Graines de Troc (bartering of seeds)
« Graines de Troc » is a french-speaking non-commercial online free marketplace for exchanging agriculture and garden seeds ( considered as commons) beetwen community members. Sending seeds allows members to gain tokens and then to choose other seeds in the common collection. Since the beginning of the platform, there more than 20000 users participated, 8500 varieties of seeds were stored, 60000 transactions were realized. Presently the exchange rythm is about 750 transactions by weeks. To facilitate logistics, the storage of seeds is decentralized into small local garners (« grainothèques ») distributed on the territories (550 garners are now used). The Graines de Troc platform serves as a relay towards little local exchange barter groups (often at the district or village scale). In France and in Europe, free exchanging of seeds stays framed by strong restrictive quality and juridical rules. The standardization long-term action (since 1940’s by public policies, illustrated by the national Institutions of Seeds such as, France, the Groupement National Interprofessionnel des Semences et Plants /GNIS)) and the stress from agrifood industry (patents..) strongly reduce the biodiversity of seeds. But very recent European directives and French liberalization (Loi Biodiversité in 2016) should reverse the trend. In some cases (seeds of old varieties…) the online platform is for actors the more practical (and even the only) solution to provide rare species, insure their perennity and perpetuate the accompanying know-how. The background context is also marked by the existence in France of « Semences paysannes » a big farmers’ community, with an old tradition of networking for knowledge sharing and seeds bartering (https://www.semencespays… ). In this context several online marketplaces emerged to swap seeds, Graines de Troc being one of the biggest, growing internationally.
Author: Jean Phillipe Cahier, UTT Troyes, France
Date: 17 Jan 2019