Panel talk: Cooperation Between Civil Society and Scientific Community: Common Aims and Future Work

Day: 14/11/2020

Time: 12:00 -13:30 (GMT+1)

Place: via Zoom platform and Live at ZMAG association, Croatia.

In 2018, ZMAG launched the Community Seed Bank as an informal and locally managed institution owned by its members, open to the public, food producers, small farmers, gardeners, and consumers. The main activities are the preservation and cultivation of domestic seeds, which will be saved, shared, reproduced, and passed on to future generations. On behalf of ZMAG – Sendy Osmicevic and Marija Zrnic will speak about their experiences of organizing and managing Croatian’s Community Seed Bank. On the other hand Italian geneticist, Prof. Salvatore Ceccarelli will speak about the role of biodiversity in plant breeding in relation to complexity, location specificity, and combined challenges of climate change, human population increase, human health, and food security, safety, and sovereignty. Prof. Anna Scialabba will reflect on her experiences of establishing the Seed Bank of Palermo University and the challenges of conservation of biodiversity in Sicily.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 984 9712 7275

Passcode: 523212



Sendy Osmicevic and Marija Zrnic

Members of ZMAG association. Green Network of Activist Groups (ZMAG) is an association established in 2002 in Croatia which unites organic gardeners and food producers, practitioners of sustainable technology and engineering, permaculture designers, economic justice model researchers, and participative forms of organizing. ZMAG deals with the promotion, education, and application of permaculture ethics and establishing a foundation for sustainability, which comprises various social, ecological, and economic levels.


Prof. Salvatore Ceccarelli

He is an Italian geneticist author of over 250 publications, of which about 140 in scientific journals. His career can be divided into the university period, the period of international genetic improvement, and the period dedicated to participatory genetic improvement – a strategy that keeps breeding knowledge and seeds sovereignty into the community of cultivators. Further development of this strategy led to the idea of ​​participatory selection, which was initially implemented in Syria, and then extended, to Tunisia, Morocco, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Iran, Algeria, Yemen, Egypt, and recently to Italy. He has worked with Vandana Shiva and many other activists and researchers.


Prof. Anna Scialabba, UNIPA

She is a Professor of Botany at the University of Palermo where she has carried out her teaching and research activities. Since its establishment in 1993, she has been in charge of the Germplasm Bank of the STEBICEF Department of Palermo University and has dealt with ex situ conservation by favoring biological aspects of plant genetic resources applied in the management of the banks. She is the author of more than 200 publications and articles. She participated in different national and international conferences.



Moderators: Egle Oddo and Lea Vene

Egle Oddo is an Italian artist living in Finland. She has been researching plant seeds, vegetal consciousness and agency, plant analogies and plant imagery since 2007, with a specific focus on seeds and their interaction with the human population. Her work has been presented in international biennials and museums as well as in independent spaces and events.

Lea Vene is an art historian and cultural anthropologist. She completed her post-graduate studies at Critical Images and R-Lab at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden. She has been working as a curator at the Miroslav Kraljević Gallery for several years and she is part of the curatorial team of the Organ Vida Festival of Photography. She is a lecturer at the Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb.



12:00 Welcome words by Lea Vene and ZMAG association

12:10 Short introduction of the speakers and the moderators

12:20 Sendy Osmicevic and Marija Zrnic introduce the activity of ZMAG

12:35 Prof. Salvatore Ceccarelli introduces the participatory plant breeding (PPB) and his research on grano evolutivo.

12:55 Prof. Anna Scialabba introduces the Germoplasm Bank of Palermo University and her research on the Nebrodi beans.

13:10 Discussion and questions from the audience.

13:25 Closing remarks by Egle Oddo and Lea Vene.


Panel is organized as part of the exhibition Five Short Stories by Egle Oddo at GMK gallery, Zagreb.

The project is supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, City of Zagreb, ZMAG, Italian Council, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Finnish Cultural Foundation.

The project is realized thanks to the collaboration with the STEBICEF Department of Palermo University.


Author of the photography: Niko Goga