Programme Reclaim the Seeds 2017

saturday: workshops | children's programme | action | excursions | | sunday: excursions | lectures | lend a hand

Saturday 4th of March - Seed fair and workshop programme

Start seed fair and programme: 10.30. End: 16.30

You DON'T need to register for the seed fair and the workshops on Saturday. The programme takes place in the same building as the seed fair. Bear in mind that we are all volunteers organising this, but that there are costs involved!


We have been able to organize an interesting programme. See the overview below. You can also download a PDF-file with the workshop programme to print before you come to Nijmegen.

Language: most workshops will be in Dutch. We try to arrange whisper translation in a corner of the room, but we can't guarantee this at the moment. Three workshops will be in English though: 'Agriculture and Climate Change' (round 1), 'The 15th Garden, a Syrian network of urban gardens and seed savers'(round 2) and 'Update about large seed companies (round 2).

first round (11:00 - 12:30)

Collecting and preserving seeds (circus space)
This workshop by Patricia Boey (Zadenwerkgroep Velt) is about selecting, harvesting, cleaning and saving seeds. For people who are starting or have just started to propagate their own seeds. The workshop will last one hour, depending on questions from the audience.

Patents on seeds (theatre space)
More and more often firms apply for patents on natural properties of food crops such as peppers, lettuce or broccoli. These properties originate in nature and have been incrossed into modern races by means of classical breeding. Yet they are claimed to be an invention, with all the consequences one might expect.
Fortunately many people are worried about this development. The European Commission recently published a notice in which they reject patents on crops that have been bred in the classical way. A next step is to convert this notice into a legally binding policy of the European Patent Office.
During the workshop Maaike Raaijmaker, campaigner at Bionext, will discuss the consequences of patents on food and the current political situation. She will also tell us more about the Bionext's campaign 'the largest seed-bank in the Netherlands' and about other initiatives to put a stop to patents on seed.

Agriculture and climate change (graphical space)
In this workshop explore Finn and Jonny from ASEED the connection between the industrial food system and climate change and the alternatives to this system that exist here. The aim: increase the awareness about the significance of the industrial food system's contribution towards climate change. We want to show that a new approach to food and agriculture, which necessitates broader social and economic changes, is an imperative if we are to avert the worst effects of climate change. For this we need an understanding of The Netherlands' important role in sustaining the industrial food system.
At the end of the workshop the organisation of the Food Autonomy Festival in Amsterdam will be discussed. [This workshop will be in English.]

Special grains (atelier space)
Grains are grains. Or aren't they? Even though they may look the same there are many types of grains and many varieties of each one. They are the result of thousands of years of domestication. But this agricultural diversity is in danger. In the Netherlands grains are almost exclusively grown for animal feed. Join us as we explore the possibilities of preserving grain biodiversity, as well as processing and marketing these unique crops, with the help of grain specialists.
With Ieke Dekker (Weizennotkomitee), Louis Dolmans (Doornik Natuurakkers) and Theo Bastiaens (Stichting Behoud van Oude Graanrassen). The moderator will have information about the Zeeuwse Vlegel grain.

second round (13:30 - 15:00)

The 15th Garden, a Syrian network of urban gardens and seed savers (circusruimte)
As a special guest we will have Ansar Hevi at Reclaim the Seeds. She will give an input on the 15th Garden, a bottom-up network of urban gardens in cities that have been bombed or are besieged in Syria and agricultural projects. The network includes family gardens, farmers in rural areas, and agriculture initiatives in refugee camps in neighbouring states.
Through the 15th Garden open pollinated seeds are swapped and reproduced in and around Syria, skills for sustainable agriculture and gardening are exchanged in workshops and courses, and knowledge is shared about the dangers related to the promises made by agribusiness actors. On a non-sectarian basis a network for food sovereignty developed. The 15th Garden is an integral part of the young Syrian civil society mushrooming ever since 2011 in many parts of Syria that are outside the control of the official government.
In Europe information events are organised to tell a different story about Syria - not one of terror, bombs and escape - but one of seeds, self-determination, and freedom, and the belief in social justice and peace and through this a better future for Syria. The 15th Garden soon received solidarity and support, both within the region and from initiatives in Europe. European groups in Germany, France, Greece, Italy and Sweden began to collect organic non-hybrid seeds and send it to people in besieged cities.
At the end of the presentation at Reclaim the Seeds we will explore how we can support the 15th Garden in the Netherlands. [This workshop will be in English.]

Agro-ecology and food forests (theatre space)
In the first part of this workshop Wouter van Eck from Voedselbos Ketelbroek will present the opportunities for food production in food forests. In a successful food forest agriculture and nature are combined by setting up an edible system of perennial crops. Ecological principles of a natural forest are the guiding principles.
In the second part (3rd round) we will go outside to get to experience what this means in practice. (see round 3).

All the little critters help (graphical space)
In the soil numerous organisms live such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, mites, snails and worms. And all in staggering numbers and an incredible diversity. Marc Siepman tells what to do with each other, and how you can help them so they can help you. For more information on

Update about large seed companies (atelier space)
On a global scale, a handful of huge companies are gaining increasing control over the seed markets. Bayer bought Monsanto, Dow took over Dupont and Syngenta is now owned by ChemChina. What is at stake now for the farmers and consumers? How should we fight against market concentration and ensure agricultural biodiversity? Sonia, from ASEED and involved in the organisation of the Monsanto Tribunal last October, will present the current situation and facilitates. Afterwards we will discuss possible future developments and action. [This workshop will be in English.]

Wild plants walk (outside)
In the area about de Vasim Leah Groeneweg (Bloemenpad) will show that you can find a lot of edible plants 'in the wild'. Even in a city and even in March. Meeting point at the entrance
Note: This lecture is canceled: Several new types of genetic modification, what to do with it?
Often they are called 'new breeding techniques', all those new ways to artificially change the DNA of crops. The possibilities to create new varieties are growing. But how about the possible dangers, negative side effects and the social economic impacts? And what are actually the arguments to to introduce those new techniques in conventional or even organic agriculture? See here a movie that gives you an idea what is going on. Google itself to CRISPR Cas.

third round (15:15 - 16:45)

Rules and regulations connected with seed production (circus space)
The NAK (inspection) formulated instructions for seed growers. What are the regulations? How should the seeds be packed? Which seeds are you free to multiply or not? The rules for 'normal' cultivation are very strict and costly. In Danish 'small cultivations' do not have to comply with EU regulations any more. What about the Netherlands, and other countries?
This presentation will be given by Monique Wijn. She started to multiply and sell seeds in 2002. In 2013 she helped to organise Reclaim the Seeds in Haren, Groningen. Soon afterwards the 'Northern Seed Network' was founded, which organises an annual seed market, which will be held in Drenthe this year.

Open Source, also an alternative for seeds (theatre space)
Willy Douma of HIVOS (development organisation) will tell us more about seeds for small farmers in Africa. Most farmers use last year's seeds, exchange seeds or buy on the market. The quality of these seeds is not good. The government and most of the seed companies don't bother about these farmers, they are looking for easy markets, and they see patenting as a rightful form of protection for companies. Together with some small seed companies , farmers and the government, Hivos is trying to find out whether open source systems are a good alternativ: seeds remain a common good, protected against privatisation and back in farmers' hands. Can open source seed systems provide the badly needed innovation for farmers?

Availability of a variety of organic plant material (graphical space)
The number of organic plant growers is limited at the moment and so is the assortment of seedlings. How can we make sure that both the professional horticulturist as well as garden hobbyists can acquire a greater variety of organic seedlings? More specifically it is to stimulate the use of varieties that are regional, open pollinated, robust or special in other respects.
Join professional horticulturists and other people interested in this topic discuss these topics. We will consider growers who are already growing seedlings from pollinated seeds on a small scale. Then we will also zoom in on the area of Nijmegen because there are some small organic vegetable farms here and it should be possible to start some new development.
Willem 't Hooft from Kwekerij A8 in Doorn will also be there. He is already raising his own seedlings, for himself and for other horticulturists and gardeners.

Continuation workshop about the 15th Garden (atelier space)
In the second part of this workshop all participants can discus how we can help this Syrian network of city gardens in the Netherlands.

Continuation Permaculture and food forest workshop (outside)
Only a 10 minutes' walk from the VASIM is a young food forest: Food Forest Novio in Park West. The design will be explained, and then everybody who wants to do so can lend a hand and help Working Group Groen Hees to work on the garden and plant together with people from the neighbourhood. Meeting point at the entrance

saturday: workshops | children's programme | action | excursions | | sunday: excursions | lectures | lend a hand

Continuous (children's) programme

Cityplot will organise several continuous activities on Saturday

See the worms turning your kitchen waste into good compost.

Together with the children they will make a Rangoli: a beautiful pattern with beans and lentils in different colours. The next day the beans will go into the soup for lunch for the co-workers in Lent on Sunday.
You can also make seed containers out of newspapers and fill them with seeds. You can take some containers home for your own garden, balcony or window sill.

And you can again make seed bombs. these balls made of clay filled with seeds to enliven bare, boring places in Nijmegen or at home in your own area.
In the booth of fruit grower Floris you can see how fruit trees are being inoculated. If you have a special or tasty fruit tree of which you would like to have another specimen (for instance because your tree is very old) to have it grafted on a new rootstock.


The main theme of Reclaim the seeds 2017 is the struggle against patents on crop plants. Such patents are forbidden by European law, but this prohibition is more and more often being bypassed by means of technical legal constructions. How this works becomes clear from 'It is time to stop patents' or the website In the EU there are patents on more than 150 crop plants now,and a further 1000 have been applied for. But there is still a chance that we can stop these patents. We are going to make it clear in Nijmegen on March 4th that we think that everybody should have access to all sorts of crop plants, and that properties of natural and living organisms shouldn't be privatised.
In the ASEED stall you can make buttons and protest placards against patents all day long. In the lunch break everyone can assemble below a few large banners with a message against patents, and thus make a clear statement for the European Patent Office. Call it a flashmob, call it a short indoor demonstration, call it whatever you like, but make sure you'll be there! Preferably with your own creative message.

The seed market

The most important part after all is the market where many special seeds, bulbs and cuttings can be exchanged, given away or sold. This we hope to stimulate that an increasing number of people is going to save and exchange seeds. You will find a survey of the booths elsewhere on this website.

(No) film programme

We have a full list of interesting documentaries about seeds and everything that has to do with this. They can offer us insights in lives far away from our day-to-day lives and enable us to see patterns all around the globe. Patterns of destruction and depression, as well as creation and hope. But because we expect all participants on March 4 to be busy with the market, the workshop programme and interesting conversations with other seed savers, we decided not to show any movies that day. On ASEEDs website though you can find the list with links so you can watch some of them later at home.

saturday: workshops | children's programme | action | excursions | | sunday: excursions | lectures | lend a hand

Sunday 5th of March - meewerken en excursies

On Sunday you can join us in planting fruit and nut trees and berry bushes at the ecological communities IEWAN and Eikpunt in Lent (the Northern part of Nijmegen), with the help of Wouter van Eck, wellknown developer of Food Forest Ketelbroek. Wouter will start off the day with a short workshop on permaculture.

10:30 arrival and coffee
11:00 - 13:00 bike excursions (first round)
11:00 a short introduction to permacultuur and work instruction (don be late)
11:45 start of the work
13:00 lunch
14:00 continue the work
14:00 - 16:00 bike excursions (second round)
16:00 drink

Depending on the size of the group there will a second lecture about seed saving and permacultuur during the day.

There wil be 2 bike tours of 2 hours each, one visiting Cobomen and de Historische tuin; the other one visiting Doornik natuurakkers and the temporary allotment garden complex De Lentse Aarde. At each of these projects one of the people involved will explain what they are trying to achieve. If you want to join please bring your own bikes or hire one at the station.

Also for the Sunday programme we will ask all participants for a donation.

For the Sunday we do ask you to register in advance. For the preparation of the work we would like to know on how many helping hands we can count. And also for planning the excursions we would like to have an indication of the number of people to expect. You can register to sending an email to

saturday: workshops | children's programme | action | excursions | | sunday: excursions | lectures | lend a hand