Various types of seed, sustainable agriculture and global food supplies

Initiative for GMO-free agriculture and the protection of seeds

The organisation "Save Our Seeds" (SOS) has been involved since 2002 in various projects for sustainable food suppliers, agriculture and rural development. The project content comprises the protection of seeds, GMO-free agriculture and agricultural policy debates. A major objective of SOS is the promotion and development of national and international cooperation and networking between associations, institutions and organisations. In addition to these long-term and strategic alliances, various national and international campaigns and activities for sustainable agriculture are key tasks of SOS.

SOS sees itself as a competence centre of the GMO-critical movements in Europe, as well as a point of contact for politicians, companies, regional governments and the media. The aim of the organisation is the preservation of agriculture and food production which is free of genetic engineering, as well as keeping conventional and organic seed free from extraneous genes. For this, SOS is committed to the promotion, preservation and further development of the number of varieties available and supports the development of seed which is adapted to the environment. In order to raise the awareness not only of the general public, but also politicians and business for the vital global tasks which need to be carried out by agriculture in the future, which must be based on ecological necessity, fairness and a sense of community, SOS organises and stages numerous lectures, symposia and demonstrations every year, as well as producing information brochures. The long-term goal, the paradigm shift from the traditional emphasis on high productivity to environmental and social sufficiency, is governed by the central idea of "enough instead of more".

The numerous annual activities of SOS deal with the subjects of agro-gene technology, seeds, sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty. SOS organises the annual conference of the European GMO-free regions, the publication of the gene technology information service and the bantam maize campaign and is particularly active at the EU level with its lobbying and networking. Since 2009 SOS has also been working on making the World Agricultural Report of the United Nations and the World Bank better known. This work culminated in 2011 in the campaign "My Agriculture" for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union and its pan-European counterpart, the "Agricultural and Rural Convention 2020" (Arc2020). As part of the 2000m² project, SOS is also testing in the so-called "world arable field" how the area of arable land to which every individual has a right might be planted. If the total arable land in the world is divided by the number of its inhabitants, each of us has an area of 2,000 square metres, within which everything that feeds, clothes or moves us has to grow. The "world arable field" is therefore being planted with, for example, cereals, maize, rice, vegetables, animal feed, cotton, tobacco, spices and even rubber.


The "Save our Seeds" (SOS) organisation

"Save Our Seeds" (SOS) was launched in 2002 as the Berlin office of the Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft in der GLS Treuhand e.V. ("Foundation for the Future of Agriculture at GLS Treuhand (registered association)). The initiative is also a European campaign to ensure that seed is not contaminated by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and for the defence of GM-free agriculture and food production. The work of the organisation began with a pan-European initiative which still exists today for the defence of conventional seeds which are free from genetically engineered contamination. Its demand for "zero tolerance" for genetic engineering in seeds was considered utopian at the time. Today it is the position taken by all parties represented in the German Bundestag (Lower House of the German Federal Parliament) and the vast majority of EU governments. From this initiative, SOS has developed many other activities and projects relating to genetic engineering in agriculture, freely reproducible and generally available seeds, sustainable, ecological and rural agriculture and food sovereignty, new relationships between towns/cities and the countryside, as well as a fundamental paradigm shift. Most of these activities have an international, often European perspective. The roots and values of the work carried out by SOS are to be found in organic and biodynamic agriculture.

How long has the MAHLE FOUNDATION been funding the project and what are the funds specifically used for?

The MAHLE FOUNDATION has been supporting "Save Our Seeds" for many years. No specific activities of the organisation are supported, but their implementation is made possible by means of a basic budget.