In October 2012, following Vandana Shiva’s call for seed freedom, the Portuguese association Wakeseed has been organising a national event on access to seed saving. Various people, NGOs and associations present at this event decided to continue their commitment to seeds. They created the “Ofinicinas de Recolha e Conservaçao de Sementes”. These workshops were organised at the local level and concern the local multiplication and sharing of seeds. The idea of organising local “Circulos de Sementes” (Seed Circles) was born. Fredereica Teixeira and Pepa Bernardes of the Wakeseed association propose to set up a national coordination and created the “Circulos de Sementes” association.
The number of “Circulos de Sementes” varies from year to year. In 2019, five “Circulos de Sementes” are active.
Members multiply locally the seed and everyone is responsible for at least one variety. Three rules must be respected: all seeds are pooled; seeds can’t be sold; no genetically modified seeds are allowed. During meetings, members exchange seeds and share the stories accompanying them with each other. The type of seeds multiplied is described by the association as “traditional and rustic” if possible, based on a local history. By traditional, this implies that they have been cultivated in the territory for at least 10 years.
Each local group is invited to form an “Arca comunitária de sementes”, that is a space for the collective storage of seeds.
The national network support local groups and organise activities, mainly with schools and universities, to spread the interest in seed and diversity.