EC-LLD

France : a new ethical charter and an updated definition of peasant seeds for the national seed network. 

Apr 2, 2020 | Community Seed Banks, Legal Watch, News, Plant breeding, Plant Variety Protection, Seed Marketing, Seed Networks

Over the past three years, peasant seeds and the products derived from them (veggies, flour, bread  …) have been more and more attractive for agribusiness actors as an interesting niche market. In France, we choose to use the concept of « commons » not to be reduced only to economically valuable producers ( see here for English materials).  

Defining our seeds as a « common good» means that we don’t see them as a resource to exploit but more as a resource to manage in the long term by all the users from field to plate. It also means that there is a local community around peasant seeds which is defining the rules of uses for these seeds, in parallel to the market and the state administration.  To answer these issues, we worked together to validate our ethical charter and update our definition of peasant seeds. They are tools for us to use as a compass in the current economic context. For two years, we organized the reflection amongst our members to elaborate our charter which was approved at the end of 2019 ( find it here , in French).  This process and its shared outcome are a precious tool to define our values and reaffirm our identity. « Commons » are part of it of course. The relation to the living ( with a co-evolution between humans and plants), and the necessity of collective exchanges are the two other strong ideas developed.  Simultaneously, we also updated our definition of peasant seed as « a common good in co-evolution between cultivated plants, communities, and territories ». We explained the necessity to produce the seeds on your own farm or garden within the framework of a community of users which aims at reaching seed autonomy ( find the complete definition here, at « Les semences paysannes c’est quoi ? »).