catching up (again)

Field Liberation Movement beer

i’m back in munich after a few weeks on the road with We have a situation! – all good but very busy, little time for reflection. we now have 3 weeks before the 4th & final (at least for this funding) situation, in graz at the end of may. so i’m in catch-up mode, & also trying to prepare for graz, then the transit festival soon after that.

after the eindhoven situation, i went to brussels for the weekend to work with agnez on some repairs to the magdalena project web site; as well as working, i met lots of her lovely friends, had a visit to the community garden that she is involved with, and learned about the field liberation movement. this is a belgian group dedicated to keeping GMOs out of open fields and promoting sustainable agriculture solutions. currently, eleven FLM activists are on trial following “the great potato swap” in 2011, where a field trial of GMO potatoes was replaced with organic potatoes. the activists have been charged with belonging to a criminal gang, and could be fined up to €200,000 in damages; at this stage they are appealing the decision and awaiting a new trial date. they have a lot of public support, and fundraising is being done to cover legal costs – including sales of organic produce such as this beer (pictured) and honey.

meanwhile on another part of the planet, andy & i are sponsoring the education of an indian girl through the AA Book Trust, a small indian organisation set up to promote reading and bring books to remote north indian villages. i learned about this organisation in 2009 when i had my residency at the villa waldberta just outside munich, and another of the residents at that time was arundhati deosthale, a writer and editor and one of the founders of the trust. As well as generally promoting literacy and publishing many childrens books in translation, the trust works to assists girls’ education and promote gender equality in a traditional patriarchal society. they are running a pilot project to produce picture books with female protagonists, and have a girls’ scholarship project to support girls’ education in the remote shitala region. “our” girl, bharti, lives in this region in the himalayan foothills of india, and is one of three local girls being sponsored. she’s 10 years old & the first school reports we have just received show her to be a good student. we are going to write to her so that she can get to know us, & perhaps one day we will manage to visit & meet her.