Dynamic Diversity in Organic Farming Networks

Round Table
Open to the Public
Nador u. 15
Auditorium B
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 5:30pm
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Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Book Launch & Roundtable Discussion

organized by
the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy at CEU,
the Environmental Social Science Research Group (ESSRG) Hungary 
& the Horizon 2020 DYNAVERSITY project team


17.30 Welcome and Introduction
László Pintér, Chair of Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, CEU

17.40 Why does Diversity Matter? Introduction to Dynaversity Project
Daniel Traon, Arcadia International, Belgium, Dynaversity Project Manager

Book launch:

17.50 Networking and Conventionalizing Diversity in Latvia and Costa Rica: Presentation of Book “Organic Sovereignties: Struggles over Farming in an Age of Free Trade”*
Guntra Aistara, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, CEU


18.20 Diversity in Context: Similarities and Differences in Diversity Struggles in Eastern and Western Europe

Bálint Balázs, Environmental Social Science Research Group, Hungary
Stéphanie Klaedtke, SEED, University of Liege, Belgium

18.40 Dynamic Diversities in European Seed Networks: Dynaversity Project Activites
Véronique Chable, INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research), France
Riccardo Bocci, Rete Semi Rurali, Italy

19.00 Public Discussion





Networking and Conventionalizing Diversities in Latvia and Costa Rica

Typically considered worlds apart, Latvia and Costa Rica are geopolitically and economically in-between places. Situated on the frontiers of the European Union and the United States, they illustrate how international treaties and free trade agreements have brought contradictory pressures for organic movements to simultaneously diversify and conventionalize their farming practices.

Guntra Aistara’s talk will highlight first how organic farmers in both countries build multi-layered and multispecies networks of socio-ecological diversity in their landscapes and seedscapes as a means of place-making.  It will then show how organic movements struggle against multiple forces of ‘conventionalization’ resulting from the harmonization of legislation associated with Latvia’s entry into the European Union and Costa Rica’s entry into the Central American Free Trade Agreement. These struggles represent attempts to create and defend spaces of organic sovereignties within the asymmetrical power relations of state and suprastate governance bodies.


Participants in the roundtable discussion will reflect on how farmers in other parts of Western and Eastern Europe experience similar struggles surrounding diversity, and highlight efforts underway through the Horizon 2020 Dynaversity project to facilitate and enhance diversity and dynamic conservation of seeds and agrobiodiversity in the European Union and beyond. 


Speaker bios:

Guntra Aistara is an environmental anthropologist whose research lies at the intersection of political ecology, food sovereignty, and environmental justice. She has been working for over 10 years with organic agriculture movements in Latvia and Costa Rica on research and participatory projects related to agrobiodiversity and seed sovereignty, agroecology, permaculture, culinary heritage revivals, seed exchange networks, and socio-ecological resilience of local food systems.

Stéphanie Klaedtke is an agronomist by training, whose research addresses seeds and plant health from an interdisciplinary perspective, as her PhD research was at the interface between crop ecology and the social sciences. She has a particular interest in agroecology, organic farming, and farmers' seed networks. She has a double affiliation, working both with the SEED (Socio-Economics, Environment, Development) unit of Liège University in Belgium and the French Technical Institute for Organic Agriculture, ITAB.

Bálint Balázs is a Senior Researcher and Executive Manager of the Environmental Social Science Research Group (ESSRG), Budapest, Hungary. With a background in sociology, he is interested in interactions between actors in sustainability transitions. He has international research experience in the field of sustainable and local food systems, transition to sustainability and policy analysis, as well as public engagement, science-policy dialogues, cooperative research and participatory action research. He is a member of the International Network for Community-Supported Agriculture Research Group and a board member of the research network Environment and Society (RN12) of the European Sociological Association.

Véronique Chable is a senior scientist at INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) in France. She has coordinated EU projects since 2007 with multi-actor and transdisciplinary approaches which aim to foster the diversity of cultivated plants and to increase their performance, resilience and quality, developing adapted diversity management/plant breeding for organic agricultures.

Riccardo Bocci (MSc in Agriculture, University of Florence) is the managing director of the Italian farmers’ seed network “Rete Semi Rurali” (www.semirurali.net). He has been involved since 2007 in EU projects dealing with organic seeds and participatory research. He is involved as an expert in the working groups of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture on article 6 (sustainable use) and article 9 (farmers' rights).


DYNAVERSITY (DYNAmic seed networks for managing European diVERSITY) project description:

Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) is an arena populated by different and composite actors, institutions and organisations, and regulated by many and often contradictory policies and laws. This domain is inhabited by not only the scientific community or ex situ genebanks, but also by public bodies (e.g. natural parks) and a variety of social actors playing a more and more active and dynamic role. In the past 20 years, in situ conservation has been increasingly managed by numerous seed networks, sharing knowledge and experiences amongst countries. These involve gardeners and citizens at different levels, as well as conscious consumers willing to support on-farm conservation of plant genetic resources and sustainable agriculture.

Acknowledging the diversity of the actors involved in the conservation of wild and cultivated biodiversity, DYNAVERSITY proposes dynamic management and governance aiming at enhancing interactions, complementarities and synergies. Based on a better understanding of organisational and relational dynamics around such initiatives, including the institutional barriers and enablers, DYNAVERSITY will facilitate co-construction between actors (e.g. farmers, gardeners, natural parks, seed craftsmen, community seed banks, researchers, ex situ actors, consumers) and establish new forms of seed networking and socio-environmental knowledge and practices. DYNAVERSITY will facilitate exchange and integration of scientific as well as practical knowledge on how to best manage diversity in agriculture and in the entire food chain, restoring evolutionary and adaptation processes.

Dynaversity Logo      

*University of Washington Press, 2018