did you know that...

Only 1% of the agricultural land in Greece is cultivated with traditional varieties!

95% of Greece's local wheat varieties had disappeared already by the 1980s!

Although humans have cultivated over 6,000 plant species, today 66% of the world's crop production comes from just nine!

Our plant genetic wealth is a source of prosperity for all and the basis of a healthy and resilient food system. The LEMRACE safeguards the crop genetic heritage of Lemnos, by conserving and utilisinge the local varieties of the island.

LEMRACE comes from the words LEMNOS (Λήμνος) and LANDRACE (local variety) and is implemented by MedINA in collaboration with the Greek Gene Bank / Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources of ELGO-DIMITRA.

Project objectives

  • New inscriptions of Lemnian varieties in the National Register of Crop Varieties of the Ministry of Rural Development & Food.
  • The development of a local network of seed guardians – custodians of the plant genetic resources of Lemnos.
  • The creation of a small-scale community seed bank for local varieties.
  • The development of a model short supply chain “from seed to plate”.
  • Raising awareness and mobilisation of the local community, with an emphasis on the youth, through educational activities and open participatory events.

The project ”LEMRACE – Conservation of the crop genetic wealth of Lemnos: local varieties for sustainable development of the Lemnian food system”, with a budget of €49,750.00, is implemented by the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos and the Greek Gene Bank / Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources of ELGO-DIMITRA, in the framework of the funding programme ”NATURAL ENVIRONMENT & INNOVATIVE ACTIONS 2023”, Priority Axis 4: ”INNOVATIVE ACTIONS WITH CITIZENS”. The project belongs to the thematic field ”A.4. Protection and Conservation of Biodiversity” and is funded by the Green Fund.

our actions

Inscribing new varieties to the National Register

Local crop varieties, also known as landraces, are living treasures of valuable genetic material, the result of centuries of selection, conservation, and improvement by farmers, with special agronomic and nutritional characteristics! However, today, due to the intensification of agricultural practices, they are endangered genetic resources of great scientific and socio-economic value.

The main objective of this activity is the inscription of local varieties of Lemnos in the National Register of Crop Varieties, which is the only institutional way to protect and save plant genetic resources in Greece. Specifically:

  • the inscription process will continue for the local varieties Lafyri (Lathyrus sativus) 1 and 2, Gyftofassoulo (Vigna unguiculata) and Afkos (Lathyrus ochrus),
  • in parallel, two new inscription files will be submitted for the local tomato varieties: the long narrow tomato of Lemnos and the miloudi (meaning “apple-tomato”)!

Development and educational support of a network of seed guardians on Lemnos

A necessary condition for the conservation of local varieties is the existence of the people who cultivate them, i.e. the farmers! LEMRACE aims to create a small and flexible network of seed guardians, who will be custodians of the valuable phytogenetic resources of Lemnos!

At the same time, a series of capacity building workshops will be organised to strengthen farmers’ skills regarding proper seed production and storage for cereals and vegetables, pruning and plant protection of almond trees.

Creation of a small-scale community seed bank “Lemnian Seed Bank”

A key requirement for the conservation and promotion of local varieties is the existence of a seed bank, which will facilitate seed collection and storage providing access to all interested farmers.

The aim of this activity is to create an organisational structure at the local level, which will facilitate the systematic recording of local varieties, the safe preservation of the necessary propagating material, the exchange and distribution of seeds, providing substantial support to the network of seed guardians.

This community seed bank will be created in Myrina, Lemnos; it will be in direct coordination with the Greek Gene Bank of ELGO-DIMITRA, being a complementary structure that will operate under its guidance.

Development of a model short supply chain “from seed to plate”

Local varieties have special organoleptic characteristics: Taste, Aroma and Nutritional value, thus constituting a key component of rare and unique quality products. The aim of this activity is to develop synergies between farmers/seed guardians and chefs, in the context of sustainable tourism development, through coordinated actions. Together with producers and chefs of the island, we will co-create value chains based on the uniqueness of Lemnian varieties! Local varieties will become the raw material for traditional and new dishes, accompanied by narratives and communication material that will bring the visitor closer to the agri-food heritage of Lemnos.

Environmental education at schools

Through this activity, we aim to raise awareness and provide experiential education to school students about the traditional local varieties of Lemnos. In this context, we will create a vegetable garden with local varieties at the Technical High School of Moudros. Our allies in this effort will be the children!

The next experiential activity will be the “farming cycle of local varieties”, a game to be played with younger children from the kindergarten. Together with the children we will draw the map of Lemnos, following the farming cycle of the year to learn when and in which parts of the island each local variety is sown.

Communication and dissemination

Project results will be communicated in various ways both to the local community of Lemnos and at the national level, through open events, informative material and regular media updates. Follow project progress in the “News” section!

our team

Latest updates from LEMRACE