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The Native Seed and Family Farming Festival is organized in Uruguay every two years since 2004. It is a space for farming families to meet and participate, where they share with the general population and other social organizations the importance of local genetic resources for food sovereignty. It gathers farmers from different areas of the country, researchers, individuals and rural/urban organizations. This year it is scheduled to take place from April 22 to 23 in La Paloma, Rocha Department, in the Eastern coast of Uruguay.
The Festival is organized by the Native Seed Network. This year, the assembly of farmers of the Network chose to hold the festival in Rocha, due to the increasing number of projects in the region. About this, Real World Radio interviewed Victoria Pardo, a local referent in the organization of this 7th Festival.
Pardo is member of the Native Seeds Group of Rocha Department created in 2016 and part of the Network; together with La Pitanga, the other group of the Network from Rocha, they are the organizers of the Festival.
Pardo explained that unlike other editions, this time the place was not chosen due to the presence of a specific environmental problem, but on the contrary: "we chose Rocha for the positive initiatives and activities growing in this department" that aim to improve continuity. She added that "there is a mix of cultures and people in this area", people who have chosen to live here and want the best for this region. "Movements are being created that want the best for Rocha, and we are advancing towards a positive direction", said Pardo, who was born in Argentina.
Many times, groups are created due to special needs. About the work of La Pitanga, she made reference to the particular situation of La Paloma: "we didn´t have fertile lands for our vegetable gardens and to grow our food, so we started making fertile lands to contribute with the gardens of our neighbors". So La Paloma municipality "gave us a piece of land where we work in the production of organic compost with residues from food markets, meat plants, wood chips and this is all managed by La Paloma neighbors".
Details of the Festival
The meeting point will be at the campsite of PIT-CNT, the trade union center of Uruguay. On April 21st, the day before the Festival, there will be a National Meeting of Native Seed Varieties. The activities with the public in general will take place over the weekend. While there are some details that haven´t been confirmed yet, Pardo stated that on Saturday there will be a biodiversity market, where people will exchange native seeds and sell goods produced by the members of the network; there will be workshops and then a cultural event. On Sunday there will be presentations about experiences under development in the area, such as organic gardens.
In the coming days, the festival will be promoted in the media to maximize the participation of farmers of the area and of "ordinary individuals who don´t know anything about the work carried out by the Network but who could be interested in joining us", she concluded.
“Las mujeres somos quienes mantenemos la esperanza. Y creo que en ese mantener la esperanza tenemos que contagiar a muchas otras mujeres y decirles que se atrevan, que salgan, que levanten la voz, que no les dé miedo hablar. (…) Hay miedos que se nos han creado a las mujeres dentro de nuestros entornos sociales y culturales. (…) Cargamos la manta del miedo en un momento que nos llega, pero luego nos quitamos la manta del miedo, y seguimos con la manta de la esperanza”. Jakeline Romero Epiayu.
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