"Germinar um banco de sementes" [Sprouting a seed bank]

Maria João Fonseca
Maria João Fonseca • 24 September 2022

"Germinar um banco de sementes" [Sprouting a seed bank] aims to create a seed bank from the school space involving the local community. The goal is to educate for active citizenship, construct a more aware society of its natural heritage and use dematerialisation mechanisms (collaborative economy and sustainable consumption)  to conserve the existing genetic heritage.
The project is structured in several activities, expanding from schools - students, teachers and employees - to educators and the local community, or at a national level by free seed sharing through the website www.germinar.pt.

In the schools
It directly works with 441 2nd and 6th-year students and teachers, in five schools, through fortnightly training and awareness-raising actions.
Students learn about plants, ecosystems and agroecological topics as part of their teaching programme. In addition to the theoretical component of school programmes, these outdoor classes teach students by practice.
The project improved the outdoor space of these schools by constructing greenhouses for sprouting seeds and raised-bed vegetable gardens. Now plants grow in the playgrounds, and students are in direct contact with the earth.
Participation is crucial, involving the students in all stages, from planning and construction to seed management and collection. In addition to "hands-on" activities, students also have scientific illustration lessons, so youngsters can take a closer look at nature, and artistic activities in which they produce towels and plates for the final feast.

From five schools to the community
Between scales of school and local community, the project integrates ethnobotanical walks "Explorer of my territory" through the territories where it operates, fostering the floristic and faunistic knowledge in the neighbourhoods and organises an annual open day at the schools for students, parents and those interested in the project. In addition, it will have a series of talks on seeds and agroecology in the future Library of Environment.

From local to national level

The project created and manages a "seeds archive", a physical repository and a digital platform - www.germinar.pt - where anyone can request seeds for free, encouraging their sharing and propagation and raising awareness of the importance of their diversity and conservation.
Based on the on-the-ground experience, school activities are being compiled into a book, a manual of good practices, that is freely available to replicate the project in other territories.


Faced with the environmental crisis affecting the world, we cannot be indifferent. We must urgently stop and reverse this situation on an unprecedented scale, and we are all called to act. The "Greta effect" has made tomorrow's decision-makers - today's students - aware of these issues. Our project is born from this realisation of the present. It is a small contribution that we hope to be replicated.


For more information, visit our website or keep up with the latest news on the “Germinar um banco de sementes” Instagram and Facebook pages.


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