Seeds can be multiplied. The same applies to Reclaim the Seeds. Early 2016, 2 Reclaim-the-Seeds fairs will take place; one on Saturday February 13th in Wageningen (NL) and the other on February 27th in Lier (Be). ASEED and VoedselAnders organize the activities in Wageningen while Velt is dealing with Lier.
After the well-attended fair in Driebergen in 2015, we chose for the 5th Reclaim-the-Seeds event the Forum building on the university campus of Wageningen. Because of the collaboration with the VoedselAnders-Conference (Food Otherwise conference) taking place next door, we will have an extra large fair. Besides seeds tables, there will be more stalls with information about other innovations in food systems. Of course the exchange tables for the participants that want to trade their seeds will be provided. Last year more visitors brought their own seeds to swap than before and we hope this trend will continue.
A freely accessible seeds workshop program will be offered at the seed fair, covering amongst other topics seed-saving for beginners, and the Monsanto Tribunal to be held later in The Hague. In the next-door building the second FoodOtherwise (VoedselAnders)-conference will take place on February 12th and 13th with about 70 workshops about sustainable and social agriculture. RTS will provide workshops about the European seed and patent regulations and about the role of professional growers in alternative seed networks.
Above all, Reclaim the Seeds is a hotspot to find special breeds and varieties for your garden and to meet other people with a passion for seeds and rare plants.
ASEED started to organise Reclaim the Seeds weekends in 2012 as a protest against the European seed laws. The proposed regulation would strengthen the position of big companies in the agriculture sector and threaten the biodiversity of fruits and vegetables. International campaigns brought down the proposals of the European parliament.
However, it remains important to follow the developments in this area with a critical eye and to keep the pressure on the rig with activities like Reclaim the Seeds.
Another threat is the growing number of patents on crops. More and more, seed conglomerates like Syngenta and Monsanto patent conventional crops and their traits. By doing so they block others from breeding varieties with similar traits, limit the necessary agricultural biodiversity and get a firmer grip on agriculture.
Recently patents have been granted on conventional broccoli, tomato and sweet peppers, but the European parliament passed a motion that rejects the appropriation of living material. This however must be enforced through policy and legislation. You can find more about this topic in the workshop program of Reclaim the Seeds.
The Seeds working group of Velt Belgium is organizing a Reclaim the Seeds day in Lier near Antwerpen on February 27th. The set-up will be the same: a fair for swapping, buying or giving away seeds, and lectures and workshops about practical and political aspects on seeds and agriculture.
Location & time Wageningen: Forum, Droevendaalse Steeg 2, Building 102, 10:00-17:00 hr.
Location & time Lier: Mallekotstraat 43/B1. 10:00-17:00 hr.
Information about both Reclaim the Seeds events is posted on www.reclaimtheseeds.nl