Seed Activism: Global Perspectives

Thursday, March 25th, 12:00 – 1:30 PM Pacific

In Canada and around the world, there has been a corporate push in the past two decades to strengthen laws and regulations governing seeds and plant varieties. These developments have proven highly controversial and have prompted a resurgence of activism around seeds. In this NFUniversity session, Dr. Karine Peschard will draw on the experiences of Brazil, India, New Zealand and Norway to provide a global perspective on these developments. How have different groups – peasants and family farmers, large farmers, Indigenous peoples and civil society organizations – come together to oppose these legislative changes? What are the parallels with recent developments in Canada (namely, Bill C-18 and the Seeds Act Regulations), and what can be learned from these countries’ experiences? This session will highlight common trends among countries with different agricultural landscapes, and present successful examples of mobilizations against seed enclosures.


Karine Peschard is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Trained as an anthropologist, her research interests center on intellectual property, agrobiodiversity, legal activism, peasant rights and seed sovereignty, with a focus on Brazil and India. Her work has appeared in several edited books and academic journals, including the Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology, the Annual Review of Anthropology and the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS). She recently co-edited a JPS Special Forum on Seed Activism, and is preparing a book entitled ‘Seed Activism: Patent Politics and Litigation in the Global South.’

Following Karine’s presentation, former NFU Vice President Cam Goff will give a brief history of UPOV and discuss its implications in regards to Canada’s seed business and impact on Canada’s public seed development system. He will also outline recent and ongoing attempts to privatize Canada’s seed system that threaten our public interest seed institutions.

Sign up for the class:

NFUniversity March 25 Class Registration


Registration for all NFUniversity classes is free. After you register, you will receive an email with details about how to join the class via Zoom, or by phone.

If you have questions about registration, please call (306) 652-9465 or email

Note: We encourage those interested in French interpretation to register at least 48 hours in advance.

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