September 28 – 29 have been exciting days in Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal, the home town of Sementes Vivas SA, when several events came together! With its existing contiguous organic areas of 500ha and 300ha and over 80 organic projects, Idanha received the European certification as an organic region as the first in Portugal. This year, the region was awarded the title of Best European Organic Region by the European Commission and IFOAM!
People came from all over, visited Sementes Vivas and talked about the future of organic farming and food.
Sementes Vivas emphasised that organic farming is the future. The environment and healthy food leave no alternative. Idanha is an important plant breeding location in Portugal for vegetables and legumes, next to Mertola (Lebende Samen e.V.) and Braga (Gene-Bank). The EU Liveseeding project was presented at the Sementes Vivas location. Finally, gathered breeders and research experts gave presentations and answered attendees’ questions.
Cooperation with Ministry of Agriculture in Morocco
One of the visiting groups was a team of 17 experts from the Ministry of Agriculture in Morocco, the national organic organisation, as well as regions that would like to become organic regions. The Ministries of Agriculture of Portugal and Morocco have agreed to cooperate more closely in organic agriculture. Training, seminars, workshops, research and exchange of experiences are to be intensified. Idanha is also home to a training centre that offers conversion courses in organic farming. Additionally, there is the CARe-Bio research center in Idanha that focuses on organic regenerative agriculture and seed research. It supports 80 projects in soil management, agroforestry, and organic seeds. CARe-Bio is also linked to the local Documentary Centre of around 11.000 books of organic farming and natural medicine. The Moroccan team received a two days programme and the next Bio-Regions will pop-up in Morocco.
Demeter Portugal Association
On the 29th of September, St Michaels day, Sementes Vivas jointly with Demeter farmers of Portugal and farmers in conversion towards Demeter signed the documents to found the Demeter Portugal Association. The celebration was accompanied by the Adufe singers of Idanha, a group of around 15 ladies. Adufe is a local rhythm instrument that is used to accompany the singing of the fairies during harvests and other agricultural events.