Kunnskap og Vern Av Nytteplanter I Norge (Knowledge and Protection of Useful Plants in Norway) is a membership organisation aiming to take care of Norway’s plant heritage by developing itself and promoting among its members, in-situ crop trials of open pollinated varieties.
The organisation was born on October 1st, 2016, from the former “Plant Clubs” project that had been established by the Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre and Hageselskapet in 2015.
It has succeeded in growing very fast, as it gathers in 2021 around 800 registered members across the country.
KVANN is part of the Let’s Liberate Diversity network and of the Community Seed Banks European movement.
KVANN works to preserve all types of plants from all over the world that could be grown and used in the Northern part of Europe, with a focus on mandate varieties that have heritage roots in Norway.
With the help of its members, it also tries to develop new species and new varieties adapted to local conditions, in order to improve Norway's cultivated biodiversity.
KVANN has chosen the in-situ conservation to carry out its missions, growing plants and reproducing them in various gardens and farms it manages or partners with all over the country.
Mr Schübeler was the Director of the Oslo Botanical Gardens from 1850s to 1890s. He set up a network of about 80 priests’ farms on which he tested the many varieties he had collected during his European trips.
To enrich its own heritage plant collection as to enlarge its scope of action, KVANN collaborates with different actors.
It also has launched the project “From seed to Serving” with Nordic organisations Sesam (Sweden) and Frosamlerne (Denmark), funded by the Nordic Council of ministers and aiming at reintroducing all varieties of plants that have deep roots in the cultures of Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Other collaborations are being created regularly to offer classes and worshops to KVANN's members, on plant and food production.
The plant conservation work in KVANN is divided up into 33 guilds, which is an old term used to designate working groups managing craft-based knowledge; in this context related to plant growing and reproduction.
Each guild is responsible for a plant family (brassica, nightshade, amaranth, etc.) or a specific theme like urban agriculture, community seed banks, Mountain plants, Regional plants, etc.
Each guild has a leader who manages the activities and communicates mainly through the guild portals on KVANN’s website. All members can decide to join whatever guild they want to be part of. Guilds are flexible and can evolve in time according to members’ interests and priorities.
Members of KVANN are at the heart of KVANN’s conservation mission, growing plants in their own private gardens and regularly exchanging the varieties they get and create.
KVANN is currently developing a plant database on its website, which aims to offer members to log the plants they are saving seeds from and are willing to share, as well as to report how their crop trials are going.
The organisation would like to draw conservation reports from the database in the future. As for now, it is useful to keep track of who is cultivating and sharing what, as the organisation doesn’t have a proper centralised seed bank yet.
KVANN and its members have contributed to improve and share about 600 seed varieties over the years.
KVANN's plant database is available on its website, but you need to become a member to get access to it.
They mainly grow varieties adapted to local climate and soil conditions, from all types of plants (fruits, vegetable, flowers, aromatic herbs...)
Members are free to grow and share what they like, but KVANN encourages the saving of old Norwegian or Nordic mandate varieties from NorGen.
KVANN's collection of seeds is maintained by its members and available for them only.
As for all seed savers organisations, members of KVANN can order seeds from each other directly through the website.
KVANN also publishes an annual yearbook and autumn catalogue to boost seed exchanges amont its members.
Sometimes the organisation’s members participate to event gathering a larger seed savers community through which they can share their collections with non-members.
It is possible to follow and/or support KVANN’s work in different ways.
To have access to its newsletter, it is needed to register a user profile on the website, which is free of charge but allows the association to follow the number of people having interest about its actions.
It is also possible to become a member of the association, for an annual fee: of 250 nok for regular members, 400 nok for families and 500 nok for companies and organisations.
As a member of KVANN, you get access to seeds and plant material from the Norwegian clone archives and the unique collections in Nordgen, which are made available to members through the collaboration with the Norwegian Genetic Resource Center (NGRS).