Rete Semi Rurali (literally “rural seeds network”) is the Italian Farmers’ Seeds Network. It was established in 2007 to strengthen and coordinate the activities of existing associations involved in issues related to seed systems and sustainable agriculture, and as of today consists of 41 members. The commitment of RSR consists in supporting farmers, both at technical and institutional levels, in the creation and dissemination of self-reliant and sustainable organic farming systems. RSR places seeds at the forefront of such commitment, promoting the idea that each soil needs its own seed and that “alternative” agricultural models – such as organic or biodynamic farming – can work only if based on appropriate and specifically adapted varieties.
Through its focus on seeds, RSR promotes a reconnection between a specific territory and agricultural activities, and to this end carries out a research and innovation agenda aimed at restoring and protecting seed biodiversity in close collaboration with farmers, and targeted to their specific agroecological environments and preferences. RSR has accumulated and disseminated valuable experience in methodologies and tools for working with farmers on agricultural biodiversity issues and for assessing and improving local-level seed systems in different European countries.
Routine RSR activities consist of:
• Providing information through a monthly informative newsletter and a periodical magazine, websites (www.semirurali.net; www.semiedintorni.it; www.biocentropertusati.it), meetings and publishing of technical and awareness material;
• Training activities based on knowledge exchange programs among farmers, technicians, researchers at regional, national and international, educational pathways with schools and specific vocational training courses;
• Engaging in advocacy to improve seed laws and related frameworks at national (together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the National Board of Elected Seeds (ENSE) and the Regions) and European level (together with the European Coordination Let’s Liberate Diversity! www.liberatediversity.org);
• Supporting the implementation of ITPGRFA-FAO at national level and on the promotion of agricultural good practices and sustainable use of agro-biodiversity at national and international level.
• The 40 associated organization to RSR have established a long term active collaboration with farmer, producer and consumer networks in local and regional areas:
Antica Terra Gentile
Arco irissrl www.arcoiris.it
Associazione agricoltori e allevatori custodi di Parma
Associazione Arca Biodinamica
AssociazioneItaliana per l’AgricolturaBiologica www.aiab.it
Associazione la Fierucola www.lafierucola.org
Associazione per l’agricoltura biodinamica www.biodinamica.org
Associazione per la Diffusione di Piantefra Amatori
Associazione Rurale Italiana www.assorurale.it
Associazione per la Solidarietà per la Campagna Italiana www.asci-italia.org
Associazione Solidarietà per la Campagna Italiana– Toscana
Associazione Veneta dei Produttori Biologiciwww.aveprobi.org
Centro InternazionaleCrocevia www.croceviaterra.it
Centro SperimentaleAutosviluppo www.domusamigas.it
Civiltà Contadina www.civiltacontadina.it
Coltivare Condividendo www.coltivarcondividendo.blogspot.it
Consorzio della Quarantina www.quarantina.it
Distretto di Economia SolidaleAltroTirreno
Distretto di Economia solidale della Brianza www.desbri.it
Diversamente Bio www.diversamentebio.it
Movimento per l’Autosviluppol’Interscambio e la Solidarietà www.mais.to.it
Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e dei Monti dellaLaga www.gransassolagapark.it
Principi Pellegrini Divangazioni www.divangazioni.org
Soffi di terra www.soffiditerra.it
Stazione consortile sperimentale di granicoltura per la Sicilia www.granicoltura.it
Terra! Onlus www.terraonlus.it
Terre e Tradizionisr lwww.terretradizioni.it
World wide opportunities on organic farms www.wwoof.it
Zolle srl www.zolle.it
• RSR works with regional agencies working on research and innovation on agriculture such as ARSIAL (www.arsialweb.it/cms ), ASSAM (www.assam.marche.it ) and CREA, the largest public agency operating in the field of agriculture with 15 centers in Italy.
• RSR is member of the European Coordination Let’s Liberate Diversity! liberatediversity.org.
• In the last years several organizations have set up collective seed banks and exchange seed networks, RSR has experience on methodologies and tools developed for community seed systems in different European countries (as database solutions of some national Network: RSR, RdS, RSP, PSR). It highlighted in several occasions recommendations and reflections to improve the databases based on the on-farm management of biodiversity and the quality of seeds in community-based seed systems. RSR represents also a seed networks including different stakeholders and gives the opportunity to share information on various experiences related to the construction of a network carrying on seed exchange and proposals for improving the functioning and structure of this kind of networks.