Garden Organic joined forces to Save our Seeds
Garden Organic joined forces with NGOs from all over Europe at a meeting in Vienna entitled How to Protect our Seeds, from Friday 14th - Sunday 16th November.
In April 2013 a new EU Seed regulation sought to replace numerous EU directives. The proposed regulation led to fears that seed exchange networks such as Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library and the swapping of seeds between private individuals would be subject to costly annual licensing and registration fees. This regulation would also have seen gardeners and farmers prevented from exchanging seeds and growing heritage varieties.
Faced with this threat to our Heritage Seed Library, Garden Organic began campaigning around this issue. After extensive lobbying, in March this year, the European Parliament voted against the Commission’s proposal for a new European seed regulation. It’s uncertain what happens next, but it’s thought likely that an amended Regulation will return to the European Parliament soon.
Steve Thomson, Garden Organic’s Operations Director, said “Working with our allies in the European Seed Saving NGOs, we have developed a strategy for the future, to fight any proposed new regulations. As yet there is no confirmed indication as to what the future plans for Plant Reproductive Material marketing regulation. However, we have some unconfirmed intelligence that in a leaked document Jean-Claude Junker, President of the EU Commission, advised First Vice President, Frans Timmermans, the Commissioner for Better Regulation, that "possible new initiatives for 2015 and possible withdrawals of pending proposals applying the principle of 'political discontinuity', as appropriate ".
"Meeting with other European NGOs ensures that collectively we are prepared for any future proposed regulations and we will continue our lobbying and campaigning on the issue. We will be demanding that true improvements are made to any European Seed Legislation to ensure a future for our Heritage Seed Library and to give individuals the freedom to continue to seed swap and grow a wide variety of produce in the future.”
You can read more here.