The aim of this preparatory action is to document what is being done by community seed savers within agroecological territories of Lower Silesia (Poland). These seed savers belong to Food Sovereignty Network and our aim is to make their knowledge, experience and inspiration more widely available to beginner seed-savers. We also aim at encouraging inter-generational seed knowledge exchange. In addition we want to learn what opportunities, challenges and risks they encounter socially, economically and communally (in terms of collaboration) and understand recommended practices.
The research will be based on a structured “appreciative enquiry” questionnaire – a tool, which APLab developed for Agroecological Farm Research Toolkit last year, and which will be adapted to document in prose, video and photos systems, standards, issues, creative solutions, practices and views of experienced grassroot farmer seed savers.
We will focus on 3 most relevant examples from Lower Silesia region. We already know some more advanced and community-based seed-savers, and will network to learn about and identify others.
As part of the research of how farmers organise their seed homes and what challenges and opportunities their encounter we will further develop the research methodology, questionnaire and selection criteria. The template we develop based on feedback from session to session, will then be made available for volunteer research contributions or auto-diagnosis of seed homes in other regions.
We will choose our case studies to demonstrate diversity of models, approaches and scales of organising seed homes, using criteria:
- scale of seed saving (no of varieties and volumes of seeds)
- appropriate technologies and infrastructures
- collaborations with community, institutions and other growers/farmers
- sustainability of processes and operations
- types of knowledge involved in managing the seed homes
- types of challenges encountered
- vision, ethics and farming philosophies behind Seed-saving (permacuture, organics, agroecology) etc.
DOCUMENTATION AND REPORTING RESULTS
- Identification of seed homes within network (asking for recommendations, newsletter, FB announcement; In-Situ Seed farms working with National Seed Bank); this preliminary research will also feed into latter recruitment for the Seed-Saving training, training materials, will help us identify Polish trainers and develop further Test Action of building a Kaczawski Community Seed Home.
- Preliminary phone-call interviews and research of interest; arrangements of farm/seed home visits.
- Developing and improving the Seed Home and Seed-saving questionnaire and research methodology (to be available open-source later for volunteer researchers)
- Choice of 3 Seed-savers to be visited and interviewed based on best practice models we will have identified; completion of 3 one-day research visits in the region
- Analysing and organising the documentation and data, editing short videos and creating a catalogue of good practice. Making summaries available to collaborators (voluntary researchers, self-diagnosing seed-farmers).
- Enabling a platform for people to contribute their seed-homes’ stories to our database and mentoring volunteer researchers of supplementary seed homes (beyond 3 case studies). We may involve and train up an additional voluntary coordinator to help with this from Nyeleni Network.
- General analysis and reflection on our findings based on submitted and collected case studies, editing of short video-interviews for basic use by APLab SEED training participants as part of the preparation for the training.
- Using the findings to work on the Training programme and the Test action.