Seed is an ongoing topic in the Section. We are working on three strands of this at present:
We face a dilemma. As a biodynamic community we want to grow open-pollinated varieties that we have bred ourselves and this is what we communicate. At the same time, in commercial biodynamic vegetable growing hybrid varieties from the big seed companies have a strong presence on the market. The alternatives up until now, traditionally bred varieties, are steadily disappearing from the market and are mostly being replaced by hybrid varieties instead of by biodynamically bred varieties.
Without suitable varieties, biodynamic cultivation is unsustainable in the long term. First, because in the long run we cannot say why something should be biodynamic if it is from "Monsanto". But also economically, because dependency on the big seed companies will inevitably increase if something does not change soon and biodynamic agriculture fails to win control over its seed.
A large part of the biodynamic movement believe it to be very important that Demeter/biodynamic agriculture remains authentic and able to act in the long term, and marketable varieties which are the property of the sector are part of this.
The Section for Agriculture – in cooperation and consultation with those who are involved in breeding and the seed sector – and Demeter International have therefore set up a working group to tackle the problem, lead discussions and initiate an awareness process which, in the best case, will lead to a solution to the dilemma.
This working group met for the first time in a small group on 2 April 2019. The second meeting took place in a larger group on 2 July 2019. It was decided to initiate various discussion sessions over the next few months (September 2019 to March 2020) and to work on the following questions, amongst others:
What ways are there out of the dilemma? What are the arguments in favour of and against each of these? Are there open issues, i.e. an actual need for research in order to solve the dilemma in the long term?
We would like to invite you to a specialist conference on this topic at the Goetheanum from 19-21 March 2020 and, in cooperation with a large number of specialists, hope to make significant progress towards solving the dilemma described.
Responsible for the group: Ueli Hurter and Verena Wahl
Contact: Verena Wahl, firstname.lastname@example.org
February 8, 2017, the authors Johannes Wirz, Ueli Hurter and Peter Kunz presented the final study of their project "Seeds as a commons" to the public in the rooms of the cereal breeder Peter Kunz in Feldbach.
Getreidezüchtung Peter Kunz
Poma Culta - Apflezüchtung
Sativa - Ökologisches Pflanz- und Saatgut
Stormy Hall Seeds