Nilüfer Municipality organized the 8th Seed Exchange event. Due to the earthquake and flood disasters in the country, the seed exchange event was held only as a “seed exchange”, and held without a festival. There were 55.000 packages of seeds distributed / exchanged. Seeds were approximately 120 varieties such as peppers, beans, zucchini and tomatoes.

The 8th Seed Exchange event was organized with the cooperation of Nilüfer Municipality, Nilüfer Citizens’ Council and Ecological Life Association (EKODER). The seed exchange events become a tradition every year, and important as one of the significant works of the Nilüfer Municipality for protecting ancestral seeds and transferring them to future generations.

In the 8th Seed Exchange event, tens of thousands of seeds changed hands in various parts of Anatolia to meet with the soil. Citizens who came to the event first marked the seeds they wanted on the forms, and then received their seeds from the tables. Citizens did not neglect to exchange the seeds in their hands.

The Mayor of Nilüfer, Turgay Erdem, who made the opening speech, stated that they attach importance to the Seed Exchange event and emphasized that they want to share the ancestral seeds, which are the guarantee of agricultural biodiversity, and transfer them to the future. The 8th Seed Exchange event was held with the participation of seed volunteers, seed groups and associations, farmers and citizens from many provinces and districts of Turkey.

Seed exchange events ensure the dissemination and conservation of local seeds and the development of seed diversity in the Nilüfer Seed Library and coincide with FUSILLI actions. While we build a more sustainable food system, we remember how vital the seeds are with these events.

Seeds from many cities of Turkey changed hands. Nilüfer City Council, EKODER, Bornova Municipality (İzmir), Gemlik Municipality (Bursa), Karşıyaka Municipality (İzmir), İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, Eskişehir Metropolitan Municipality, Tekirdağ Metropolitan Municipality and Ata Seed Exchange Association also shared their local seeds at the seed exchange event. We hope that the seeds will multiply and reach more people in the coming years. We hope those ancestral seeds will be protected and produced more in every city. We need to protect the air, water, soil and seeds, which we understand their importance better every day.

Citizens exchanging seeds
Citizens exchanging seeds

Ancestral seeds struggle for existence in today’s world

It is known that local seeds create a protection mechanism against existing plant diseases and pests with the resistance they develop in the geography and climate they are adapted to. It is important to bring the seeds distributed/exchanged at the 8th Seed Exchange event to the soil, to produce your own seeds and to share the excess seeds with our relatives, friends and neighbors who are interested in. Because the plants obtained from these seeds will still bear the same fruits, they are not one-time, disposable, one-year-old (like hybrid) seeds. At harvest time, it’s easy to set aside a few crops and get their seeds. Let’s take care, protect and distribute our own seeds, at least as much as the crows do.

If you don’t know the story of the crow, let me tell you by the way.

It is believed that walnut trees spread by crows, and this is also known to be true. Because the crows love walnuts and they break the walnuts they take from the trees by dropping them from high (sky) to extract the inside. But not every walnut they drop on the ground from the sky is broken, these walnuts are buried in the ground and after a while they turn into trees. In this way, it is known that walnut trees were spread by crows.

This story also has a scientific side for sure. There is a symbiotic relationship between fruiting plants and the living things that feed on them. Plants provide animals with the necessary nutrients with their fruits and flowers to maintain their lives. Animals also serve plants by pollinating their flowers, spreading their seeds, removing barriers to germination and providing a suitable germination environment. Such a relationship has developed between some plants and some animals that the seed that does not pass through the digestive system of that animal will not germinate (!). It is also known that the main reason why some flowers, ripe fruits and leaves of ripe trees take on attractive colors and scents is a message to animals with which they have a symbiotic relationship.

As the human race that hunts, gathers, cultivates and consumes in nature, we must germinate and spread seeds just as much as crows do to protect our ancestral seeds. I think Nilufer does much more than crows do, but with all sustainability barriers considered, it’s obvious that we must do more to reduce the effects of the harm we do to nature.



Author: Mehmet Can Yılmaz (NIL)

Photos: Nilüfer Living Lab