Last Sunday, 11th of March 2018, the 1st RUN FOR SEEDS – PETRERA ECO RUN took place in Pertrera Permaculture Land, in Kalo Chorio Orinis.

People of a great range of ages, backgrounds, and nationalities came together with one aim: TO RUN & HIKE FOR SEEDS – a step towards freedom, independence and resilience. These past decades, seed freedom and food-security are in threat. Big corporate interests are doing anything in their hands to support seed and seed technology patenting, putting the right of farmers and amateur gardeners for free traditional seeds, to the test.

Cyprus Seeds Savers in collaboration with Petrera Permaculture Land decided to say a big NO to corporate interest on food and its freedom and state a loud YES to resilience and self-reliance. Building a community seed bank is the first step to achieve this: a place that will host heirloom varieties of Cyprus as well as seeds from other places with similar climatic conditions. When announcing the groups’ call to help support the building of a seed bank through a race, people responded to it spectacularly: 110 participants showed up on Petrera ready to hike and run the specially marked 7 and 21K routes.

The daring runners took upon the challenging 21K Petrera Half: a rewarding route around the areas of Kalo Chorio Orinis, Mitsero and Ayios Epiphanios, passing through single-track nature trails, undulating forested paths, traditional village alleys and some exciting cross country sections, rewarded with some surprising panoramic views of Mount Olympos, Machairas and Pentadaktylos mountain ranges.

Others, took the shorter yet still challenging 7K Herb Route. Runners and hikers cruised through forested trails and paths of blooming seasonal herbs and trees. The more curious ones participated in a herb treasure hunt, matching herbs on track with pictures on a handout.

RUN FOR SEEDS managed to bring together a wide range of elements: sportsmanship and the beauty of trail running, natural health and organic and clean food and community work – all elements of a quest towards a natural and harmonized life with nature. During the day of the race people found all sorts of local handcrafted creations on site as well as healthy food choices to eat. Even the participants’ finishing medals were on the same lines: a hand-sawn bag made out of recyclable fabric, filled with heirloom seasonal seeds.

Everything about the race was guided by the organizers’ love for running and their passion for a natural lifestyle. RUN FOR SEEDS will be an annual race with the aim of to celebrate life and freedom – so get your trail shoes out and start training!