Community development, Education and research

Network of Home Gardens in Bulgaria

Network of home gardens in Bulgaria for conservation of local plant varieties and landraces. How to keep agrobiodiversity in home garden for the future.


Who is behind this?

Mariya Sabeva



Who is joining forces?

Institute of Plant Genetic Resources "K. Malkov''



Idea pitch

To keep alive landraces or acquired traditional seeds of old local varieties, populations and forms at home garden. To support home gardeners under different ways. To make a plan for short term preservation /up to 5 yrs/, seed exchange of local varieties with good taste among interested gardeners, small and large scale farmers. Integration of minority groups who have an interest in the topic, students, unemployed people at the village/town.

Where will your project idea take place?

Southeastern Bulgaria; Central Northern Bulgaria; Central Southern Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The carried out by the team expeditions and previous studies show that there are differences in protecting the agrobiodiversity in indicated from us regions. The limited growing of seeds, pods, cuttings, the abandonment of most of the local varieties is due to the village depopulation, as well as from the difficulties to store these at home. Another important reason is more challenging transportability and impermanence of the produce while storaging. The sustainable conservation of crops diversity, varieties, forms and populations and their seed store would be possible through inclusion of wide range participants at local and regional level and seeking for cooperation from the state institutions.

Who are you doing it for?

The intertwining of agricultural and cultural heritage give a chance to every village/small town and region to leave its unqiue features to seed varieties in Bulgaria. The old plant varieties have often valuable aspects necessary for the breeding process to develop new farmer systems and to create diverse agricultural products. We suggest to attract farmers who only grow plants from old varieties, populations and local forms. To introduce our idea to maintain, exchange and preserve seeds, pods, cuttings at home to local gardeners as well as to set up seed files. Development of educational programs and awareness raising courses to: farmers, students, youth and unemployed from different ethnic origin.

How do you plan to get there?

Route creation in accordance with the existing agrobiodiversity to update data, collected from previous studies. To prepare an information letter and to carry out expeditions, questionnaires, interviews. To establish groups on the spot to liaise with local farmers, gardeners, mayors, NGOs, scientists to achieve the project goals. Classification of home gardens depending on the type of settlement - village/town/ neighborhood. To print out files, brochures, fliers with information about recently grown old and local varieties, forms and populations, typical for the area, as well as the names of people who store them.

What are the expected results?

Existence of informational database for agrobiodiversity of varieties, populations, forms etc. in home gardens by regions and access to stakeholders. Proposal to build up a short-term storage seed depot from 3 yrs up to 5 yrs., depending on the crop. To create concept for home storage of seeds, pods, cuttings and their setting up at seed depot /cabinets, packaging, refrigerators/. To establish mobile groups on a spot to carry out interaction between producers for organization of special events and farmers markets, expositions, tastings of local produce. To start a pilot network of home gardens with the existing crop diversity and coordinators, volunteers on site.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The traditional crops and old Bulgarian varieties have a good taste. Although lower in yield and have limited durability, comparing to commercial ones, they are valued for the health benefits and provide quality food to the families who have preserved the sentiment of country's traditional taste.
There are no legal documents in Bulgaria for encouragement, neither a financial support to small-scale horticulture, for maintain and distribution old and local varieties. Development of regulations and seeds exchange between local people, farmers, etc., not only in the settlement, but for wide-scale consumption. To create conditions for making sufficient amounts of seed quantities from the preserved traditional varieties and to be stored long-term in the National Gene Bank.

Why is this idea important to you?

The preservation and storage over the years of the old varieties and forms is tightly related to their traditional use, traditions, dialect, family celebrations, religious traditions at regional as well at national level. They are at the core of agrobiodiversity. The old local forms, populations and varieties are the most at risk of extinction. On the other hand, the maintained seed plant genetic resources at the home gardens could be defined as the most diverse by phenotype and are adapted to the environmental conditions at the regions where they are grown. Very likely they have low, but stable yield.

€ 17000,-

Total budget

€ 15000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

office expenses 2000 EUR,
travel and accommodation costs 3000 EUR,
public relations 2000 EUR,
personnel costs etc. 2000EUR,

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

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Gergana Desheva


Idea created on April 6, 2021
Last edit on April 19, 2021

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