A seed for change, is a non-profit organisation specialized in seed reproduction and propagation on balconies.
It was named after a 74 minutes documentary film, directed and produced by filmmaker Alexandros Ikonomidis.
As a victim of the 2008 economic crisis Alex Ikonomidis took on a long journey looking for alternative ways that would allow him to bypass the ugliness of Athens' protest and to reach a viable solution for the global depression that was hitting our modern ways of life.
Before the crisis, he was doing well, working in the production field, making television commercials for international brands. Then he found himself unemployed. As his income was fading away, he was spending most of his time just sitting there, avoiding spending money and worrying about things that he used to take for granted, like the shrinking size of his grocery list. He got scared for not being able to sustain himself anymore.
After a long investigation it became evident that only when we are able to grow food without the need of a financial income, we can break this vicious circle of fear, and make way to transcend to another level of human experience. It all linked back to agricultural seeds and knowing how to plant those seeds using a zero input organic method to produce high quality free food providing all the nutrients our body requires for healthy living.
A long journey began, looking for agricultural seeds and the know-how to grow his own food for free – a simple individualistic quest that soon proved to be a very complex global problem, as seeds have become patented, modified, genetically locked, and in the hands of very few private companies.
A Seed for Change is Alex Ikonomidis’ first feature length documentary. Lacking the finances didn’t stop him from completing this beautiful film but came at a cost. It took him 7 years to accomplish and he had to research, write, produce, direct, shoot and edit everything on his own.
The film premiered at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival on March 10, 2018 and was officially selected to be screened at the Swiss 'Festival Du Film Vert' in Lausanne and Neuchatel. It was also officially selected to be screened at the 'BIFED - Bozcaada International Festival Of Ecological DOCUMENTARY' (October 11-15) and at the 'PriMed - International Festival of Mediterranean Documentary and Reportage' (November 25 - 1 December, 2018), as well as at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (30 Jan. - 09 Feb. 2019) in California. Lastly it screened at Alexandre Trauner Art Film Festival in Hungary, Human Rights International Film Festival in Albania, and won the audience award at Athens Marathon International Film Festival in Greece before the filmmaker decided to make it available to the public through the website
In 2012, Alexandros decided to create the non-profit association A seed for change, with two other people and the support of the Swiss Foundation Pour une terre humaine.
He had already started to grow on his Athenian balcony, the seeds he had gathered during his journey, and collected them in order to participate himself to the preservation of cultivated biodiversity.
At some point, he offered people to come and collect part of his seed production, and began distributing reproducible and natural seeds from traditional and endangered varieties to as many people as he could.
First, Alexandros chose to ask people to give him back some of the seeds they produced, so that his collection could continue to grow and be disseminated. He regularly organized seed gatherings, in order to help rotating seeds between members.
Unfortunately, that functioning wasn’t 100% efficient, as the amateur gardeners he welcomed on his balcony, came from many different areas and didn’t always give him back part of their own production.
Alexandros recently decided to try another spreading method: to give few people many of his plants (more than 2000 on his balcony), what seems to be more efficient, as seeds are often coming back now.
Alexandros always did an important training work with people who borrowed seeds from him; teaching them how to create their own compost, how to reduce the amount of chlorine in tap water, how to fertilize the pots by planting some cereals or cabbages for nitrogen, how to recognize good and bad bug, how to enjoy this activity without using any pesticides or chemical fertilizers, creating organic sprays instead.
For years, that training job was coupled with an awareness-raising effort towards civil society. Besides fighting to get his movie broadcasted, Alexandros used to go to universities, fairs and festivals giving conferences about heirloom varieties, organic farming, food sovereignty.
Alexandros detains a collection of around 200 different seed varieties, that can be consulted on his website.
He tries to maintain that collection by reproducing, under organic conditions, all of the varieties he stores every planting season, but this remains a huge work to do by himself and sometimes germination fails.
But great surprises happen too: in 2020, some of the seeds that germinated were more than 10 years old!
Take a look at some of the amazing varieties he has found!
For almost 10 years, Alexandros was managing the association’s activities by himself, employing no people. The seeds were always given for free, relying totally on his paid jobs. The situation became difficult to undertake and he has decided to limit seed donations to close circle of friends for now.
Seeds are still being reproduced by him and a handful of dedicated people, ensuring higher rates of success in completing plants’ life cycle, as well as varieties survival.
Alexandros’ collection will continue to live and grow, hopefully to be spread again to the greatest amount of people, willing to discover the fantastic diversity he happened to collect and protect.
To support Alexandro’s commitment to seed saving, you obviously can start by watching his beautiful documentary, that remains actual and helps understanding the crucial issues related to plant heritage and seed autonomy.
The movie is available in 4 subtitled versions (English, French, Greek and Arabic) on the website.
Please note that no public screening of the documentary is allowed, without having a written consent from the filmmaker.
You can visit and like the Facebook page to access plenty of photos and useful information.
You also can give your financial support to the movie by making a donation.