The Kokopelli association, one of the Slow Food Terra Madre food communities, has been dealt a harsh legal blow. The French seed-saving organization which preserves seeds from heirloom vegetable and fruit varieties, was accused by the seed industry of selling their products without registering them.
According to French law seeds must be registered in a catalogue before they can be sold at the cost of 1,500 Euro ($2,174 US) for each variety. This week the French government ruled that Kokopelli had in fact broken the law.
A spokesperson for Kokopelli says the non-profit organization has 2,500 varieties and cannot afford to pay to register all of their seeds.
Founded in 1999, Kokopelli has close to 30 organic-seed producers who are based in Alès, in Languedoc. They work along with a network of volunteer associates who sell the seeds at fairs throughout France.
The association believes that access to open-pollinated seeds is the only way to alleviate hunger and to promote food security in a sustainable way. It also believes in the free circulation of seeds and the protection of biodiversity in vegetable matter. An important part of their work is the gifting of seed varieties to low income countries, especially India and parts of Africa. Kokopelli has training programs and seed collection centers in these countries.
Source: Il Manifesto