Originally published online in the Ecologist 1st August 2018
Global losses in seed diversity pose a significant threat to the health and stability of our food systems. The Gaia Foundation is working in partnership with the Soil Association, the Landworkers Alliance, Irish Seed Savers Association, and the Seed Cooperative to address this threat with a three-year long programme.
Neil Munro, seed sovereignty programme manager and former head of the Heritage Seed Library at Garden Organic, argued: “In the UK, self-sufficiency in food production is currently at 62% and is estimated to fall to less than 50 percent by 2080.
“Seed security and diversity underpins food security. Producing and saving seed through ecologically sound and sustainable methods not only protects our agricultural heritage and biodiversity, it makes our food system more resilient, improves the condition of the land and benefits small-scale farmers.”
As the UK and much of Europe experiences a drought that has left farmers and growers everywhere at risk of low yields and crop failures, initiatives to increase seed diversity here around the planet have never been more important.
Ben Raskin, head of horticulture at the Soil Association explained: “Creating a more diverse seed system in the UK and Ireland is critical in the bigger picture of climate change. It is part of an ecologically sane approach to agriculture which supports the entire ecosystem, from the pollinators to the birds to the soil microbe, all of which have been gravely threatened by chemical agriculture”.
The UK and Ireland Seed Sovereignty Programme employs five experienced regional coordinators, based in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and east and west England, who are working closely with farmers, seed producers, horticulturists and commercial growers to conserve threatened seeds and to breed new varieties for future resilience.
Article by Rowan Phillimore, Deputy Director of The Gaia Foundation. Read the full article here: https://theecologist.org/2018/aug/01/food-revolution-starts-seed-argues-rowan-phillimore-gaiafoundation