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SEEDmail #20 – February 2012

1. Reclaim the Seed Sovereignty weekend

Just before spring seeds and seedlings are ready to be put into the ground, a seed exchange will be held during the weekend of 10-11 March in Amsterdam. On Saturday there will be a market where seeds will be sold, traded and given away. Bring your seeds and swap away! Over 20 organisations, farmers and (urban) food activists with seed & info stalls, from The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, 13 workshops covering a variety on seed and agriculture topics, ongoing film screenings, urban gardening help desk, seed bomb making, and children activities, a debate about the future of our seeds and the importance of seed sovereignty, food and life music. On Sunday 4 workshops, a guerilla gardening manifestation, community gardening, a beetelling.

10-11 March 2012,
Plantage Doklaan 8-12, Amsterdam

For more information: http://reclaimtheseeds.nl

Looking for Volunteers for the Seed weekend
We are looking for volunteers that can help on Friday evening 9th, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th. Tasks include
setting up, cleaning and taking down,
receiving stand-holders, speakers, visitors,
taking care of the workshop spaces,
bar shifts,
making brief reports of workshops,
translation FR ↔ NL ↔ ENG, ASEED info-stand.
We need 5 to 15 people at a time, biggest group during the Saturday daytime workshop program, you can choose 1 or more shifts or tasks, that is up to you. Want to help out? E-mail: linda@aseed.net

2. Kokopelli Collective on the way to success within the European seed regulations
The public prosecutor of the European court of justice has announced his disapproval of the banning  the sale of seeds not registered in the official European list of varieties. This ban is suppose to be in conflict with freedom of  entrepreneurship and the principle of maintaining fully competitive conditions. It has been established that the addition of varieties is independent from the health of the plants or health risk of the consumers and that farmers should have the right to determine themselves which varieties they cultivate.
Complete article: https://www.aseed.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=874&Itemid=1

3. Agriculture Action Camp 2012 – Oud-Heusden, The Netherlands
Yes, yes, yes, the organisation of the second outdoor gathering in The Netherlands of people that are taking the future of our agriculture and food in their own hands, has kicked off. Date and place have been set: 5-10 July in the village of Oud-Heusden, not far from Den Bosch in the middle of the Netherlands. We’ve chosen to make it a bit longer than last year, and there will be more space for pratical skill training and sharing, and vegetable gardening activities.
You are still welcome to join the prep group, next meeting is March 20, 19.30 above the ACU, Voorstraat 17, Utrecht. Please send an email in advance to landbouwactiekamp@aseed.net.

4. Handing out the soy-petition

Thursday February 9th Ahold has received 26.000 autographs from consumers from different European countries. They asked the supermarkets to stop misleading the consumer with fake sustainability claims. The protest targeted the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS). Hugo Byrnes, who represents Ahold in the RTRS, did not want to accept the autographs himself, even though just before he had had a conversation with us. Ahold’s spokesperson, Jochem van Laarschot, did accept the autographs, but did not want to give any further comments.
Link to the press release: https://www.aseed.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=877&Itemid=1

5. BASF announces GMO retreat from Europee
The multinational chemical company BASF announced on January 16th to halt any developments and marketing of genetically modified plants in Europe. They stated that the rejection of GMOs is too strong in the EU. BASF focused especially on the developments of potatoes on the European market. It seems that their plans within the Netherlands have also come to a halt, regarding the Amflora potato (production of propagating material) and the development of Modena together with Dutch starch cooperative AVEBE. The approval process of the GM consumption potato Fortuna will be finished and include a field trial in Dinteloord (NL) and in Sweden and Germany as well.

For more information read the article here: https://www.aseed.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=873&Itemid=1

6. Workshop on agroecological farming alternatives and food movement building
ASEED was present at this workshop which took place on the December 14th. The goal of the workshop was to get people together that want to change the local food system in Amsterdam. There was space for exchanging ideas and the two guests Miguel Altieri (expert on agroecology) and Eric Holt-Giménez (Food First) told us more about agroecology and how the principles of it can be applied in city agriculture and how to change the food system so it will fit with our views better, by establishing a food policy council for example, respectively. There will be follow-up meetings to start a process, keep an eye on our website if you are interested.

The workshop was part of a series of more workshops and lectures, see for more information here: https://www.aseed.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=868&Itemid=1

7. Food sovereignty and VersVoko / Fresh-Food-Coops
ASEED has entered a new phase of its activities to promote the food sovereignty and Fresh-Food-Coop. We will continue to help new Fresh Food Coops to start up and facilitate exchange and cooperation between the existing Coops. Focus is on making practical administration software and a toolkit. If you are interested in helping to think about software and/or have some programming skills please contact ASEED via versvoko@aseed.net. We have some budget for this.

On another level we want to make more people aware of the concept of food sovereignty and get more people actively involved and interested in achieving food sovereignty in the Netherlands. Food sovereignty is the right of people to healthy and cultural fitting food, produced in an ecological and sustainable way in a food -and agriculture system that is shaped by people themselves. If you are interested to learn more about food sovereignty you can come to the workshop on Saturday at the Reclaim the Seeds weekend. If you are interested in Fresh Food Coops you can come to the workshop on Sunday. You can also invite us for doing an info & discussion evening in your favorite social center or hangout: email info@aseed.net.

8.Flemish ngo´s reject field trial of gmo-corn VIB
(VILT Be – 27/01/2012) – The Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) is planning a field trial with gmo-corn. Fifteen ngo´s filed their complains during a public hearing of the FOD Volksgezondheid en Leefmilieu (department for public health). They call the field trial undesirable, since neither farmers or citizens or the environment benefit through this genetically modified corn. They state that the field trial is soley of commercial interest.

9. Slow Science Workshop, 30 March 2012, VUB Brussels
The controversy around the dismissal of Barbara Van Dyck from KULeuven – for her public support of an action of civil disobedience against a genetically modified potato field in May 2011 – and the arguments used to justify it, is the symptom of a deeper malaise. It reveals the restructuration of the university into a science enterprise, increasingly dependent on industrial and other outsider interests, market mechanisms, and competition. Science has come to be seen mainly as a purveyor of technological innovation and increased competitiveness on a globalized market. This shift not only restricts the choice of research topics and curricula but also threatens the quality of the knowledge.

Confronted with this, there is a need for defending and promoting ‘slow science’. Just like the ‘slow food’ movement defends qualitative food against fast food, slow science urges rethinking the current university, against the fast, competitive, benchmarked research. This workshop will reflect on different strategies for keeping Slow Science possible.

10. Vokomokum on Dutch television
Nederland 2 – Februari 28th: “10 x beter”
For the people in The Netherlands or that understand Dutch: Organic foodcoop from Amsterdam, Vokomokum, will be on Dutch television! NPR ‘Healthmagazine – 10xbetter’ – February 28th at 19:20 on Nederland 2 and afterwards online on www.uitzendinggemist.nl.

11. Wij zijn het megazat – 17 March 12.00hr – Dam square Amsterdam
Manifestation against mega-stables, animal industry and destruction of nature and the environment. Inspired by the demonstration on January 23 in Berlin. ASEED will join, you too?

Another vacancy for a GMO activism / campaigner position might come up soon.

If you are interested contact us via info@aseed.net and keep an eye on our website for more details..