Biography of ASFC

‘A Seed for Change’ is a non-profit organization represented by a global network of natural seed keepers. Its members reproduce and swap old varieties of fruits and vegetables that they grow on their balconies and roof tops in the city, thus preserving our heritage and biodiversity.

It started as a reaction to the recent economic crisis and a personal journey of film maker Alex Ikonomidis, to an alternative and sustainable way of living. Filming and documenting was just a coincidence, and in August 2012, an unfinished documentary gave birth to a NPO concerned in heirloom seed reproduction in city like conditions.

The building blocks for this venture were the seeds; natural seeds that are able to complete their life cycle and reproduce themselves like they did for thousands of years before. But they couldn’t be found. These heritage seeds have become somehow extinct. They have become patented, modified, genetically locked and in the hands of very few private companies. They have been replaced by irreproducible hybrids and/or genetically modified seeds.

This triggered a restless seed hunt and in May 2013, three years after the project started, the film maker succeeded and managed to create a seed bank of more than 200 varieties, and filmed all the required footage for his documentary in Greece, Lebanon, Belgium, France and Qatar.

The intention of both the documentary and the non-profit organization is to mobilize city people, regardless of race, gender, social status, and political affiliation and connect them through a common hobby which is to revive old varieties of fruits and vegetables.

While learning how to grow his own food on his balcony in Athens, Alex proved that even a dull concrete space can be recruited to achieve a tremendous positive social change and it all starts with few seeds and pots. An improvised seed nursery on his balcony lead to the first official event organized by ‘A Seed for Change’, in response to Vandana Shiva’s global call for seed freedom in October 2012 and in collaboration with her organization Navdanya in India, hundreds of seed packages were distributed in Greece and Lebanon, and many joined the newly created network ‘ASFC’.

None of this would have been possible without the help of many, especially the generous backup of the Swiss foundation ‘Pour Une Terre Humaine’ in July 2012 and the support of the French association Kokopelli in February 2013.