Media campaigns to save the “Linda Potato”, Germany

We want Linda back! The story of the migrant asylum seeker patato

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">The strict laws regarding what kinds of seeds can be sold have left farmers in Germany with very little choice about what to sow on their farms, as they are limited to only a few industrial and uniform varieties. Sometimes farmers may like a particular variety, but it can quickly disappear when the variety becomes unprofitable to the company who bred it. This is what happened in 2004 when the German seed company Europlant took back ‘Linda,’ a popular variety of potato. The 30 years of the company’s exclusive property claims on ‘Linda’ through a PVP certificate had run out, and with it, the 10-15% licensing fees on the price that they could charge each time the variety was sold as seed. When the Europlant breeders asked that ‘Linda’ be taken off the catalogue, anyone who farmed it commercially would be acting illegally. ‘Linda’ was to disappear from the market, to be replaced by new varieties for which profitable licensing fees could be charged once again. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Yet thanks to farmers’ organised resistance and a good media campaign, within months a strong ‘save the Linda potato’ campaign ensued all over Germany. German consumers who generally know how to identify two types of crops reliably—apples and potatoes—recognised ‘Linda’ as a variety that they liked and supported the farmers. In the courts, it was settled that ‘Linda’ could remain on the market for two more years. Thereafter, ‘Linda’ did not meet the strict requirements needed to remain on the German catalogue. Yet it is today again available to farmers all over Europe because it was accepted for sale in another European country, this time in England. The ‘Linda’ potato is seen as a success story against the industry. But the incident also made farmers acutely aware of how much they depend on the market and on the whims of the companies who only offer profitable seed varieties on the market. <br/><br/>Another case in Germany ended up with a farmers victory when the highest court ruled that companies could not send “spies” to inquire what kind of seeds farmers were using on their farms in order to collect royalties.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Media campaigns to save the “Linda Potato”, Germany</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/germany">Germany</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)<br /> Biopiracy and bio-prospection</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/fruits-and-vegetables'>Fruits and Vegetables</a><br />Seeds</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>01/01/2005</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>28/08/2009</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/europlant-pflanzenzucht-gmbh'>Europlant Pflanzenzucht GmbH</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/germany'><small>Germany</small></a> - <small>seeds, agro-industry</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/european-union'>European Union <small>(EU)</small></a><br /><a href='/institution/union-for-the-protection-of-new-plant-varieties'>Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties <small>(UPOV)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/switzerland'><small>Switzerland</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Freundeskreis "Rettet die Linda", comprised by (1):<br/><br/>Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft <br/><br/>Bioland <br/><br/>Demeter<br/><br/>Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg <br/><br/>Slowfood</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Local ejos<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Consumers</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Development of a network/collective action<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Street protest/marches</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Stopped</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Court decision (victory for environmental justice)<br /> Court decision (failure for environmental justice)<br /> Application of existing regulations</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Yes</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>On 28.08.2009, the Linda potato was legally re-registered for plantation and sale in EU country England. According to EU-law, plants registered in one country also have to be allowed in other countries, for which reason, and upon request of German farmers, Linda was re-registered in Germany the year after.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> The Plant Variety Protection Law, Germany<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (1) Wikipedia on Linda, the potato<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Campaigner's webpage on the story (german)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Movie "Immer Ärger um Linda - Der Kampf um eine Kartoffel" (german)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Linda potatoes</strong> Source:;art356,831484<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>EJOLT Team</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>24/02/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>