Do you know peasant seeds? These seeds from a culture practiced outside the industrial circuit have been available for sale to individuals since the law of June 11, 2020. It is therefore possible for you to buy peasant seeds of fruits, vegetables and flowers, which will allow you to participate actively in the preservation of species not listed in the official seed register.
What are peasant seeds?
Peasant seeds are seeds produced by professional farmers and amateur gardeners for their own needs or those of relatives (neighbors, colleagues, friends). They are not genetically modified or hybridized like F1 type seeds. In addition, the cultivation of old seeds favors a varied diet and allows many species to be perpetuated.
You should know that in the past, farmers selected and freely exchanged the seeds from the most qualitative plantations. This craftsmanship guaranteed the transmission over time of ancient local species. Thus, the seed tradition favors tasty and robust varieties. Cultivating peasant seeds therefore contributes to strengthening biodiversity. Find out why it is important to promote the cultivation of peasant seeds in your garden.
The free movement of peasant seeds
Peasant seeds are a food and ethical choice. However, the free movement of peasant seeds has been the subject of a bitter legal battle between small producers and multinational groups. A few years ago, marketing peasant seeds was totally prohibited. The association Peasant Seeds Network Explain :
In Europe, the circulation (sale or exchange) of seeds is strictly regulated. Any seed marketed with a view to commercial exploitation must come from a variety listed in the Official Catalogue. This regulation, because it was designed for commercial seeds used on a large scale, is totally unsuitable for local or peasant varieties.
Are peasant seeds legal?
Since the law of June 11, 2020, amateur gardeners have the opportunity to buy peasant seeds. These are seeds that a farmer takes from his crop for later sowing. For the most part, farmers’ seeds are not registered on the Official catalog of species and varieties of cultivated plants. However, nothing prohibits the cultivation of unregistered varieties, because it is free and reproducible varieties.
In the case of a farmer or a market gardener, a subtlety persists. If a professional has the right to sell his vegetable production from peasant seeds, the law still does not allow it to buy peasant seeds. Indeed, only varieties listed in the Catalog can be marketed.
The director of the association Kokopelli Ananda Guillet emphasizes the subtle nuance that affects peasant seeds: “[L’agriculteur, NDLR] does not have the right to produce seed and to market that seed.”
Individuals, where to get country seeds?
New varieties are coming onto the market, which is great for the taste buds and biodiversity. The sale of peasant seeds (also called country seeds or old seeds) is authorized only for amateur gardeners. To get vegetable seeds, you have to get closer to local producers or order them online. If you are already saving old seeds for sowing, check to see if they are still good.
Go further on the subject
Want to deepen your knowledge on the subject? Watch for free online The seed war. This documentary sheds light on the fight for the free movement and sharing of seeds, in the face of the objectives of monopolization and privatization of seeds by multinational seed companies.