Covai Seed Festival 2018 | Bio Basics

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Covai Seed Festival – An Introduction

Covai Seed Festival 2018The Covai Seed Festival 2018 is a first-of-its-kind event in Coimbatore that brings together farmers, seed savers, enthusiasts, activists and consumers. It includes not just organic shopping and learning activities (through workshops & talks), but also a host of fun activities… and a lot more!

The entry is FREE!

The Dates: July 21 & 22, 2018

The Venue: KSIRS International School, Chinnavedampatti, Coimbatore

Seed Savers… and Seeds

This Seed Festival will be a unique opportunity where you can access seeds directly from not just individual seed savers, but farmers and reputed seed saver collectives. You will find a wide variety of seeds here – vegetable seeds, medicinal plant seeds, etc.

You can meet and interact with rice seed savers from Wayanad to Thanjavur, the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. Millet, vegetable and medicinal plant seeds will be available from Karnataka, Tamilnadu and elsewhere.

These Seed savers will display the invaluable agro-diversity that they have been conserving out of their own passion and commitment. Such agro-diversity is of immense value to both farmers as well as consumers of this country.

We, the urban folk, who are rarely exposed to this heritage of ours can well use this opportunity to learn about it and, as consumers of traditional food products, become partners in this conservation effort. You can also learn to build your own terrace or kitchen garden from local urban gardeners.

Bio Basics will bring to you heirloom seeds conserved and produced by Vanastree, an all-women seed collective in North Karnataka

An opportunity to Go Organic

Seed Festival

This Covai Seed Festival is also an opportunity to find out about how local retailers (like Bio Basics) source organically grown produce and groceries. You could also test-buy some organic products as your first step to going organic.

The range of items available will not be restricted to merely organic food products… there will be clothes made of organic cotton, books, traditional foods, and a lot more! You will find books related to vegetable gardening and terrace gardening, etc at the Bio Basics stall.

Meet & Interact with Activists & Experts

The series of talks will be flagged off by the Vice Chancellor, the Tamilnadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Dr. K. Ramasamy, who will deliver the inaugural address on traditional agro-diversity and organic farming.

There are a host of talks lined up…

Pamaiyyan, the expert on all things “Tamizh” and tradition, will speak about the beginning with Tholkapiyam. Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, the cattleman of Tamilnadu will talk about indigenous cattle breeds, tempting you to take a Kangeyam home, however impractical it seems. Kavitha Kuruganti and Sridhar Radhakrishnan will touch upon traditional seeds and politics of seeds, while Krishna Prasad will take you through the seed network journey of Sahaja Samrudha. Arachalur Selvam, farmer, processor, and teacher will give you a perspective on the journey of being local and global. Many others will be there to talk and interact. And Devi Lakshmikutty, Co-founder Director of Bio Basics will share her experiences working with the Save Our Rice Campaign.

Covai Seef Festival - Speakers -1

Covai Seef Festival - Speakers -2

The NGOs Involved

ASHA, the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture, was born in 2011 after the Bt brinjal struggle in 2010.  It was born from the two months Kisan Swaraj Yatra undertaken by civil society activists, farming enthusiasts to meet and talk and engage farmers and consumers across the country. With representatives from across of the country ranging from activists to scientists to students to concerned citizens to farmers, this collective led by Kavitha Kuruganti and others has been taking up every issue concerning farmers, be it indebtedness, minimum support price, promotion of organic farming and support through government initiatives. A beacon of hope for farmers!

Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (India Seed Sovereignty Alliance) was born on a wintry morning in New Delhi, in the march of 2014, around a beautiful installation made of seeds of 100s of kinds arranged beautifully by a group of women farmers. This collective of farmers and seed savers from across the country, working with all crops resolved that conservation, regeneration of seed diversity and self-reliance in seeds is their responsibility to future generations.  A collective, the name of which was decided after much thought, that brought together passionate seed savers, connected through their passion for traditional varieties, conservation of these varieties and their zest to reclaim these varieties from the frozen seed banks into a live heritage on the ground. Working in over 10 states this collective conserves anything from maize to pulses to wheat to paddy to millets to vegetable seeds. Organising seed festivals, a small team of committed seed savers and enablers are led by Krishna Prasad like the veritable pied piper to meet and embrace more seed savers every year, network. Find more varieties and conserve more. The seed savers from around the country are connected and linked to each other through this network. Some of them are here for you to meet and interact.

Save Our Rice, a movement that Nammalwar Ayya said would make history has today resulted in conservation of over 1200 varieties of paddy seeds across the five paddy growing states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Jharkhand & Chhattisgarh. Raktasali, Mullankazhama, Thavala Kannan, Valiya chenneluu from Kerala, Rajamudi, Gandhakasaale from Karnataka  Mappilai samba, Kattuyanam, Poongar, Ilupai poo samba from Tamil Nadu, Dudheswar and numerous other scented varieties from West Bengal, the list is unending. Farmer field days, rice diversity blocks, seed festivals have brought in 100s of 1000s of farmers to try out new seeds. The Campaign runs a Nel Thiruvizha in Tamil Nadu in May every year which has become one of the most celebrated events in the farmer calendar of Tamil Nadu. The collective has 100s of seed saver farmers who are not only conserving but also seed marketers, supplying traditional seeds even to government programs. Led by Usha and Sridhar Radhakrishnan from Kerala, the Campaign is directly or indirectly responsible for a good part of the paddy seed conservation work going on around. SreeDevi of Coimbatore also has been an important coordinator of SOR.

Safe Food Alliance, an alliance of physicians, lawyers, traders, human rights activists, farmers, consumers, and academicians, who want to ensure safe and secure food to all, to make food safe and nourishing, to grow food that makes our soil fertile, restores our environment and secures farmers livelihoods. This is a group of concerned people who came together in Tamil Nadu to protect, promote and preserve their food and farming during the struggle for keeping Bt brinjal from the farms and plates, this alliance has been consistently bringing together farmers and consumers in different parts of the state. While educating consumers they have been supporting farmers and taking up issues for both sides with the state. A movement of young and old, men and women, this has been a consistent force since 2010.

Come; join us be part of this journey to know about the seed behind your food. Bring your children to connect them to the roots behind the fruit we eat! Come to the Covai seed fest! This festival will bring together key seed savers and custodians across the country to discuss issues endangering the indigenous varieties of seeds and to get down to action in safeguarding the sovereignty of the Seed and the Farmer.

An Eco-friendly Seed Festival

The organizers of the seed festival are trying to make this event as Eco-friendly as possible. To meet that end they have issued some instructions, which we request you to also follow when you visit.

1. No Flex banners: Only cloth banners to be used by stalls

2. No plastic carry bags: Only paper bags or cloth bags to be used by stalls

3. No PET water bottles: There will be water sources (in cans and taps). There will be no water sold in disposable bottles. So, visitors are advised to bring their own containers/bottles for refill.