24th April 2017 Mesochori.

Another Panhellenic seed festival has come to an end: the 1st Olympic Seed Festival & 17th Peliti Seed Festival. A celebration where seed savers come together from all countries of the world to exchange experiences, knowledge and seeds from their regions.

Everything began 22 years ago with the vision of Panayiotis Sainatoudis, the coordinator of the largest seed exchange group in Greece, Peliti.

In 2013 we had our first encounter with Peliti in Cyprus with the opportunity of the visit of Aris Pavlos, the local Peliti coordinator in Aegina. Through that first official event coordinated by the Movement of Life Cyprus which aimed to bring awareness to Cyprus in regards to the importance of saving our heirloom seeds, we received knowledge and inspiration.

With the initial name «Collective Seed Sawing» we organized actions that aimed to bring awareness to the people of Cyprus on the importance of using and sharing our traditional seed varieties along with traditional farming practices. Today, three years later and with a fresh identity and clear goals, we, the Cyprus Seed Savers, travelled to Mesochori, Greece to the land of Peliti to show our gratitude towards the Greek group. Aiming to give a little bit back to that initial inspiration, we travelled to Greece and during the festival, we shared seed envelopes from Cyprus along with experiences and knowledg collected through our actions these last few years.

During these four days of being hosted at Peliti land, we met significant people from all over the world – people who are fighting for seed sovereignty, each one with their own special skills and manner. Figures like Shannon Mc Cabe, from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co in the United States with almost 2000 seed varieties distributed daily all across the world, Mathieu De Le Breton and his activist actions in France against GMOs, Ali and Noufou from Burkina Faso in Africa and their organization TERRE A VIE which supports over 700,000 farmers with knowledge and seeds, the enthusiastic Michela Papotti from Navdanya organization and their remarkable work of opposition against the patenting of seeds, and Blanche Magarinos-Rey and Hannes Lorenzen, specialists in the seed legislation in the EU. At the same time we had the chance to present our work in Cyprus and interact with many other seed savers, something that filled us with energy and positivity for the future.

During the festival, we gave away 2,000 packets of traditional seeds from Cyprus. The people at the festival embraced us with a warm interest towards Cyprus seed varieties and the special circumstances they need for growing and reproducing.

Our attendance to this annual celebration of seed sovereignty was a remarkable opportunity to share knowledge, seeds and encouragement so we can continue with an even greater energy our work on preserving and sharing our heirloom seeds from all across Cyprus, Greece and every part of the world. Seeds that were able to save within them the experiences, challenges and particularities of each area throughout the lapse of years. Seeds that are capable of feeding us and keeping us independent and strong from multinational interests which are aggressively after patenting the free gift of seeds and life.

We return today to the island with a fresh mood but maintaining the same goal: To work together with collaboration, understanding and knowledge and transmit to the people of Cyprus the importance of maintaining our identity, culture and resilience by saving and sharing our traditional seed varieties.

If you want to learn more about our group «Seed Savers of Cyprus» and stay tuned with all of our upcoming events, connect with us through Facebook or send us an email at info@savegea.com.

To create your own free account for locating and trading seeds in Cyprus and Greece, visit our page www.savegea.com and connect with other seed savers today!

For the group Cyprus Seed Savers,

Sofia Matsi