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The 6th edition of the Seed Festival took place in Iphofen, Germany on February 20th 2016 and was organized by Barbara and Martin Keller of Open House e. V.

Every year this Festival sees gardeners, seed savers and people concerned about seed issues come from the whole of Germany as well as from other European countries.

Highlights of the past two editions have been the participation of Dr Vandana Shiva for the Seed Freedom Movement in 2014 while in 2015 the Festival was held in Nuremberg in partnership with Biofach international exhibition.

The approximately 2000 visitors who attended this year’s Seed Festival had already started to gather at the main entrance in the morning while exhibitors were setting up their stalls down to the very last detail.

Right in front of the acceptance desk, Rosa Störkle, 77 years old, was showcasing her collection of 170 varieties of potatoes that she has been preserving, cultivating and breeding through the years.

Along the same lines, in the exhibitors hall: Frank Schellhorn, of Pomologen-Verein with his display of several different varieties of apples and Lilatomate with tomato seeds, and a huge catalogue of hundreds varieties of tomatoes.

A wide range of urban gardening info-points as well as interesting proposals of seeds, plants, books and homesteading devices could be found in the exhibitors’ hall.

Members of Arche Noah received many visitors at their table where they offered organic heirloom seeds, seed saving/gardening books and information about their work on crop diversity.

In the main hall Navdanya International/The Global Movement for Seed Freedom shared the main table with  Saatgutarche, the local seed-saving/gardening group coordinated by Open House e. V.

The same Saatgutarche also took care of the “TauschTisch”, the Seed Swap table where people could give, take and exchange seeds.

At the Navdanya stall, people could go through some of Navdanya/Seed Freedom Publications and Reports, get updates and information about Seed Freedom and ongoing campaigns. They were also invited to sign both the Declaration on Seed Freedom and the Citizens’ Pact for the Earth while The Living Seed and The Living Soil films kept rolling on the computer screen.

Also in the main hall, the alternative community of Peliti, from Drama, Greece was represented by the founder, Panagiotis Sainatoudis. At the Peliti stall, people could get some Greek local seed varieties and also important information about the work of Peliti, including the new Seed Bank and their upcoming International Seed Festival which will take place on their land on May 7th.

The remaining two stalls in the main hall belonged to Bee Happy, Senior House Urban Garden in Mainstockheim and Longo Maï, the legendary 40-year-old intentional community network, advertising their new educational film series “Saatgut ist Gemeingut” (“From Seed to Seed”).

The music group Namaste from Greece opened the ceremony on stage. (It’s worth noticing that Namaste Band has recently released a song about the International Solidarity Caravan for Seeds, which Navdanya International organized in 2014 with Peliti and Kokopelli).

After the first welcome presentation by Barbara Keller of Openhouse, Kim Aigner of Arche Noah took the stage and gave a detailed speech about the state of the art of European Seed Law.

Arche Noah’s talk was followed by Panagiotis Sainatoudis, of Peliti – Greece, who gave a presentation about the rich biodiversity in Greece and the work of Peliti Seeds Savers network.

The afternoon talks session was opened by Harald Ebner, Member of the German parliament for the Greens Party, who gave a talk about “Seed diversity and Food security: strategies against patents and monopolization”. A very important moment was when Barbara Keller handed him the Declaration on Seed Freedom after reading it to the public and invited people to go sign it at the Navdanya stall. Finally she asked Harald Ebner to bring the declaration demands to Berlin on behalf of the movement for Seed Freedom.

The speaker who followed was Martina Widmer of Longo Maï, presenting the new educational film series “Saatgut ist Gemeingut” (“From Seed to Seed”).

A special guest, well-known comedian Erwin Pelzig gave the final performance of the day.

Furthermore, this year the Seed Festival organized by Openhouse e. V. reached the goal of spreading awareness about the importance of protecting our biodiversity and our local, non GMO, non patented seeds.

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This post is also available in: German