People outside the European Union (and many within it) are often surprised by the draconian regime surrounding seeds. Essentially, only registered varieties can be sold, and it costs the same to register some piffling little variety of interest only to a handful of gardeners as to register a new megavariety that will cloak the majority of farmers’ fields. The Common Catalogue, as it is known, has probably extinguished more local varieties than anything else. Some stalwarts have fought the legislation by simply ignoring it. (Full disclosure: I was once one of them.) But now a French Court has dumped a fine of €17,130 on the Kokopelli Association (also in English), for placing unregistered varieties on the market. That could easily put an end to the Association, and perhaps the more than 2000 varieties that it maintains and makes available to gardeners. Is that really what the EU, with all its lip service to biodiversity, wants? I think it is.
Kokopelli’s press release is here.