Save Our Seeds

Saatgut ist die Grundlage unserer Ernährung. Es steht am Anfang und am Ende eines Pflanzenlebens. Die Vielfalt und freie Zugänglichkeit dieses Menschheitserbes zu erhalten, das von Generation zu Generation weitergegeben wird, ist die Aufgabe von Save Our Seeds.

Foto: Weizenkorn Triticum Karamyschevii Schwamlicum fotografiert von Ursula Schulz-Dornburg im Vavilov Institut zu St.Petersburg

The Alphabet of Complexity

The Alphabet of Complexity is a webinar series about the topics related to agroecology, GMOs, biodiversity, campaigning and food systems.

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Watch the webinars that already took place here!

And save the dates for the upcoming webinars!

L as in "life" - 1.12.2022, 11a.m.-1p.m. CET

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A, as in “agroecology”

This webinar was our first meeting within The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series.The letter A (as in “agroecology”) guided us through the main question of the day: What can agroecology teach us about the complexity of today’s food systems?

Watch the recording from the webinar here.

The key speaker of this webinar was Katalin Réthy.

Katalin Rethy is a Hungarian biologist, agroecologist and a small scale organic farmer. She grows a wide variety of heirloom and exotic vegetables, herbs in the suburbs of Budapest. She is an active member of the Magház network, participating in seed saving, swapping and the preservation of agrobiodiversity. Over the years, she has been working with various organizations to adapt the concept of agroecology as a science, a movement and a practice in Hungary. She is one of the founders and organizers of the Hungarian Agroecology Network. 

B, as in "Biodiversity"

This webinar was our second meeting within The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series.. The letter B (as in “biodiversity”) guided us through the main question of the day: How do plants and ecosystems naturally adapt and how do agroecology practitioners use this phenomenon?

Watch the recording from the webinar here.

 The key speakers of this webinar were Salvatore Ceccarelli, Annika Michelson.

Salvatore Ceccarelli has been full professor of Agricultural Genetics at the Institute of Plant Breeding, University of Perugia. From 1980 has conducted research at ICARDA (the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, Aleppo, Syria) and currently is consulting for both International and National Organizations. He supervised several MSc and PhD students, trained scientists in China, Australia, South Africa, Philippines, Yemen, Jordan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, India and Bhutan. published more than 300 papers and has been an invited speaker at several international conferences. He is currently involved in projects in Uganda, Ethiopia, Jordan, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan and Europe. His areas of expertise are plant breeding, genotype x environment interactions, breeding strategies, drought resistance, participatory and evolutionary plant breeding, crop adaptation, use of genetic resources and relationships between biodiversity, food, health and climate change.

Annika Michelson is a board member of NGO Maadjas - Estonian seed saver organisation and a senior lecturer at Häme University of Applied Sciences in Finland, where she coordinates the Finnish Heritage Cereals Propagation Network.

C, as in “corporate power”

This webinar was our third meeting within The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series. The letter C (as in “corporate power”) guided us through the main question of the day: How the reductionist vision of science is used in corporate techno-fixes?

Watch the recording from the webinar here.

The key speakers of this webinar were Justyna Zwolinska and Andrea Beste.

D, as in “deconstructing”

This webinar was our fourth meeting within The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series. The letter D (as in “deconstructing”) will guided us through the main question of the day: What are the realities and narratives within molecular biology?

 

 

The key speakers of this webinar were Angelika Hilbeck and Ignacio Chapela.

Angelika Hilbeck is a senior scientist and lecturer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, where she leads the group ‘Environmental Biosafety and Agroecology’ at the Institute of Intergrative Biology. Since almost 30 years, her research focuses on biosafety and risk assessment of GMOs in the context of agroecology and biodiversity. Through numerous research and capacity building projects she has been engaged in several developing countries in Africa, South America and Vietnam. Her research and conceptual work also contribute to the implementation and shaping of EU Directives regulating the biosafety assessment of GMOs for field and commercial releases, the (UNEP CBD) Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and capacity building in developing countries. Through her international work, she became involved in broader issues of technology developments (genetic engineering, digitalization) towards a democratically legitimated, sustainable global future and actively contributes to the debate on biosafety, digitalization, sustainability issues, agroecological transformation, hunger and poverty alleviation. In 2006, she was appointed as lead author of the Global Chapter 3 and Synthesis Report on Biotechnology of the International Assessment Agricultural Science Technology for Development (IAASTD), a UN-funded and lead global project. She is co-founder and past chairperson of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), co-founder and board member of Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS) and a former member of the board of directors of the Swiss development organisation 'Bread for All' (now HEKS) and the Federation of German Scientists (VDW).

 

Ignacio Chapela Associate Professor of Microbial Ecology, University of California, Berkeley Post-boom biologist, studied Biology at the National University of Mexico, under the aegis of barbasco, the source-plant for the first contraceptive and the birth of the biotechnology industry. PhD studying fungi in Wales led him to work in the industrial laboratory in Switzerland where LSD was discovered (not by him!) by following the teachings of indigenous people in Mexico. Back-and-forth across the Atlantic (Cornell University twice, ETH-Zürich, Norway) taught him large-scale dimensions of biology, such as politics, international policy over "genetic resources" and the brewing catastrophe of late-20th Century extinctions. He has worked with and for indigenous people in Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and elsewhere, as well as for various governmental, multilateral and non-governmental organizations. His work on transgenesis became defining of his professional life, and contributed to his current interest in asking foundational questions about a biology that, in his view, has been astray in the last 80 years.

 

Register here to receive information reminders about all 10 webinars.

Or join directly this zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84549429776

E, as in “experience”

This webinar was the fifth episode of The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series. The letter E (as in “experience”) guided us through the main question of the day: What can the history of fighting against GMOs teach us?

The key speakers of this webinar were Martha Mertens and Benedikt Haerlin.

Dr. Martha Mertens. Studied biology at the University of Munich and at Reed College, Portland/Oregon, received her PhD at the University of Munich. Main subjects: developmental biology, cytology, and genetics. Additional degree of environmental protection techniques at the Technical University of Munich. Professional work in environmental education and with non-governmental organisations. Freelance expert on genetic engineering, in particular on use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture and food production. In the nineties member of the German central commission for biosafety (Zentrale Kommission für die Biologische Sicherheit ZKBS) as representative of environmental organisations. Member of the Institute for Biodiversity Network, Regensburg/Germany. Publications e.g. on risk assessment of GMOs, environmental impacts of herbicide-resistant plants and on environmental effects of glyphosate. Since the nineties volunteer work at BUND/FoEE Germany, speaker of the working group on genetic engineering of BUND/FoEE Germany.

Benedikt Haerlin heads the Berlin office of the Foundation on Future Farming (Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft). He co-ordinates the European initiative “Save our Seeds“, runs a “global field” of 2000 m² and co-chairs the thinktank ARC2020 on European agricultural policies. He represented northern NGOs in the board of the IAASTD. Before, he was an author and journalist, a Member of the European Parliament and worked for Greenpeace International.

F, as in “fatal”

This webinar was the sixth episode of The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series. The letter F (as in “fatal”) guided us through the main question of the day: Can gene drives lead to the extinction of whole species?

 

You can watch the recording from the webinar here.

The key speaker of this webinar was Diego Bárcena.

Diego Bárcena Menéndez holds a PhD in synthetic biology in eukaryotic systems from the EMBL-CRG in Barcelona and Imperial College London. After working for years as a scientific researcher, he decided to start up an organic farm in Northern Spain. He is a member of Ecologistas en Acción and part of the editorial board for the print magazine of the organization.

G, as in “guardians”

This webinar was the seventh episode of The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series. The letter G (as in “guardians”) guided us through the main question of the day: What type of wisdom do we need to guard ecosystems from techno-fixes?

 

You can watch the recording from the webinar HERE.

The key speakers of this webinar were Ignacio Chapela, Carsten Tiede and María Carrascosa.

Ignacio Chapela Associate Professor of Microbial Ecology, University of California, Berkeley Post-boom biologist, studied Biology at the National University of Mexico, under the aegis of barbasco, the source-plant for the first contraceptive and the birth of the biotechnology industry. PhD studying fungi in Wales led him to work in the industrial laboratory in Switzerland where LSD was discovered (not by him!) by following the teachings of indigenous people in Mexico. Back-and-forth across the Atlantic (Cornell University twice, ETH-Zürich, Norway) taught him large-scale dimensions of biology, such as politics, international policy over "genetic resources" and the brewing catastrophe of late-20th Century extinctions. He has worked with and for indigenous people in Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and elsewhere, as well as for various governmental, multilateral and non-governmental organizations. His work on transgenesis became defining of his professional life, and contributed to his current interest in asking foundational questions about a biology that, in his view, has been astray in the last 80 years.

 

Carsten Tiede - Senior Expert in Senior Experten Service, Plant Breeding Assistant in Keyserlingk-Institute, Biodynamic Adviser in Section for Agriculture, Mentor in European Consortium for Organic Plant Breeding (ECO-PB), Board Secretary in Paul Schatz Gesellschaft e.V. Member of IFOAM Organics International, Hortus officinarum e.V., Netzwerk Kräuter BW, Kultursaat e.V. and Bellis, Working group for Goetheanistic knowledge of plants.

 

María Carrascosa  is an agronomic Engineer with Masters Degree in Organic Agriculture. For more than 15 years, she has focused her professional activity on the development of initiatives and actions in the framework of food sovereignty, agroecology, agricultural biodiversity, family farming and short supply channels, in Spain but also in other countries as Brazil. In this sense, it must be highlighted her work as manager in a cooperative of organic farmers in the south of Spain for 6 years and, since 2005, as coordinator of the Red de Semillas “Resembrando e Intercambiando” (Spanish seed network). Since 2010, she is the director of the Seed network of Andalucía where she coordinates different projects working on the promotion and research on the collective management of cultivated biodiversity.

 

 

H, as in “holistic”

This webinar was the eighth episode of The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series. The letter H (as in “holistic”) guided us through the main question of the day: What factors should be taken into consideration in the battles to reclaim power over food systems in 2022?

 

 

You can watch the recording from the webinar here.

The key speakers of this webinar are Christine von Weizsäcker, Benedikt Haerlin and Nina Holland.

Christine von Weizsäcker, born and living in the Black Forest, 5 children, 13 grandchildren. Biologist, scientist/activist at local, national and international levels. President of Ecoropa, a European Network, since 1976 working for ecology, democracy and North-South justice. Many publications and some awards. Focus on technology assessment for civil society, in-situ and on-farm conservation of agricultural biodiversity, human rights, land tenure rights, rights to free prior informed consent and to meaningful participation, and fighting against corporate take-over of legislation and harmful and perverse subsidies. At international level, since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, participating in the UN sustainability negotiations, especially in the Convention on Biological Diversity, its Cartagena Protocol (regulating genetic engineering) and its Nagoya Protocol (regulating access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their utilization). Many disappointments, some surprising successes, still persevering.

Benedikt Haerlin heads the Berlin office of the Foundation on Future Farming (Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft). He co-ordinates the European initiative “Save our Seeds“, runs a “global field” of 2000 m² and co-chairs the thinktank ARC2020 on European agricultural policies. He represented northern NGOs in the board of the IAASTD. Before, he was an author and journalist, a Member of the European Parliament and worked for Greenpeace International.

Nina Holland is an activist-researcher and works with Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). CEO is a research and campaign group based in Brussels that aims to expose and challenge the privileged access and power enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making. Nina's focus is on lobbying by agribusiness and food industries covering issues like pesticides, food labeling and GMOs. She holds a master's degree in Environmental Sciences from Utrecht University with a final thesis on the EU life patents directive.

I, as in “inspirations”

This webinar was the ninth episode of The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series. The letter I (as in “inspirations”) guided us through the main question of the day: What constitutes an effective campaign?

 

 

The key speakers of this webinar were Evelyn Leveghi and Martin Winiecki.

The recording of the webinar is available here.

Evelyn Leveghi  is strategic and relational designer with a Human-centred approach. Her practice moves around Food Politics and Public space issues with the purpose of improving Livability and Social cohesion. To achieve such goals she uses Socially-engaged art, Participatory Design and Food Activism as levers to raise awareness and enhance empowerment. Project Manager of “Occupy the kitchen!”, a Food Artivism project – co-founded with Franca Formenti – questioning the relations among Art, Food and Economics.  She is currently engaged also in a FAO programme to develop an Agroecology platform conceived for facilitating the sharing of knowledge and strategies among the members of an international CoP. She is also author of “Pratiche relazionali del cibo” (lit. “Relational practices around food”), an essay edited by Postmediabooks (Milan, 2015).

Martin Winiecki, born in Germany in 1990, lives and works in the Tamera Peace Research & Education Center in Portugal, where he dedicates himself to the fields of publishing, networking and education. He was one of the leaders of a successful campaign to avert fossil fuel extraction in Portugal in 2017-18 and co-initiated the international "Defend the Sacred Alliance," which bring together leaders of Indigenous struggles, social movements and systemic alternatives in the inquiry of a more "sacred" activism.

J, as in “journey”

This webinar was the tenth episode of The Alphabet of Complexity webinar series. The letter J (as in “journey”) guided us through the main question of the day: How can we conclude our journey after 10 webinars?

 

The key speakers of this webinar are the young members of the Save Our Seeds Collective – activists, artists, seed savers, researchers and gardeners based in Europe.

K as in "kaleidoscope"

This webinar was our eleventh meeting within the series of The Alphabet of Complexity webinars. The letter K (as in “kaleidoscope”) guided us through the main questions of the day: What are the paradigms we live by? What are the implications of research which is genome-centred and how to compare it with the research based on the organism-oriented scientific paradigm?

The key speakers of this webinar were Giuseppe Longo, Angelika Hilbeck, Maël Montévi.

Angelika Hilbeck is a senior scientist and lecturer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, where she leads the group ‘Environmental Biosafety and Agroecology’ at the Institute of Intergrative Biology. Since almost 30 years, her research focuses on biosafety and risk assessment of GMOs in the context of agroecology and biodiversity. Through numerous research and capacity building projects she has been engaged in several developing countries in Africa, South America and Vietnam. Her research and conceptual work also contribute to the implementation and shaping of EU Directives regulating the biosafety assessment of GMOs for field and commercial releases, the (UNEP CBD) Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and capacity building in developing countries. Through her international work, she became involved in broader issues of technology developments (genetic engineering, digitalization) towards a democratically legitimated, sustainable global future and actively contributes to the debate on biosafety, digitalization, sustainability issues, agroecological transformation, hunger and poverty alleviation. In 2006, she was appointed as lead author of the Global Chapter 3 and Synthesis Report on Biotechnology of the International Assessment Agricultural Science Technology for Development (IAASTD), a UN-funded and lead global project. She is co-founder and past chairperson of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), co-founder and board member of Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS) and a former member of the board of directors of the Swiss development organisation 'Bread for All' (now HEKS) and the Federation of German Scientists (VDW).

 

Giuseppe Longo is a Research Director CNRS (Emeritus) at the Cavaillès interdisciplinary center of Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris (ENS). Former Research Director in the Dept. of Mathematics, then of Computer Science, at ENS (1990-2012), he has been Associate Professor of Mathematical Logic and, then, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Pisa (1981-1990). He spent three years in the USA (Berkeley, M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon) as researcher and visiting professor, spent several months visiting Oxford and Utrecht, and has been adjunct professor, School of Medicine, Tufts U., Boston (2013 - 2019). Founder and editor-in-chief (1990-2015) of Mathematical Structures in Computer Science, Camdridge U.P.., GL is (co-)author of more than 100 papers and four books. He recently extended his research interests and works on the epistemology of mathematics and theoretical biology. Web: www.di.ens.fr/users/longo/

 

Maël Montévil works between theoretical biology and philosophy. He aims to rethink the theoretical foundations of biology and notably the status of mathematics in this discipline. More specifically, he works on biological temporalities, in particular the historicity of the living, as well as on biological organization. He addresses applications such as theorizing the disorganization of living organisms in the Anthropocene by developing a biological concept of disruption. His work also focuses on epistemology, concerning the application of mathematics, and the transformations of contemporary epistemology. He is a CNRS researcher at UAR 3608 Republic of Knowledge, École Normale Supérieure. His publications are accessible on montevil.org.

 

 

 

 

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