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Media campaigns to save the “Linda Potato”, Germany

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


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.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Media campaigns to save the “Linda Potato”, Germany
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Biopiracy and bio-prospection
Specific commodities:Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Start of the conflict:01/01/2005
End of the conflict:28/08/2009
Company names or state enterprises:Europlant Pflanzenzucht GmbH from Germany - seeds, agro-industry
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU)
Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV) from Switzerland
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Freundeskreis "Rettet die Linda", comprised by (1):
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft
Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain: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.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Plant Variety Protection Law, Germany
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Campaigner's webpage on the story (german)
[click to view]

(1) Wikipedia on Linda, the potato
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Movie "Immer Ärger um Linda - Der Kampf um eine Kartoffel" (german)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJOLT Team
Last update24/02/2015
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