Expedition to Valkininkai and Tiltai, 20.10.2019

inventory Oct 26, 2019

Expedition to look for old varieties and to try to find people in the countryside areas who still grow their own plant seeds was planned and carried out. Initially, two small towns in south of Lithuania were chosen. Valkininkai and Tiltai both are old villages. Tiltai is an ethnographical street-type village with traditional wooden architecture and other traditional aspects.

For this expedition Latvian partners joined in. In Valkininkai numerous households were inquired about old varieties of vegetables or other heritage plants. No one really knew actual seed-savers in the village. After several conversations an old lady was met that lived there for most of her life. She was interviewed and we, as visitors were pleasantly surprised. We learned about a lettuce that was grown by the lady for 60 years (and possibly even more in the family) as well as beans, peppers, onions, tomatoes from 20-40 years. Some seed samples were given to us by the lady and will be grown in 2020. No other seed-savers were found in Valkininkai.

In the second village Tiltai, local people passing by on the street were inquired and we got some hints about a lady who is growing flowers and has some old flower varieties. Unfortunatelly she was not at home. Another lady was pointed out that might be growing seeds. We visited her immediatelly and introduced our work. Quickly we learned about 2 types of zucchini and 2 types of pumpkin she grew that were inherited from her mother around 40-50 years ago. A seed-exchange was made and we even got actual samples of zucchini, photos of 2 kinds of pumpkins stored in a storage house and seeds of all four vegetables.

Overall we got some useful experience looking for old varieties of crops, met dedicated seed savers and got some valuable examples of vegetables.