their introduction into our countryside, our farming and our foods before all their impacts are properly assessed.
The Giant Tomato has previously toured through the capital cities in 9 European countries, as well as touring through cities in Georgia and Turkey. This summer the tour will pass through 18 cities, in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania.
What are GM-free regions?
At least 174 regions, over 4500 municipalities and other local entities and tens of thousands of farmers and food producers in Europe have declared themselves "GMO-free" expressing their commitment not to allow the use of genetically modified organisms in the agriculture and food in their territories.
In the European Union alone, without counting zones in countries like Norway, Georgia, Russia, there are approximately 280 Regions which have declared themselves GMO-free and more than 4500 other zones (town councils, etc) that have joined the growing movement. For more information, visit the GM-free regions website
About 40 of the EU Regions have officially come together to form the GMOfree Network of Region (link) and work together for quality, environmentally friendly GMO-free farming.
Friends of the Earth Europe
Friends of the Earth is the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe campaigning for sustainable solutions to benefit the planet, people and our common future. The federation is united by a common belief in strong grassroots activism and effective national and international advocacy. Friends of the Earth Europe is the European branch of Friends of the Earth International, the world's largest grassroots environmental network uniting 73 national member organisations and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent
Friends of the Earth Europe has been working on GMOs, food and farming issues for more than 10 years. On GMOs, the campaign covers policy and advocacy work at the EU institutions and information distribution through the network of member groups. More about the FoEE GMOs campaign