I am currently co-organising a national seed-event in the Netherlands:
The Reclaim the Seeds Weekend of 2014 will be taking place on Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th of March 2014 in Groningen, in the north-east of the Netherlands. This is the third edition, following 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 around is to create more exchange between the Netherlands and the north of Germany and other European regions. In several countries interesting initiatives to preserve the heritage of regional and other crops have developed. The current climate in Europe around seed laws leads to an almost imperative need 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 main part of the debates and workshops will be held in Dutch, but there may also be parts of the programme 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 as visitors. We would really appreciate it if you could help us spread this announcement, by sending it on to your networks.
Saturday the 8th March: seed fair, film and debate
During Saturday the 8th of March there will be a market at which Individuals, organisations and businesses from the Netherlands and abroad can swap, give, buy and sell seeds. Simultaneously there will be a workshop programme. There will be practical workshops focusing on the self-cultivation of seeds as well as workshops that focus on international developments in the field of seeds and biodiversity. There will for example be workshops focusing on new EU seed legislations and the effects of Monsanto on agriculture internationally. In the evening you can attend a debate between experts, focusing on seed policies and their consequences for the Netherlands.
Sunday the 9th March: getting to know local projects
On Sunday the 9th or March we will be getting our hands dirty with practical projects. Among other things there will be a bike tour through Groningen to visit local initiatives such as neighbourhood gardens and allotments. Where possible, riders can roll up their sleeves and help out with 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 large-scale, mechanized agriculture and the food processing industry. And this at the expense of the resilience and diversity of agriculture and our food supply. Smaller producers and individuals are losing more and more control over their food.
In reaction, increasing numbers of small-scale food projects are appearing in neighbourhoods and villages, and seed producers who work with organic, non-genetically engineered seeds and old varieties are busy 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 seed fair and the rest of the day programme on Saturday: Hortus Haren (botanical garden), Kerklaan 34, Haren. Time: 11:00-17:00
Location of evening programme Saturday: Oude RKZ, Emmastraat 15, Groningen. Dinner: 17:30-19:00. Start debate: 19:30.
Location of activities Sunday: Oude RKZ, Emmastraat 15, Groningen. Starts at: 10:00. Lunch: 12:00. Excursions: 13:00-16:00.
For attendees from outside of 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’re in need of translation please inform us about this, so that we can estimate the organisational requirements.
The entrance fee at the Hortus Haren (the Botanical Garden hosting the seedfair) is 3 Euros. (Normally this is €7,50 for the Hortus Haren alone but here the full programme is included.)
Updates, a more extended programme and some background information is available on this website.
Food is hot. More and more people want to know where their food is coming from and how it is produced. Small-scale initiatives to grow or distribute your own food are gaining popularity. In other words: it it time for food sovereignty, also in the Netherlands. This ASEED brochure explains what is wrong with the current agriculture and food system and presents food sovereignty as an alternative. It also contains concrete examples of how you can strive towards food sovereignty in the Netherlands yourself.
Paper versions can be ordered by e-mailing to ASEED Europe
This brochure takes a look at the current state of affairs regarding monopolisation in the seed market of Europe and the Netherlands, and examines the implications for the future of food and farming as we know it. The influence of the large corporations on the global food production is growing fast. The global seed market gives a clear indication of their power, with market monopolies for ever fewer multinational biotech corporations. As new European biopatents legislation and agriculture policies are taking shape, the global corporations are quietly taking over the European market. This brochure takes a look at the current state of affairs in Europe and the Netherlands, and examines the implications for the future of food and farming as we know it.