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 27 in Lier (Be). ASEED, De Boerengroep 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 Voedsel Anders Conferentie (Food Otherwise conference). taking place next door, we will have an extra large fair with besides seeds more stalls with information about other innovations in food system. Of course the exchange tables for the participants that want to trade their seeds will be provided for. Last year more visitors brought own seeds to swap than before and we hope to continue this line.
At the seed fair a freely accessible seeds workshop program will be offered covering amongst other topics seeds saving for beginners, and the Monsanto Tribunal to be held later in The Hague. In the next door building the second FoodDifferent (VoedselAnders)-conference will take February 12 and 13 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 in 2012 with Reclaim-the-Seeds-weekends as a protest against the European seed laws. The proposed regulation would strengthen the position of big companies in the agriculture sector further and form a threat to 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 by 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, frustrate the necessary agricultural biodiversity and get a more firm 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. More about this 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 the 27th of February. The setup will be the same: A fair for swapping, buying or giving away seeds, with as well 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.