The Cyprus Seed Savers is a citizen volunteer group, aiming to locate, multiply and share Cypriot heirloom seeds in order to ensure their survival and enhance their diversity.
The group focuses on maintaining that national plant heritage but also on strengthening awareness and education around the importance to save traditional varieties of seeds and growing high-quality and local food.
The Cyprus Seed Savers was born from civil awareness regarding the need to protect seed heritage against the continued loss of biodiversity within cultivated plants.
It is primarily a simple group of people exchanging information, knowledge and seeds, thanks to different communication channels, while constantly working on finding traditional and/or local varieties, that savers reproduce, cultivate and harvest in their own private gardens, with the one and only purpose to multiply, collect and spread them as much as possible.
Over the years, the Cyprus Seed Savers get involved in promoting national legislation changes regarding the marketing of seeds from heirloom varieties. It led for example an important campaign in 2018, to counter the drafting of a national law that planned to limit the access and right to use local and open-pollinated varieties of seeds.
The association organized meetings and events, publicly standing for the concept of having a free access to heirloom seeds, that should benefit for professional farmers as for amateur gardeners. It also defended the right to bring heirloom seeds from other countries in Cyprus, to enrich the national plant heritage, that has suffered a drastic erosion for the past 50 years.
Apart from its lobbying actions, the association is regularly involved in bringing awareness on the importance of traditional seeds amongst the decision makers, the farmers, the consumers and the media.
In 2019, the Cyprus Seed Savers co-organized with the association Petrera Permaculture land, the RUN FOR SEEDS eco-festival, featuring local farmers and producers, and offering to celebrate life in nature, by walking or running two races of 7 and 21 km, through the Cypriot mountains and forests.
The Cyprus Seed Savers manage the seeds they maintain through a Seed Bank that help them re-distribute the seeds to any individuals, groups or organizations that share their vision. To be supplied with seeds, it is asked to register on the website and send and/or email to the community.
On the association’s Facebook group, it is also possible to get information about the seeds detain within the community and to exchange about everyone’s needs and offers. No seeds are to sell.
Joining and supporting such a civic and non-profit action, obviously starts by being aware of its scope of action, and by asking for seeds to sow and multiply, from Cypriot heirloom varieties that were specifically reaped to be spread all over the world.
The main principle of the community is the voluntary and active participation of all its members. Helping the association by taking part to any kind of its actions (collecting, sowing, harvesting, distributing, advocating, celebrating, etc.) is open to anybody without requiring any financial participation.
The communication between the core of the community and its supporters is done through the Facebook group and the website of the association; which is currently under construction and cannot be visited yet.
All announcements regarding the association’s actions, especially when it needs a large participation of members, are launched on these platforms. They are also the place for anybody to share with the rest of the community, its personal thoughts and suggestions that would enhance the Cyprus Seed Savers’ mission and the networking of seed guards.