In order not to miss the ‘inço’: practices, discourses and conflicts around the seed guard

Leading researcher: Maria Helena A. G. Marques
Research group: Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography
Type of project: Doctoral research
Status: Concluded
Keywords: Agrobiodiversity | Cultural diversity | Conservation | Seeds | Agricultural plant heritage | Landraces

Main institution: CRIA
Participant institutions: n.a.
Funding: FCT
Reference: SFRH/BD/48769/2008
Starting date: 01-01-09

More information: link


Despite the setback and reconfiguration of farming in Portugal and standardization of processes and products grown, harvesting and storing seeds for subsequent plantings is a persisting practice within the family farming primarily intended for house consumption.The decision to keep seeds of certain varieties is mainly related to the specificity resulting from the special adaptation to the ecologically and socially distinct places in which they were selected and maintained and, therefore, with their strong connection to local gastronomy, family history and collective. On a single farm, two seemingly conflicting logics can exist at once: the mercantile that underlies the decision to buy seedlings instead of seeds to increase production for sale and another that relates to the symbolic capital they represent. Seeds, seen by companies, institutions, states and social movements sometimes as mere merchandises, or as genetic resources, capital of sovereignty or even as a heritage of humanity, are for for family farmers indispensable survival base, testimony and memory, sharing the intimate dimension of things and daily operations and the set of knowledge embedded throughout their lives. Seed-keeping practices are na expression of a social model in which the ideal of self-sufficiency remains present, but that social fragmentation, multi-functionality and breaks in the transmission of knowledge in rural areas, combined with the legal restrictions on production and circulation of seeds, among other factors, threaten, impairing agricultural biodiversity.

Researchers from CRIA

IDNamePositionProjTitleProject typeStatus
pub119*Maria Helena MarquesResearch scholarproj109*In order not to miss the 'inço': practices, discourses and conflicts around the seed guardDoctoral researchConcluded
Other researchers

Joaquim Pais de BritoSupervisorproj109*In order not to miss the 'inço': practices, discourses and conflicts around the seed guard