20th to 22nd September 2013
The eighth edition of this event was organised by ProSpecieRara and partner organizations in Switzerland, including SwissAid, Declaration of Bern, Vogelwarte Sempach, Kleinbauern-Vereinigung Schweiz, Sativa Rhienau AG, IP-Suisse, SAG.
In 2013 the forum devoted special attention to practices – ‘from planting to plate’ – which contribute to the sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity as outlined in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). Methods addressed in the workshops included internal rules of functioning developed by community-based seed systems and tools for the on-farm management for agricultural biodiversity. An entire day was allocated to the long neglected issue of livestock diversity. Also “on the menu” in this edition were discussions on alternative labels highlighting the added value of foods produced by methods that support agricultural biodiversity, and forms of direct marketing, with examples from Switzerland.
The forum’s other main focus was on how national and international law affects farmers’ efforts to enhance the diversity of local and locally adapted crops, varieties and underutilized species on farms and in gardens. Sessions were devoted to briefings on the latest developments with the IT PGRFA, as well as on intellectual property rights managed by the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), and a review of the European legislation on the marketing of seeds. In addition, experience was shared on progressive initiatives, such as attempts to register “seed exchanges” on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage – an area where Switzerland has shown particular commitment.