Dear Friends of the ELIANT Alliance,
Organic seeds are a key issue for the future of organic and Biodynamic agriculture. After all, seeds are the basis of all life, all agricultural production, and consequently our food supply.
The Biodynamic movement is researching this issue, working intensively on it. ELIANT for its part lobbies in Brussels on a platform that aims to promote organic seeds as common property for everyone. Support us in our work.
Biodynamic agriculture (Demeter) co-founded the ELIANT alliance to promote the concerns of Biodynamic agriculture and to ensure their full representation in Brussels. The ELIANT founders are responsible for the ELIANT alliance and their six- monthly meetings provide an ideal setting for both an intensive exchange of ideas and for planning essential activities.
Sowing the Future
Biodynamic agriculture (Demeter) believes in a supply of open pollinated freely tradable seeds. In the autumn, participating farmers in a number of countries invite consumers interested in joining them to sow a field as part of an initiative called ‘Sowing the Future’. The farm locations and all necessary information can be found on www.avenirsem.ch. Everyone taking part sows seeds, immersing themselves in the atmosphere of this archetypal action. Sowing seeds connects people with the earth. They can see the seeds grow over the following months. The grain, harvested in summer can then be baked to bread.
Seeds are part of our culture – they belong to us all!
Promoting a supply of open pollinated, freely tradable seeds is Demeter’s response to international corporations that are producing genetically modified crop varieties. These corporations secure seeds bred using conventional genetic engineering, as well as unlawfully obtained existing varieties, by patenting them. This makes them unavailable to the general public, particularly farmers and breeders and the profits arising from the royalties paid on patented varieties line corporation pockets.
The current situation regarding seeds
As a global civilization, we are experiencing dramatic developments. Within the space of two decades, a powerful seed industry has emerged – with far-reaching consequences. The ten largest seed companies account for over 70% of the market worldwide. They are severely reducing the number of crop varieties which are available and this in turn shrinks the genetic base. Laboratory based breeding techniques are used, primarily manipulating plant genetic material in the test tube. Compared with other sectors and industries, the mechanisation of agriculture has developed very rapidly and the consequences for the future are terrifying.
What happened before genetic engineering? Where did seeds come from?
Seeds and propagation material used to be an integral part of farming culture. Depending on which part of the world, this was still the case as recently as a few years ago in some places, in others decades or, at most, one or two centuries ago. The perception was that seeds belonged to us all, or it could be said, they did not belong to anyone. They were not a commodity – they were part of our culture.
What can we achieve together?
Biodynamic plant breeders have already achieved an enormous amount: a wide range of excellent varieties have been developed. This work now needs to be underpinned legally and economically in society to ensure seeds are a part of our culture, belonging to us all. This requires collaboration between breeders, farmers, processors and, most of all, consumers and citizens.
An example of successful lobbying by the ELIANT alliance and Biodynamic agriculture in Brussels
The EU Regulation on animal by-products, which came into force in 2002 as a result of the BSE crisis, prevented farmers from using cow horns for Biodynamic preparations. Following seven years of intensive lobbying, they were included in a specific section of this Regulation in 2009, once again giving Biodynamic preparations the necessary legal security.
The Unfolding Conference
The Alliance ELIANT is co-organizing an inspiring international event: “The Unfolding Conference: Nurturing a culture that allows all children to unfold their unique potential and to engage in society”. We invite you to join us in Brussels from October 23 – 26!
With our best regards
Michaela Glöckler, Ueli Hurter and Susanna Küffer Heer (Executive Committee); Michaela Sieh (project management)