The Reclaim the Seeds Weekend of 2014 will be taking place on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th of March 2014 in Groningen, the north-east of the Netherlands. This is the third edition, following on from previous events in Amsterdam and Den Bosch. The seed fair offers a wide range of interested parties the opportunity to exchange seeds and knowledge about seeds, sustainable agriculture and the current threats to seed diversity.
One of our goals this time round is to create more exchanges between Netherlands and the north of Germany and other European regions. In several countries there are now interesting initiatives to preserve heritage, regional and other interesting crops. The current climate in Europe around seed laws means it is almost imperative to keep strong connections across borders and to continue to exchange seeds. And naturally we hope the event will encourage gardeners from this area to store and share their seeds in the future. The previous events attracted hundreds of people to the seed fair, workshops and discussions.
The man part of the debates and workshops will be held in Dutch, but there may also be parts of the program in English. We will try to arrange translation so that everyone can participate in the program as much as possible.
We hope that you will join us this March, whether as stall-holders or just visitors. We would really appreciate it if you could help us spread this announcement, by sending it on to your networks.
Saturday 8th March: seed fair, film and debate
Saturday 8th of March will be a Market from which Individuals, organisations and farmers from the Netherlands and abroad can swap, give, buy and sell seeds. Going on simultaneously will be a workshop program. There will e practical workshops focussing on the self-cultivation of seeds and workshops that focus on international developments in the field of seeds and biodiversity. For example, there will be workshops focussing on new EU seed legislations and the effects of Monsanto on the agriculture internationally. In the evening you can attend a debate by experts, focussing on seed policy and it’s consequences for the Netherlands.
The seed fair and workshop programme will take place in Hortus Haren, a large botanical garden solely managed and maintained by volunteers.
Sunday 9th March: getting to know local projects
The Sunday will focus on getting your hands dirty with practical projects. There will be a bike tour through Groningen, to see what visit local initiatives such as neighbourhood gardens and allotments, and to see what they are doing. Where possible, riders can roll up their sleeves and give a helping hand preparing the gardens for the new season.
Why Reclaim the Seeds?
The production and distribution of healthy, resilient agricultural seeds is under pressure. Regulations make it increasingly difficult for small business owners and individuals to grow seeds for sale or exchange. At this time, the EU seed market legislation is under revision. At the same time, the production and sale of seeds is increasingly controlled by large international companies such as Monsanto. These developments mean that choices about food and agriculture are confined to a small number of companies and organizations. The big seed companies offer only a small number of varieties, varieties that are suitable for a large-scale, mechanized agriculture and the food processing industry. This is at the expense of the resilience and diversity of agriculture and our food supply. Smaller producers and individuals losing more and more control over their food.
In reaction, more and more small-scale food projects are appearing in neighbourhoods and villages, and seed producers who work with organic, non-genetically engineered seeds and old varieties creating new networks.
Reclaim the Seeds wants to offer an alternative to the negative developments by creating positive initiatives and organizing this weekend. The project is organized every year by ASEED and a changing group of local organizations and volunteers. In 2014 the Godin Eetbaar Landschap and Hortus Haren are involved in the organization.
Like the sound of it? Take part in the seed weekend as a stall holder, volunteer or just as a visitor.
Location of the seed fair Saturday: Hortus Haren (botanical garden), Kerklaan 34, 9751 NN Haren
Location of the evening program Saturday, and start-place of events of Sunday: Oude RKZ, Emmastraat 15, 9722 EW Groningen.
For those attending from outside Groningen, there are a limited number of sleeping places available through our organisation. If you need a sleeping place, please contact us in time.
If you are planning to come and you want to have translation, please inform us about this, so we get an estimation what we have to organise.
Updates, a more extended programme and some background information will be available on www.reclaimtheseeds.nl.